Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Pike Bay

Nearest Town: Cass Lake
Primary County: Cass
Survey Date: 08/24/2009
Inventory Number: 11041500
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
US Forest Service Other USFS OWNED CAMPGROUND
US Forest Service Other USFS OWNED CAMPGROUND


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 4751.24
Littoral Area (acres): 2238
Maximum Depth (ft): 95
Water Clarity (ft): 14

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): N/A


Did you know? MinnAqua Fishing: Get in the Habitat! has a Minnesota-base activity guide for teachers, scout and 4-H leaders, youth leaders, outdoor sports groups, or anyone interested in teaching others about habitat, stewardship and fishing.

Fish Sampled for the 2009 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

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
Gill net 0.27 N/A 0.23 N/A
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
Gill net 0.33 N/A 0.67 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
Gill net 2.93 N/A 0.25 N/A
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
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.


Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2009 Survey Year

Species Number of fish caught in each category (inches)
0-5 6-8 9-11 12-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 30+ Total
black bullhead 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3
black crappie 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
bluegill 21 17 2 0 0 0 0 0 40
brown bullhead 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 4
greater redhorse 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
hybrid sunfish 0 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 6
largemouth bass 1 1 4 6 2 0 0 0 14
muskellunge 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 2 14 35 10 6 67
pumpkinseed 33 46 1 0 0 0 0 0 80
rock bass 59 147 55 0 0 0 0 0 261
tullibee (cisco) 0 36 16 3 0 0 0 0 55
walleye 0 3 5 28 36 3 3 0 78
white sucker 0 10 13 2 13 0 0 0 38
yellow bullhead 0 2 21 3 0 0 0 0 26
yellow perch 137 860 82 0 0 0 0 0 1088


For the record, the largest Largemouth Bass taken in Minnesota weighed 8 lbs., 15 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Auburn Lake, Carver County
    When: 10/22/94
    Statistics: 23.5" length, 18" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye fry 2,259,000 19.0
2012 Walleye fry 225,000 2.0
  Walleye fingerlings 23,070 660.0
  Walleye fry 2,300,000 20.9
  Walleye yearlings 623 75.0
  Walleye2 fingerlings 10,835 391.0
2011 Walleye fry 2,238,000 17.7
2010 Walleye adults 199 69.0
  Walleye fingerlings 30,069 634.0
  Walleye yearlings 2,364 263.0
  Walleye fingerlings 14,694 1,232.0
2009 Walleye fingerlings 28,642 1,582.0
  Walleye fingerlings 1,652 146.0
  Walleye yearlings 1,704 393.0
  Walleye yearlings 1,040 130.0
2008 Walleye adults 365 836.0
  Walleye fingerlings 74,956 1,325.0
  Walleye yearlings 906 102.0
2007 Walleye yearlings 3,522 856.0
  Walleye fingerlings 11,949 477.0
  Walleye adults 710 699.0
2006 Walleye yearlings 4,256 478.0
  Walleye fingerlings 62,650 1,149.0
  Walleye fingerlings 12,060 941.0
2005 Walleye1 fingerlings 9,687 659.0
  Walleye fingerlings 33,412 1,107.0
  Walleye fingerlings 2,640 220.0
2004 Walleye fingerlings 28,500 950.0
  Walleye fingerlings 19,000 666.0

Stocking Notes
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.

Fish Consumption Guidelines

Whitefish from this lake contain dioxin, a chemical that may cause cancer in humans. Meat and dairy products also contain dioxin. At this time, MDH does not provide meal advice based on dioxin in fish. Although mercury levels in whitefish are low, you can reduce your exposure to dioxin by choosing to eat a different species and following the consumption guidelines for that species.

These fish consumption guidelines help people make choices about which fish to eat and how often. Following the guidelin es enables people to reduce their exposure to contaminants while still enjoying the many benefits from fish.

Pregnant Women, Women who may become pregnant and Children under age 15

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
PIKE BAY
Cass Co., 11041500
Cisco All sizes        
Lake Whitefish All sizes        
Northern Pike   shorter than 24" 24" or longer   Mercury
Walleye   shorter than 20" 20" or longer   Mercury
White Sucker All sizes        
Yellow Perch   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
PIKE BAY
Cass Co., 11041500
Cisco All sizes        
Lake Whitefish All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Sucker All sizes        
Yellow Perch All sizes        

DOWID - MN DNR, Division of Waters' lake ID number.

Contaminants listed were measured at levels that trigger advice to limit consumption.

Listing of consumption guidelines do not imply the fish are legal to keep, MN DNR fishing regulations should be consulted.

Dioxin
Mercury
PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate


Status of the Fishery (as of 08/24/2009)

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:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
2114 Bemidji Ave
Bemidji, MN 56601
Phone: (218) 308-2339
Internet: Bemidji Fisheries
E-Mail: Bemidji.Fisheries@state.mn.us

Lake maps can be obtained from:

Minnesota Bookstore
660 Olive Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 297-3000 or (800) 657-3757
To order, use C0157 for the map-id.


For general DNR Information, contact:

DNR Information Center
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
TDD: (651) 296-6157 or (888) MINNDNR
Internet: www.dnr.state.mn.us
E-Mail: info.dnr@state.mn.us

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