|Nearest Town: Cass Lake
Primary County: Cass
Survey Date: 08/24/2009
Inventory Number: 11041500
|US Forest Service||Other||USFS OWNED CAMPGROUND|
|US Forest Service||Other||USFS OWNED CAMPGROUND|
|Did you know? Minnesota has 11,482 lakes 10 acres or larger, of which 5,483 are fishing lakes. Excluding Lake Superior, the state has 3.8 million acres of fishing water. Minnesota's portion of Lake Superior is 1.4 million acres.|
|Species||Number of fish per net||
Average Fish Weight (lbs)
Normal Range (lbs)
|Black Bullhead||Trap net||0.21||0.3 - 2.1||1.21||0.4 - 0.8|
|Black Crappie||Trap net||0.07||0.3 - 1.7||0.66||0.3 - 0.6|
|Gill net||0.07||0.2 - 1.1||0.75||0.2 - 0.5|
|Bluegill||Trap net||2.57||3.7 - 42.9||0.20||0.1 - 0.2|
|Brown Bullhead||Trap net||0.29||0.3 - 1.7||1.44||0.7 - 1.1|
|Greater Redhorse||Gill net||0.07||N/A||2.50||N/A|
|Hybrid Sunfish||Trap net||0.07||N/A||0.20||N/A|
|Largemouth Bass||Trap net||0.57||0.4 - 1.4||1.28||0.3 - 0.7|
|Gill net||0.40||0.3 - 1.2||1.60||0.6 - 1.0|
|Muskellunge||Gill net||0.07||0.1 - 0.3||1.91||3.1 - 5.3|
|Northern Pike||Trap net||0.14||N/A||2.39||N/A|
|Gill net||4.33||3.0 - 7.9||3.05||1.7 - 2.8|
|Pumpkinseed||Trap net||2.57||1.6 - 6.9||0.20||0.1 - 0.3|
|Rock Bass||Trap net||3.79||0.7 - 3.3||0.19||0.2 - 0.5|
|Gill net||13.87||1.0 - 6.6||0.42||0.3 - 0.5|
|Tullibee (cisco)||Gill net||3.67||0.5 - 5.2||0.34||0.4 - 1.0|
|Walleye||Trap net||0.36||0.3 - 0.9||0.80||1.0 - 2.2|
|Gill net||4.87||4.0 - 9.6||1.36||1.1 - 1.9|
|White Sucker||Trap net||0.07||0.2 - 0.8||2.22||1.4 - 2.7|
|Gill net||2.47||1.0 - 3.5||1.10||1.5 - 2.3|
|Yellow Bullhead||Trap net||0.29||0.9 - 4.8||0.51||0.7 - 1.0|
|Gill net||1.47||0.6 - 6.4||0.75||0.6 - 0.9|
|Yellow Perch||Trap net||6.00||0.7 - 3.7||0.15||0.1 - 0.2|
|Gill net||66.93||7.1 - 33.9||0.17||0.1 - 0.2|
|Species||Number of fish caught in each category (inches)|
|For the record, the largest Black Buffalo taken in Minnesota weighed 20 lbs., 0.5 oz. and was caught: |
When: Minnesota River, Nicollet County
Statistics: 34.2" length
Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years
|1 - indicates fish purchased and stocked by private citizens and sporting groups.|
|2 - indicates fish purchased by the DNR for stocking.|
|Stocking Fish Sizes|
|Fry - Newly hatched fish that are ready to be stocked usually called "swim-ups". Walleye fry are 1/3 of an inch or around 8 mm.|
|Fingerling - Fingerlings are one to six months old and can range from a size of one to twelve inches depending on the species. Walleye fingerlings range from three to eight inches each fall.|
|Yearling - Yearling fish are at least one year old. A one-year-old fish can range from three to twenty inches depending on the species. Walleye yearlings average from six to twelve inches.|
|Adult - Adult fish are fish that have reached maturity. Depending on the species, maturity can be reached at two years of age. Walleye reach maturity between the ages of four and six years.|
Pike Bay Lake is located just southeast of the City of Cass Lake in northwestern Cass County. It is a 4,760 acre lake with a 95 foot maximum depth. There is a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) public access on the south side of the lake at the South Shore Campground, just off of Pike Bay Loop Road. A second USFS boat ramp on the northeast side of the lake is adequate for smaller rigs, but it tends to be very shallow at most lake levels. Pike Bay is also frequently accessed from Cass Lake by boat through the creek channel that connects the two lakes. Pike Bay supports a very limited amount of residential development along its lakeshore, including one resort and a campground. A large, beautiful lake, Pike Bay lies within the boundaries of both the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. Leech Lake tribal code allows band members to harvest fish through subsistence netting or by other means of harvest. The DNR manages the lake for walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, and yellow perch.
