Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Upper Sakatah

Nearest Town: Waterville
Primary County: Le Sueur
Survey Date: 08/04/2014
Inventory Number: 40000200
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
City Concrete
DNR Concrete


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 892.01
Littoral Area (acres): 892.01
Maximum Depth (ft): 12
Water Clarity (ft): 2.8 (1.4-3.9)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 4.0 (1.4-8.2)


Did you know? The DNR Section of Fisheries has a full-time staff of 285. There are 4 regional and 28 area fisheries offices.

Fish Sampled for the 2014 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Bullhead Trap net 0.42 1.3 - 78.1 1.53 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 3.00 4.6 - 83.0 1.44 0.2 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 0.33 1.0 - 12.3 0.31 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 2.00 0.8 - 11.1 0.11 0.2 - 0.4
Bluegill Trap net 0.08 1.0 - 14.9 0.02 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 0.75 N/A 0.33 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 2.83 0.1 - 0.7 4.42 3.7 - 5.1
Gill net 1.50 0.1 - 1.0 4.44 3.3 - 5.5
Channel Catfish Gill net 0.75 N/A 7.41 N/A
Common Carp Trap net 2.25 0.7 - 5.1 6.50 2.3 - 5.6
Gill net 1.25 0.5 - 9.1 5.50 1.0 - 4.9
Freshwater Drum Trap net 11.17 0.4 - 4.0 1.97 0.5 - 1.7
Gill net 6.75 3.6 - 24.2 1.46 0.3 - 1.0
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.08 0.1 - 0.8 1.94 0.4 - 1.5
Northern Pike Trap net 0.08 N/A 3.64 N/A
Gill net 2.88 1.2 - 7.8 2.98 1.5 - 3.0
Pumpkinseed Gill net 0.12 N/A ND N/A
Walleye Gill net 1.25 3.2 - 15.3 1.61 0.9 - 1.9
White Bass Trap net 0.17 0.4 - 1.9 1.25 0.2 - 0.8
Gill net 3.25 0.8 - 7.1 1.46 N/A
White Sucker Trap net 0.08 0.3 - 1.3 2.87 1.3 - 2.6
Gill net 0.25 0.8 - 5.9 2.65 1.4 - 2.2
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 2.17 0.5 - 4.1 1.26 0.4 - 0.8
Gill net 0.62 0.3 - 3.6 0.87 0.5 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.08 0.3 - 2.6 ND 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 7.75 3.0 - 22.5 0.22 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 2014 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 bullhead 0 1 1 25 1 0 0 0 28
black crappie 14 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 18
bluegill 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 7
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 6 31 8 1 46
channel catfish 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 0 6
common carp 0 0 0 0 5 25 6 1 37
freshwater drum 0 3 0 64 119 0 0 0 186
largemouth bass 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 1 19 2 2 24
pumpkinseed 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
walleye 0 0 2 0 6 1 0 0 9
white bass 0 1 0 22 3 0 0 0 26
white sucker 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 3
yellow bullhead 0 0 8 23 0 0 0 0 31
yellow perch 12 36 10 0 0 0 0 0 58


For the record, the largest Golden Redhorse taken in Minnesota weighed 3 lb., 15.5 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Root River, Fillmore County
    When: 4/30/07
    Statistics: 20.125" length, 12.375" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2014 northern pike fry 93,177 1.8
  walleye fry 1,319,283 12.9
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

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

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 08/04/2014)

Introduction Upper Sakatah Lake is an 881 acre lake located in Le Sueur County east of the town of Waterville. A city-owned public access is located within the town of Waterville on the Cannon River, before it flows into the west bay of Upper Sakatah Lake. There is also an access located inside Sakatah Lake State Park off MN-60. Upper Sakatah Lake has a maximum depth of 12 feet. Upper Sakatah Lake is managed primarily for walleye and secondarily for northern pike. Walleye fry are stocked three out of every four years at a rate of 1,500 fry per littoral acre. Northern pike fry (N = 100,00) are stocked annually into a marsh area, which is connected the lake. Based in lake characteristics and limnological variables, Upper Sakatah Lake is classified in Lake Class 41. Other area lakes with this classification include Cannon Lake (Rice County), Lura Lake (Blue Earth County), and Elysian Lake (Waseca County). Upper Sakatah Lake was surveyed the week of August 4, 2014 as part of a regular monitoring program conducted by Minnesota DNR. This survey was intended to assess the fish community by deploying gill nets and trap nets, as well as recording water quality parameters.

