Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Split Hand (Splithand)

Nearest Town: Grand Rapids
Primary County: Itasca
Survey Date: 07/28/2008
Inventory Number: 31035300
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
Private Property Earthen Resort on northeast shore of lake.
DNR Concrete West shore of lake T.53 R.25 S.27 off Co. Rd. #432.


Fishing Regulations:

Special and/or Experimental Fishing Regulations exist on this lake. Please refer to our online Minnesota Fishing Regulations.

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 1363.69
Littoral Area (acres): 510.7
Maximum Depth (ft): 34
Water Clarity (ft): 3.5

Dominant Bottom Substrate: Sand (Abundant)
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: 53 Varieties Sampled
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 4.9 (3-5)


Did you know? Fishing piers are installed on lakes to provide opportunities for shore fishing.

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

Bigmouth Buffalo Trap net 0.31 0.1 - 0.8 18.31 3.3 - 10.3
Black Crappie Trap net 1.92 0.4 - 2.3 0.32 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 2.42 0.4 - 2.7 0.08 0.3 - 0.6
Bluegill Trap net 3.23 4.4 - 49.0 0.30 0.1 - 0.2
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 1.08 0.3 - 1.1 6.29 3.7 - 5.1
Gill net 0.08 0.1 - 0.4 7.17 3.1 - 4.6
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.15 0.3 - 1.6 1.70 0.7 - 1.1
Common Shiner Trap net 0.08 N/A 0.08 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.08 0.3 - 1.3 4.52 0.2 - 0.8
Northern Pike Trap net 0.54 N/A 3.02 N/A
Gill net 4.42 2.8 - 9.0 2.71 1.6 - 2.8
Pumpkinseed Trap net 1.08 1.8 - 7.8 0.28 0.1 - 0.3
Rock Bass Trap net 0.23 0.5 - 2.5 0.70 0.3 - 0.5
Shorthead Redhorse Trap net 0.23 0.1 - 1.2 2.24 1.6 - 3.0
Gill net 0.08 0.2 - 0.9 3.00 1.1 - 2.2
Tullibee (cisco) Gill net 1.00 0.8 - 6.2 1.29 0.6 - 1.4
Walleye Trap net 0.31 0.2 - 0.8 2.68 1.0 - 2.7
Gill net 4.75 3.3 - 8.8 1.60 1.2 - 2.1
White Sucker Trap net 0.62 0.2 - 1.1 2.87 1.8 - 3.0
Gill net 3.17 0.9 - 4.0 1.69 1.6 - 2.4
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.08 1.2 - 5.2 1.41 0.6 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.46 0.6 - 3.5 0.07 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 59.17 7.0 - 46.3 0.11 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 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
bigmouth buffalo 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 4
black crappie 34 11 9 0 0 0 0 0 54
bluegill 12 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 42
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 0 2 13 0 15
brown bullhead 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
common shiner 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
largemouth bass 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 2 48 9 1 60
pumpkinseed 6 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 14
rock bass 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 3
shorthead redhorse 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4
tullibee (cisco) 0 2 3 1 6 0 0 0 12
walleye 0 1 22 11 11 14 2 0 61
white sucker 0 0 6 11 27 2 0 0 46
yellow bullhead 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
yellow perch 398 275 22 0 0 0 0 0 716


For the record, the largest Longnose Sucker taken in Minnesota weighed 3 lbs., 10.6 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Brule River, Cook County
    When: 5/19/05
    Statistics: 21" length, 10.25" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2012 Walleye fry 1,400,000 13.4
2009 Walleye fry 1,400,000 14.0
2006 Walleye fry 1,400,000 14.0

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
SPLIT HAND
Itasca Co., 31035300
Cisco All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
SPLIT HAND
Itasca Co., 31035300
Cisco All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Walleye 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 07/28/2008)

Splithand Lake is a moderately sized, eutrophic lake in southern Itasca County near Grand Rapids. The lake is highly fertile and has poor water clarity much of the year. Much of the shoreline is in a natural state consisting primarily of forest and secondarily of wetland. Approximately 35% of the shoreline has been residentially developed and the remaining shoreline is undisturbed. Splithand Lake is situated in the Mississippi River/ Splithand Lake minor watershed and has three inlets. There is a connection to Little Splithand Lake and the Mississippi River via the outlet, Splithand Creek.

A diverse aquatic plant community is a major attribute of Splithand Lake, providing valuable habitat for a variety of fish species. Submergent plants were widespread, but limited to depths of 5 feet or less. Flatstem, variable, claspingleaf, and narrow leaf pondweeds were the most widespread submergent plants and occurred in over 50% of transects. Floating leaf and emergent vegetation are especially beneficial as they provide important over-head cover for fish and a buffer to wave action, thus protecting the shoreline from erosion. Yellow waterlily was the most common floating leaf species and occurred in 93% of transects. Emergent vegetation was also widespread, occurring in most transects. Hardstem bulrush, giant burreed, and arrowhead (Sagittaria spp) were the most widespread emergent species and occurred around much of the lake. Sixteen terrestrial species were found on the shoreline with exotic reed canary being the most widespread, occurring in 53% of transects. Jewelweed and cane were also widespread around the lakeshore.

