Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Upper Sakatah

Nearest Town: Waterville
Primary County: Le Sueur
Survey Date: 08/03/2009
Inventory Number: 40000200
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
City Concrete
DNR Concrete


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 891.99
Littoral Area (acres): 881
Maximum Depth (ft): 12
Water Clarity (ft): 1.4

Dominant Bottom Substrate: Sand (Abundant)
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: 8 Varieties Sampled
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 4.0 (1.4-8.2)


Did you know? Minnesota waters support 153 species of fish.

Fish Sampled for the 2009 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Bigmouth Buffalo Trap net 0.08 0.2 - 1.5 0.54 1.3 - 5.1
Black Bullhead Trap net 5.42 1.3 - 78.1 1.05 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 9.12 4.6 - 83.0 1.05 0.2 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 0.58 1.0 - 12.3 0.12 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 3.38 0.8 - 11.1 0.08 0.2 - 0.4
Bluegill Trap net 7.08 1.0 - 14.9 0.07 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 8.12 N/A 0.06 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 1.67 0.1 - 0.7 4.68 3.7 - 5.1
Gill net 0.38 0.1 - 1.0 4.40 3.3 - 5.5
Channel Catfish Gill net 0.25 N/A 10.42 N/A
Common Carp Trap net 4.25 0.7 - 5.1 2.83 2.3 - 5.6
Gill net 0.50 0.5 - 9.1 4.05 1.0 - 4.9
Freshwater Drum Trap net 18.92 0.4 - 4.0 1.24 0.5 - 1.7
Gill net 24.88 3.6 - 24.2 0.79 0.3 - 1.0
Golden Shiner Trap net 1.50 0.2 - 1.0 0.05 0.1 - 0.1
Gill net 2.50 0.1 - 0.7 0.10 0.1 - 0.2
Green Sunfish Trap net 0.25 0.1 - 0.7 0.04 0.1 - 0.2
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.17 0.1 - 0.8 1.26 0.4 - 1.5
Gill net 0.12 0.3 - 1.8 0.20 0.3 - 1.1
Northern Pike Trap net 0.58 N/A 2.61 N/A
Gill net 2.12 1.2 - 7.8 3.56 1.5 - 3.0
Walleye Trap net 0.17 0.3 - 1.7 1.53 0.9 - 2.4
Gill net 3.12 3.2 - 15.3 0.89 0.9 - 1.9
White Bass Trap net 0.33 0.4 - 1.9 1.19 0.2 - 0.8
Gill net 10.38 0.8 - 7.1 1.07 N/A
White Sucker Gill net 2.12 0.8 - 5.9 1.88 1.4 - 2.2
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 1.92 0.5 - 4.1 1.07 0.4 - 0.8
Gill net 0.12 0.3 - 3.6 1.18 0.5 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 2.50 0.3 - 2.6 0.20 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 26.50 3.0 - 22.5 0.24 0.1 - 0.4
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.


Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2009 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 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
black bullhead 3 2 59 71 2 1 0 0 138
black crappie 28 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 34
bluegill 134 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 150
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 0 17 6 0 23
channel catfish 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2
common carp 11 0 5 12 8 12 7 0 55
freshwater drum 1 46 130 129 109 1 0 0 426
golden shiner 22 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 38
green sunfish 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
largemouth bass 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 3
northern pike 0 0 0 0 5 8 9 2 24
walleye 0 5 5 6 10 0 0 0 27
white bass 1 14 8 47 14 0 0 0 87
white sucker 0 0 0 7 7 0 0 0 17
yellow bullhead 4 1 2 16 1 0 0 0 24
yellow perch 18 162 49 0 0 0 0 0 242


For the record, the largest Tiger Trout taken in Minnesota weighed 2 lbs., 9.12 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mill Creek, Olmsted County
    When: 8/7/99
    Statistics: 20" length, 9 5/8" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Northern Pike fry 37,454 1.0
  Walleye fry 1,321,393 12.0
2012 Northern Pike fry 61,335 0.9
  Walleye fry 1,327,410 12.9
2011 Northern Pike fry 91,478 1.6
2010 Northern Pike fry 101,115 1.6
  Walleye fry 1,321,253 11.4
2009 Northern Pike fry 134,483 2.4
  Walleye fry 1,305,785 13.0
2008 Walleye fry 1,320,000 12.0
2006 Walleye fry 1,331,370 13.5
2005 Walleye fry 1,329,510 13.0

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
UPPER SAKATAH
Le Sueur Co., 40000200
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Bullhead All sizes        
Carp   All sizes     Mercury
Crappie All sizes        
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Bass     All sizes   Mercury
Yellow Perch   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
UPPER SAKATAH
Le Sueur Co., 40000200
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Bullhead All sizes        
Carp All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye All sizes        
White Bass   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.