Walleye Walleye abundance in Upper Sakatah Lake has been steadily decreasing since it was at peak abundance in 1994 (17.3 fish/gill net). The 2014 walleye catch rate of 1.3 fish/gill net was below the long-term average of 6.6 fish/gill net. Walleye lengths ranged from 9.3 to 21.1 inches and averaged 15.8 inches, indicating a relatively small size structure. Walleye were recently stocked in Upper Sakatah Lake in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Following the base stocking plan of fry stocking three out of every four years, walleye will not be stocked again until 2016.

Northern Pike Northern pike catch rates in Upper Sakatah Lake have remained relatively stable since 1981, hovering around the long-term lake average of 1.7 fish/gill net. The 2014 survey yielded a higher catch rate of 2.8 fish/gill net, which is the highest catch rate in recent years. Northern pike lengths ranged from 18.1 to 32.8 inches and averaged 23.2 inches, indicating a moderately low size structure. Northern pike in southern Minnesota have relatively fast growth rates, especially in early life. For example, the average length of two year old northern pike from Upper Sakatah Lake was 21.7 inches. Northern pike fry (N = 100,000) are stocked into a connected marsh every year to sustain the population in Upper Sakatah Lake.

Yellow Perch Yellow perch were the most abundant fish species sampled from gill nets in the 2014 survey, with a catch rate of 7.8 fish/net. However, this was below the long-term average for yellow perch catch rates in Upper Sakatah Lake (9.6 fish/net). The 2014 catch rate was a steep drop from that of the previous survey completed in 2009, which was a record high 26.5 fish/net. Yellow perch lengths ranged from 5.3 to 10.7 inches and averaged 7.2 inches, indicating a small size structure of yellow perch. These small yellow perch sizes are typical of the Cannon River chain of lakes. Yellow perch are only stocked after winterkill events and have not been stocked in recent years, so the current population is sustained through natural recruitment.

Black Crappie Black crappie abundance has been variable in Upper Sakatah Lake, ranging from 5.0 fish/net in 1999 to 0.4 fish/net in 2004. The 2014 catch rate of 2.0 fish/net was close to the long-term lake average of 2.2 fish/net. Black crappie are not stocked in Upper Sakatah Lake, so abundance is dependent on spawning success from year to year, as well as recruitment from other lakes along the Cannon River chain. The length of black crappie ranged from 4.8 to 6.6 inches and averaged 5.5 inches, which indicates that the black crappie population in Upper Sakatah Lake is small.

Bluegill Similarly to black crappie, the bluegill abundance in Upper Sakatah Lake has varied considerably throughout the survey years. The 2014 trap net catch rate dropped considerably from that of 2009 (7.1 fish/net) to only 0.1 fish/net. Six bluegill were also collected in gill nets (0.8 fish/net). Bluegill from both gear types ranged in length from 3.5 to 8.3 inches and averaged 6.2 inches. Given the low abundance and small size structure of bluegill in Upper Sakatah Lake, other lakes in the area are likely better bluegill fishing options.

White Bass In surveys conducted from 1999 to 2009, the white bass catch rate averaged 14.7 fish/gill net. In 2014, the catch rate dropped to 3.3 fish/gill net. The length of white bass was impressive, ranging from 8.6 to 15.9 inches and averaging 13.7 inches, indicating a large size structure for white bass. White bass are not stocked in Upper Sakatah Lake, so the current population is sustained through natural reproduction.

Other Species Black and yellow bullhead are present in Upper Sakatah Lake in relatively low abundance. The black bullhead gill net catch rate in 2014 was 3.0 fish/net and lengths averaged 13.0 inches, so the size structure is comprised of larger individuals. Yellow bullheads were sampled in gill nets at a rate of 0.6 fish/net and averaged 12.6 inches. Other fish species collected in the 2014 survey included channel catfish (N = 6), freshwater drum (N = 188), bowfin (N = 46), common carp (N = 37), white sucker (N = 3), and pumpkinseed (N = 1).

Anglers can play an important role in maintaining or improving a fish population by practicing selective harvest. Selective harvest allows for the harvest of smaller fish for consumption, while encouraging the release of medium to large fish that may contribute to natural recruitment. This practice helps maintain balance in the fish community and provides anglers the opportunity to catch more and larger fish in the future. Additionally, smaller fish often taste better and have fewer contaminants than larger, older fish from the same water body.

Shoreline property owners also play an important role in the overall health of an aquatic ecosystem, including the fish population. Natural shorelines, including vegetation, woody debris, and bottom substrates, provide valuable habitat for fish and wildlife, help maintain water quality, and reduce bank erosion. By leaving natural shorelines unaltered or restoring them to natural conditions, shoreline property owners are doing their part to maintain or improve a healthy ecosystem in the lake and protect the resource for future generations.


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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