Splithand Lake supports a relatively diverse fish community, providing angling opportunities for several species. Yellow perch was the most common species captured in gill nets and were caught in high numbers compared to similar lakes. Yellow perch have historically been abundant in Splithand Lake. The size structure was generally poor, however, as few individuals exceeded 8 inches. Growth was average and individuals typically exceeded 8 inches by age 5. Given the size structure and relative abundance, yellow perch appear to be a very important prey species in Splithand Lake.

Walleye were sampled in average numbers in 2008. The gill net catch was typical for Splithand Lake and other similar lakes. In 2008, size structure was favorable and individuals averaged 15 inches. The largest fish sampled exceeded 26 inches. Growth was average and individuals typically exceeded 15 inches by age 5. Forty-four percent of the sample exceeded age 5 suggesting a favorable age distribution. Recruitment appeared variable as the 2006 and 2002 year classes made up 31% and 21% of the sample. Stocking was conducted four times between 1998 and 2008, (1998, 2000, 2003, 2006). Forty-nine percent of the sampled walleye corresponded to stocked years, suggesting natural reproduction contributes greatly to the population as seen in the strong 2002 year class.

A special walleye regulation requiring the release of all walleye from 17 to 26 inches was enacted in 2005. Initial results are encouraging as the proportion of walleye over 17 inches increased dramatically from 2002 when very few fish exceeded 17 inches. Given the regulation, the size and age structures should remain favorable, providing good angling opportunities into the future.

Northern pike were sampled in average numbers in 2008. The gill net catch was about average compared to similar lakes. Size structure was moderate as most fish exceeded 21 inches. Few individuals over 28 inches were present, however. The largest pike sampled was 32 inches. Growth was average and individuals typically exceeded 21 inches by age 4. Age distribution was moderate as 70% of the sample exceeded age 4. Few fish exceeded age 6, however, contributing to the lack of preferred sized individuals. Given the lack of preferred sized individuals, the popularity of the pike fishery may be limited. Anglers should consider releasing pike over 22 inches to improve the age and size structures.

Black crappie were captured in typical numbers for Splithand Lake. Most individuals in the gill nets were relatively small. The trap nets indicated a favorable size distribution, however, capturing fish from 8 to 12 inches. Age analysis identified 7 year classes, although reproduction and/or recruitment appeared inconsistent as the 2007 and 2004 year classes represented most of the sample. Growth was average with individuals typically exceeding 8 inches by age 4. Only 29% of the sampled fish exceeded age-4, however, suggesting high mortality of older individuals. Splithand Lake supports a popular winter fishery and harvest likely contributed to the age and size structures.

Bluegill were captured in low numbers. Splithand has a history of low bluegill catches. Size structure was relatively good, however, as most individuals exceed 6 inches and individuals exceeding 8 inches were present. Growth was fast, with individuals exceeding 6 inches by age 5. Individuals exceeding age 5 dominate the age distribution (80%), suggesting limited reproduction and recruitment in recent years. Given the age and size distribution, some interest may exist in the bluegill fishery.

Test net sampling often inadequately samples largemouth bass. Largemouth bass were therefore sampled using night boat electrofishing in June. Largemouth bass were captured in moderate numbers. Size structure was good as most individuals exceeded 12 inches and fish over 15 inches were relatively common. Growth was average. Individuals typically exceeded 12 inches by age 5. The age distribution appeared balanced as 58% of the sampled individuals exceeded age-5. Good angling opportunities should exist.

Tullibee were captured in relatively low numbers. Tullibee are an important prey species that are often associated with the production of large predators including northern pike and walleye. Reductions in the tullibee population could result in reduced pike and walleye production and limit growth and size structure.

Other species captured include bowfin, shorthead redhorse, white sucker, bigmouth buffalo, brown bullhead, common shiner, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, yellow bullhead, Iowa darter, blacknose shiner, brook silverside, banded killifish, golden shiner, spottail shiner, and tadpole madtom.

Natural shoreline characteristics and a diverse plant community are major attributes of Splithand Lake. The protection of water quality and habitat is critical in maintaining or improving fish and wildlife populations. Unfortunately, human activities often negatively impact lakes. Fertilized turf-grass lawns and failing septic systems along with the removal of shoreline and aquatic vegetation, mowing to the shore, and installing sand blanket beaches results in destabilized shorelines, uncontrolled erosion, and increased run-off, contributing excess nutrients and sediment to the lake and degrading water quality and habitat. By understanding the cumulative impacts of our actions and taking steps to avoid or minimize them, we can help insure our quality water resources can be enjoyed well into the future. A complete description of shoreline best management practices can be found in online at www.mndnr.gov.


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
E-Mail: GrandRapids.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 C0559 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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