The outlet of Pike Bay flows north under U.S. Highway 2 and into Cass Lake through a short section of stream channel. Water levels in the Cass Lake system are influenced by the operation of Knutson Dam, located on the Mississippi River at the outlet of Cass Lake. Typical of reservoir operations, water levels are drawn down through the fall and winter in anticipation of annual run-off. As water levels rise in spring, lake basins of both Pike Bay and Cass Lake fill simultaneously, temporarily altering flow patterns between the two lakes. This unusual flow pattern could affect the normal interchange of fish between lakes. It is unknown how this phenomenon affects the walleye population in Pike Bay, but that population does appear to function separately from the rest of the Cass Lake Chain.
The Pike Bay walleye population has a long history of poor natural recruitment and has been maintained by both fry and fingerling stocking. Stocking has been done cooperatively by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and MNDNR. Fingerling stocking intensity was increased recently, and an evaluation is currently in progress.
The 2009 assessment showed no measurable difference in walleye abundance from the previous assessment in 2004. With the exception of a single assessment in 1999, gill net catch has never been greater than in the past two assessments. Walleye captured in 2009 ranged from 7 to 27 inches in length and were represented by ten different year classes. Growth rates are above average. At age-3, an average Pike Bay walleye is 12.6 inches long which is greater than the Bemidji area lake class mean value of 11.6 inches.
The northern pike population appears to be very stable in Pike Bay, as indicated by the 2009 gill net catch rate which was similar to that of the previous nine assessments. Northern pike from the 2009 sample ranged from 12 to 36 inches in length. Seven different year classes were identified, with age-2 and age-3 fish comprising 72% of the sample.
A single muskellunge was captured in the 2009 assessment, and only seven muskellunge have been captured in all population assessments combined. Standard population assessments are a poor indicator of muskellunge abundance, but Pike Bay is known to be an excellent muskellunge fishery. Angler reports and tournament information confirm that anglers do target muskellunge in Pike Bay with success. Anglers should remember that muskellunge harvest restrictions on Pike Bay now fall under the statewide 48 inch minimum length regulation.
Yellow perch abundance over the past nine assessments has been better than what is considered typical for this type of lake. Recruitment appears to be consistently good, indicated by the 2009 yellow perch sample which exhibited a wide range of lengths, with twenty-five percent greater than eight inches. Other common prey species captured at above average abundance levels were white sucker and tullibee (cisco). It does not appear that forage availability is limiting predator populations in Pike Bay.
In 2009, standard lake survey trap nets were utilized for the first time since 1994. Bluegill abundance was fairly low, and fish ranged from 4.5 to 9.5 inches in length. Bluegill recruitment appears to be inconsistent, as 89% of the trap net sample was represented by a single year class produced in 2006. Rock bass was the most abundant sunfish species in the 2009 assessment; fish up to nearly 11 inches in length were captured.
Anglers and other lake users should be aware of their role in preventing the spread of invasive species. Invasive species are plants and animals that have been introduced through human activities to a location where they do not naturally occur. Non-native species are not necessarily harmful, but when they cause ecological or economic problems, they are categorized as "invasive." Minnesota's aquatic resources are threatened by a variety of aquatic invasive species. These species have a high risk of continued spread, as they are easily established and can be unknowingly transported from lake to lake by human activity. The movement of any type of equipment (boats, boat trailers, boat lifts, docks, personal watercraft, bait containers, etc.) between lakes risks potential invasive species transfer if precautions are not taken. To avoid being an accomplice to the spread of these unwanted species, people should make sure all equipment is thoroughly cleaned and dried before entering new waters. Items that are difficult to dry (livewells, baitwells, bilge areas, etc.) should be treated with scalding water or a small amount of iodine or chlorine bleach solution to kill any organisms that may be hiding there. For more information on invasive species, check the link to the DNR website at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/index.html
|For more information on this lake, contact:||Lake maps can be obtained from:|
For general DNR Information, contact:
DNR Information Center
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
TDD: (651) 296-6157 or (888) MINNDNR
Turn in Poachers (TIP):
Toll-free: (800) 652-9093