Dioxin
Mercury
PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate


Status of the Fishery (as of 08/03/2009)

Upper Sakatah Lake in Le Sueur County is a 881 acre lake located east of the city of Waterville. A public access is located in the city of Waterville on the Cannon River, before it flows into Sakatah Bay, the western basin of Upper Sakatah Lake. There is also a public access located inside Sakatah State Park on the southern shoreline of the lake.

A state park daily or annual vehicle permit is required for park admittance. The lake is accessible from the bridge between Upper and Lower Sakatah on Leroy Avenue. The Cannon River flows through Upper Sakatah Lake from Tetonka Lake, and downstream into Lower Sakatah Lake. It then continues on through the city of Morristown and further east to Cannon Lake. Sakatah State Park is located on the south shoreline of most of Upper Sakatah Lake. With purchase of a state park permit, a resident may take fish by angling (in open water) without an angling license when shore fishing or wading on state-owned land within a state park. Because Sakatah State Park does not encompass the entire shoreline of Upper or Lower Sakatah State Park, the angling license exemption does not extend to residents angling from a boat or float; those anglers must still purchase an angling license.

Upper Sakatah Lake was surveyed the week of August 3rd, 2009 to monitor the fish community and aquatic habitat. Black bullheads are notable for their decline in abundance from 2004. During the 2004 assessment, black bullheads averaged 117 fish per gill net lift. In 2009, black bullheads averaged 9 fish per gill net lift.

Bluegills were the most abundant game fish in gill and trap net catches, at 8.1 and 7.1 respectively per lift. Average size of bluegills is very poor, at 4.3 inches for all fish measured. Three percent of fish sampled were larger than 7 inches in length. Black crappies continue to maintain a low level abundance in Sakatah. Black crappies averaged 5.2 inches in length and averaged 3.4 fish per gill net lift.

White bass averaged just over 10 fish per gill net lift. White bass are found throughout the Cannon River chain of lakes. Length ranged from 5 to 16 inches, with an average length of 12.6 inches.

Yellow perch abundance has increased since the 2004 assessment, from 10 to 27 per gill net lift. Also in that time size has decreased from an average weight of 0.45 pounds per fish to 0.22 pounds per fish. 22 percent of fish sampled in gill nets were larger than 9 inches.

Northern pike maintain a low level of abundance at just over two fish per gill net lift. Pike size ranged from 18 to 31 inches, with an average of 25 inches. Upper Sakatah is a popular darkhouse spearing lake because of its shallow water and often clear winter waters; many shanties are found across the lake with many concentrated along the distinct point/bar on the north end of the lake.

Walleye, like northern pike, maintain a low level of abundance on Upper Sakatah. Walleye average 3 fish per gill net lift, ranging in size from 7 to 18 inches with an average of 12.6 inches. Upper Sakatah is stocked with walleye fry three out of four years.

Two channel catfish were caught during the survey. Channel catfish are found throughout lakes in the Cannon River chain. Both were large individuals, one at 27 inches and the other at 32 inches total length.

Largemouth bass were sampled using a boom electrofishing boat in late May. Bass averaged 65 fish per hour of on-time. Average length was 12 inches, with an average weight of 1.4 pounds. Size ranged from four to eighteen inches, with most fish concentrated between 14 and 16 inches. Largemouth bass do well in Upper and Lower Sakatah, in part because of the minimal shoreline development and fair amount of coarse woody debris in the water.

Other fish observed in the survey include bigmouth buffalo, bowfin (dogfish), common carp, freshwater drum, golden shiner, green sunfish, white sucker, and yellow bullhead.

Anglers can help maintain or improve the quality of fishing by practicing selective harvest. Selective harvest allows for the harvest of smaller fish for table fare, but encourages release of medium- to large-sized fish. Releasing these fish can help maintain balance in the fish community in Upper Sakatah Lake and provide anglers the opportunity to catch more and larger fish in the future.

Shoreline areas on the land and into the shallow water provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife that live in or near Minnesota's lakes. Overdeveloped shorelines cannot support the fish, wildlife, and clean water that are associated with natural undeveloped lakes. Shoreline habitat consists of aquatic plants, woody plants, and natural lake bottom soils.

Plants in the water and at the water's edge provide habitat, prevent erosion, and absorb excess nutrients. Shrubs, trees, and woody debris such as fallen trees or limbs provide good habitat both above and below the water and should be left in place. By leaving a buffer strip of natural vegetation along the shoreline, property owners can reduce erosion, help maintain water quality, and provide habitat and travel corridors for wildlife.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
PO Box 86
50317 Fish Hatchery Rd
Waterville, MN 56096-0086
Phone: (507) 362-4223
Internet: Waterville Fisheries
E-Mail: Waterville.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 C0434 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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