Fisheries Lake Survey

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Nearest Town: Nashwauk, MN.
Primary County: Itasca
Survey Date: 08/11/2003
Inventory Number: 31-0124-00

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 230.00
Littoral Area (acres): 138.00
Maximum Depth (ft): 36.00
Water Clarity (ft): 5.00

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

Did you know? Ongoing habitat improvement and maintenance work is conducted on trout streams that have publicly owned land or easements.

Fish Sampled up to the 2003 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Crappie Gill net 9.2 N/A - N/A 0.12 N/A - N/A
  Trap net 7.8 N/A - N/A 0.10 N/A - N/A
Bluegill Gill net 0.5 N/A - N/A 0.20 N/A - N/A
  Trap net 27.8 N/A - N/A 0.12 N/A - N/A
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.1 N/A - N/A 0.77 N/A - N/A
Largemouth Bass Gill net 1.0 N/A - N/A 1.05 N/A - N/A
  Trap net 0.7 N/A - N/A 0.14 N/A - N/A
Northern Pike Gill net 5.0 N/A - N/A 4.37 N/A - N/A
  Trap net 1.3 N/A - N/A 4.70 N/A - N/A
Pumpkinseed Sunfish Trap net 3.4 N/A - N/A 0.09 N/A - N/A
Snapping Turtle Trap net 0.2 N/A - N/A ND N/A - N/A
Walleye Gill net 0.2 N/A - N/A 6.49 N/A - N/A
White Sucker Gill net 4.3 N/A - N/A 1.95 N/A - N/A
  Trap net 0.7 N/A - N/A 1.39 N/A - N/A
Yellow Perch Gill net 4.3 N/A - N/A 0.08 N/A - N/A
  Trap net 2.0 N/A - N/A 0.12 N/A - N/A
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.

Length of Selected Species Sampled for All Gear for the 2003 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 Crappie 87 37 1 0 0 0 0 0 125
Bluegill 168 63 0 0 0 0 0 0 231
Brown Bullhead 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
Largemouth Bass 4 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 12
Northern Pike 0 0 0 0 5 11 20 6 42
Pumpkinseed Sunfish 28 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 31
Walleye 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
Yellow Perch 21 23 0 0 0 0 0 0 44

For the record, the largest Bigmouth Buffalo taken in Minnesota weighed 41 lbs., 11 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mississippi River, Goodhue County
    When: 5/7/91
    Statistics: 38.5" length, 29.5" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2011 Walleye1 fingerlings 1,000 50.0
2009 Walleye1 fingerlings 800 40.0

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

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 08/11/2003)

Sucker Lake is 230 acres located four miles northwest of Nashwauk, MN. The lake has a state administered access and moderate shoreline development.

Black crappie catch rates for gill nets and trap nets were record highs for the lake in 2003. The gill-net (9.2 fish/net) and trap net catch rates (7.8 fish/net) were higher than most lakes similar to Sucker Lake. Although catch rates were high, most of the fish were small and the result of one strong year-class. Fish sampled in gill nets ranged from 4.3 to 9.0 inches and averaged 6.1 inches. Trap-net captured fish had a similar size distribution. Five year-classes from one to five years old were sampled. The strong 2001 year-class represented 71% of the sample. Growth was slower than statewide averages for most ages.

Despite bluegill not being sampled in the initial assessment of 1972, they now represent a substantial part of the fish community. In 2003, trap-net catch rates (27.8 fish/net) were above average for lakes similar to Sucker. The fish ranged from 3.5 to 8.1 inches and averaged 5.4 inches. Age and growth information was not collected in this assessment.

Largemouth bass are difficult to sample with our standard summer netting gears and methods. As a result, the gill-net catch was 1.0/net while the trap-net catch was 0.7/net. These fish ranged from 5.3 to 14.0 inches. Age and growth information was not collected in this assessment.

Northern pike gill-net catch rates have increased from 5.0/net in 1972 to 11.2/net in 1988 and back to 5.0/net in 2003. Lower northern pike catch rates often are associated with better size distributions. The sampled fish ranged from 18.7 and 35.8 inches and averaged 25.6 inches. Six year-classes from two to eight years old were determined from scale analysis. Two and four year old fish represented 33 and 30% of the sample. Growth was similar to statewide averages. After four years of growth, northern pike averaged 26 inches. Anglers concerned about protecting the quality of the northern pike population should consider releasing medium to large fish (>24.0 inches). These fish help maintain balance within the pike population which ultimately provides stability for the fish community.

Yellow perch were sampled at a gill-net catch rate of 4.3 fish/net, which was below average for this lake type. The fish ranged from 5.4 to 7.3 inches and had a mean length of 6.0 inches. Age and growth information were not collected in this assessment.

Other species sampled during the population assessment included brown bullhead, pumpkinseed sunfish, walleye (only one sampled), and white sucker.

In order to maintain or improve fish and wildlife populations, water quality and habitat must be protected. People often associate water quality problems with large-scale agricultural, forestry, urban development or industrial practices in the watershed. In reality, the impact of land use decisions on one lake lot may be relatively small, yet, the cumulative impact of those decisions on many lake lots can result in a significant decline in water quality and habitat. For example, removing shoreline and aquatic vegetation, fertilizing lawns, mowing to the water's edge, installing beach sand blankets, failing septic systems and uncontrolled run-off, all contribute excess nutrients and sediment which degrade water quality and habitat. Understanding these cumulative impacts and taking steps to avoid or minimize them will help to insure our quality fisheries can be enjoyed by future generations.

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
1201 East Hwy 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744
Phone: (218) 327-4430
Internet: Grand Rapids 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 B0324 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