Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Northern Light

Nearest Town: Grand Marais
Primary County: Cook
Survey Date: 07/09/2007
Inventory Number: 16008900

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Earthen Located on the Brule River

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 453.32
Littoral Area (acres): 433
Maximum Depth (ft): 7.5
Water Clarity (ft): 6.2

Dominant Bottom Substrate: Detritus (Abundant)
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: 39 Varieties Sampled
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 4.0 (0-6)

Did you know? The annual budget for the Section of Fisheries is approximately $17 million, which is funded primarily by fishing license and stamp fees and by a federal excise tax on fishing and boating equipment.

Fish Sampled for the 2007 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Northern Pike Gill net 3.11 2.0 - 6.3 2.02 1.3 - 2.4
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.78 0.4 - 2.6 0.08 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 1.22 N/A 0.32 N/A
Smallmouth Bass Gill net 0.44 0.5 - 5.8 2.17 0.6 - 1.6
Walleye Trap net 0.22 0.5 - 1.9 3.49 1.1 - 2.0
Gill net 1.33 3.0 - 9.8 2.65 0.9 - 1.6
White Sucker Trap net 1.00 0.7 - 3.2 3.50 1.8 - 2.6
Gill net 4.67 3.6 - 14.1 3.45 1.5 - 2.4
Yellow Perch Gill net 9.11 2.2 - 14.6 0.31 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 2007 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
northern pike 0 0 4 5 8 7 3 1 28
pumpkinseed 7 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
smallmouth bass 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 4
walleye 0 1 1 2 7 2 1 0 14
white sucker 0 0 1 2 32 16 0 0 51
yellow perch 17 45 20 0 0 0 0 0 82

For the record, the largest Rock Bass (tie) taken in Minnesota weighed 2 lbs. and was caught:

    Where: Lake Winnibigoshish, Cass County
    When: 5/10/98
    Statistics: 12.6" length, 12.4" girth

Fish Consumption Guidelines

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

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Cook Co., 16008900
Northern Pike   shorter than 17" 17" or longer   Mercury
Smallmouth Bass   All sizes     Mercury
Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
Yellow Perch   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Cook Co., 16008900
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Smallmouth Bass   All sizes     Mercury
Sunfish All sizes        
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
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.

PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate

Status of the Fishery (as of 07/09/2007)

Walleye abundance appeared to have been down in 2007, although the average size of the fish that were collected was high. All walleye taken in 2007 had been produced naturally, but there had been no strong year classes recently. Walleye growth rates had been good, thanks largely to the presence of an excellent yellow perch forage base.

Northern pike were fairly abundant in 2007, and some larger fish were present. Most of the fish taken were two years of age, with none older than five years of age. Northern pike growth had also been good.

Walleye and northern pike fisheries were supplemented by smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and panfish fishing opportunities in 2007. Smallmouth bass were present in typical numbers for this lake. As has usually been the case in Northern Light Lake, most of the smallmouth bass collected were large. Yellow perch abundance was lower than has been seen in the past in this lake, but it was still high for a lake of this type. The lake supported a high-quality perch population, with many fish larger than eight inches. Pumpkinseed sunfish were also fairly abundant, and while most were small, fish as large as 7.6 inches were seen.

Travel down the Brule River to Northern Light Lake was very difficult in 2007, due to low water and heavy vegetation. Only canoes were able to get through with any ease, and use of an outboard in the channel was nearly impossible by the end of the summer. Higher water from heavy rains in fall 2007 may ease that situation for 2008.

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
1356 Hwy 61 E
Grand Marais, MN 55604
Phone: (218) 387-3056
Internet: Grand Marais Fisheries

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 C2426 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

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