Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Portage

Nearest Town: Grand Marais
Primary County: Cook
Survey Date: 06/02/2010
Inventory Number: 16032700

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
US Forest Service Carry-In 100-rod trail to the south side of the lake, from Forest Road 1335.
US Forest Service Portage Portage trail from Iron Lake to the north side of the east end of the long bay on the north side of lake.

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 128.11
Littoral Area (acres): 77
Maximum Depth (ft): 55
Water Clarity (ft): 9.5

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

Did you know? Fisheries personnel monitor and regulate aquaculture, fishing tournaments, commercial fishing operations, aquatic plant management, and aeration.

Fish Sampled for the 2010 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Splake Gill net 3.00 N/A 0.45 N/A
White Sucker Gill net 27.50 2.6 - 11.7 0.56 1.7 - 2.4
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.

Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2010 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
splake 1 3 4 3 1 0 0 0 12
white sucker 0 14 60 27 6 0 0 0 110

For the record, the largest Northern Pike (Silver Phase) taken in Minnesota weighed 18 lbs., 14 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Disappointment Lake, Lake County
    When: 6/28/78
    Statistics: 42" length, 19" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2015 Splake fingerlings 8,000 194.7
2013 Splake fingerlings 7,175 178.0
2011 Splake fingerlings 8,000 290.9
2010 Splake fingerlings 6,000 170.5
2009 Brook Trout fingerlings 500 9.1
  Splake fingerlings 6,000 166.7
2008 Splake fingerlings 6,000 178.6
2007 Splake fingerlings 6,000 226.4
2006 Splake fingerlings 6,000 171.9

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

No fish consumption guidelines are available for this lake. For more information, see the "Fish Consumption Advice" pages at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Status of the Fishery (as of 06/02/2010)

Splake abundance in Portage Lake in the spring of 2010 was apparently low, both for this lake historically, and when compared to other stream trout lakes in the area. The splake gill net catch in 2010 fell short of the long range goal (10.0 fish/set) in the 2009 lake management plan. The goal from that plan of providing two catchable-sized year classes (fish over 10 inches) was barely met. No splake older than three years were collected. Most of the one-year-old fish from a 2009 fingerling stocking were probably too small to be taken in the sampling gear used in this assessment. Growth for two- and three-year-old splake collected had been slower than average.

The white sucker gill net catch was well above the normal range for a lake of this class, and for a stream trout lake in this area. As high as the catch was, higher catches were observed in this lake in 2002 and 2005. Competition for invertebrate forage from this dense white sucker population is probably one factor limiting splake growth in this lake.

Temperature-oxygen conditions suitable for splake (temperature under 65 F, oxygen over 5 ppm) were found at depths of about six to 42 ft on 6/2/2010. Conditions generally deteriorate as the summer progresses and surface waters warm, but in Portage Lake suitable conditions for splake could still be found at depths of about 15 to 21 ft on 8/19/2010. It is unlikely that summer water quality is a limiting factor for splake in this lake, at this time.

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 C0326 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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    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093