Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Bearskin (West Bearskin)

Nearest Town: Grand Marais
Primary County: Cook
Survey Date: 08/25/2008
Inventory Number: 16022800

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
US Forest Service Carry-In
DNR Gravel


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 493
Littoral Area (acres): 94
Maximum Depth (ft): 78
Water Clarity (ft): 15

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


Did you know? Much of Minnesota's fisheries program is reimbursed by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program (federal excise tax), administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fish Sampled for the 2008 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Bluegill Trap net 1.50 0.4 - 2.7 0.13 0.1 - 0.4
Golden Shiner Trap net 0.08 0.1 - 1.6 0.06 N/A
Green Sunfish Trap net 1.33 0.1 - 0.8 0.11 0.1 - 0.1
Gill net 1.22 0.1 - 2.5 0.07 N/A
Lake Trout Gill net 3.44 0.8 - 4.3 2.39 1.2 - 3.1
Northern Pike Gill net 0.22 0.3 - 1.0 7.06 2.7 - 5.3
Rainbow Smelt Gill net 7.11 N/A 0.10 N/A
Smallmouth Bass Trap net 0.92 0.6 - 3.5 0.81 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 0.78 0.3 - 2.2 0.87 0.7 - 1.4
White Sucker Gill net 0.11 1.7 - 5.0 2.36 1.6 - 2.4
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.


Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2008 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
bluegill 11 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
golden shiner 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
green sunfish 22 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 27
lake trout 0 0 0 0 16 15 0 0 31
northern pike 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2
rainbow smelt 1 62 1 0 0 0 0 0 64
smallmouth bass 0 4 9 2 3 0 0 0 18
white sucker 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1


For the record, the largest Quillback taken in Minnesota weighed 6 lbs., 14.4 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mississippi River, Ramsey County
    When: 4/6/91
    Statistics: 23" length, 18" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2009 Lake Trout yearlings 2,574 275.3
  Lake Trout yearlings 2,527 269.6
2007 Lake Trout yearlings 2,550 223.0
  Lake Trout yearlings 2,579 256.1
2005 Lake Trout yearlings 2,594 225.9
  Lake Trout yearlings 2,575 258.0

Privately Stocked Fish
* indicates privately stocked fish. Private stocking includes fish purchased by the DNR for stocking and fish purchased and stocked by private citizens and sporting groups.

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

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
BEARSKIN
Cook Co., 16022800
Lake Trout   All sizes     Mercury
Smallmouth Bass   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
BEARSKIN
Cook Co., 16022800
Lake Trout   All sizes     Mercury
Smallmouth Bass   All sizes     Mercury

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 08/25/2008)

In 2008 lake trout abundance in West Bearskin Lake was high compared to other lake trout lakes in the area, although it appeared to have been about average for the lake itself. The lake trout population was entirely self-sustained. Lake trout have been stocked regularly since 1970; however, all lake trout stocked since 1970 have been fin clipped, and no fin-clipped fish were included in the 2008 catch. Lake trout growth had been fairly fast due to the presence of large numbers of rainbow smelt, which provided excellent forage.

West Bearskin Lake supported average numbers of smallmouth bass in 2008 compared to other lakes in the area, and compared to historic catches seen in this lake. Most of the smallmouth bass collected were 10 to 12 inches in length, but some larger fish were present as well. Growth rates for bass had been average for the area.

Bluegill have been found occassionally in West Bearskin Lake, but they have not been abundant. The 2008 catch was the highest catch observed to date in this lake, but bluegill abundance may still have been too low to support a satisfactory fishery. Most of the bluegill taken in 2008 were small, under six inches in length.

Northern pike have rarely been found in West Bearskin Lake. The 2008 catch of two fish was actually one of the higher catches seen in this lake, where very little spawning habitat is available for the species. West Bearskin Lake does not support a significant walleye population - since 1970 the species has rarely been taken in assessments.


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
E-Mail: GrandMarais.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 B0497 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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