Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Volney

Nearest Town: Le Center
Primary County: Le Sueur
Survey Date: 06/10/2014
Inventory Number: 40003300
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Concrete

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 268.86
Littoral Area (acres): 130
Maximum Depth (ft): 67
Water Clarity (ft): 10.5 (9-12.5)

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

Did you know? The annual budget for the Section of Fisheries is approximately $17 million, which is funded primarily by fishing license and stamp fees and by a federal excise tax on fishing and boating equipment.

Fish Sampled for the 2014 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Bullhead Trap net 0.33 0.7 - 25.7 0.74 0.3 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 94.33 1.8 - 21.2 0.15 0.2 - 0.3
Gill net 2.00 2.5 - 16.5 0.29 0.1 - 0.3
Bluegill Trap net 11.56 7.5 - 62.5 0.30 0.1 - 0.3
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 0.44 0.4 - 1.3 4.79 2.3 - 4.1
Common Carp Trap net 0.11 0.4 - 2.0 12.79 2.6 - 6.0
Freshwater Drum Trap net 6.44 0.5 - 4.2 0.52 0.4 - 1.2
Gill net 9.83 4.0 - 32.3 0.97 0.3 - 1.1
Northern Pike Gill net 1.50 1.5 - 7.3 5.03 2.0 - 3.5
Walleye Trap net 0.22 0.3 - 1.2 0.10 0.8 - 2.8
Gill net 1.83 1.2 - 6.3 1.67 1.2 - 2.7
Yellow Perch Gill net 9.67 2.0 - 27.9 0.25 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 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 0 1 0 0 0 3
black crappie 630 122 99 1 0 0 0 0 852
bluegill 24 77 3 0 0 0 0 0 104
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 4
common carp 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
freshwater drum 40 0 1 68 8 0 0 0 117
northern pike 0 0 0 0 2 0 5 2 9
walleye 0 2 1 4 5 1 0 0 13
yellow perch 0 55 3 0 0 0 0 0 58

For the record, the largest Bowfin taken in Minnesota weighed 11 lbs., 4 oz. and was caught:

    Where: St. Croix River, Washington County
    When: 10/7/2008
    Statistics: 35" length, 20" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2015 Northern Pike fry 44,091 0.9
2014 northern pike fry 42,021 0.8
  walleye fry 194,313 1.9
2013 Northern Pike fry 49,329 1.0
  Walleye fry 197,240 2.0
  Walleye adults 4,485 195.0
2012 Walleye fry 195,510 1.9
2010 Walleye fingerlings 2,600 100.0
  Walleye yearlings 182 200.0
  Walleye fingerlings 500 125.0
  Walleye fry 218,228 2.0
2009 Walleye fry 276,224 2.8

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 06/10/2014)

Introduction Volney Lake is a 283 acre lake located in Le Sueur County southeast of the town of Le Center. A DNR-owned public access is located on the southeast corner of the lake off 185th Avenue. With a maximum depth of 67 feet, Volney Lake is the deepest lake in the area. It is also one of the clearest lakes in the area. About 46% of the lake is considered littoral (> 15 feet deep). Based on limnological variables and lake characteristics, Volney Lake is placed in Lake Class 24. Other lakes in this lake class include Madison (Blue Earth County), Mazaska (Rice County), and Reeds (Waseca County). Volney Lake is primarily managed for black crappie and secondarily managed for bluegill and walleye. Walleye are stocked according to a base stocking plan of stocking fry three out of every four years at a rate of 1,000 fish per littoral acre. Walleye fingerlings (1.5 pound/acre) are stocked every other year if a fall electrofishing evaluation deems necessary (catch rate below 30.0 fish/hour). Northern pike are also stocked according to a base stocking plan of stocking fry annually at a rate of 50,000 fry per year. Northern pike fry are stocked into an adjacent wetland northeast of the lake, rather than directly into the lake. Volney Lake was surveyed the week of June 10, 2014 as part of a regular monitoring program conducted by the Minnesota DNR. This survey was intended to assess the fish community by deploying trap nets and gill nets, as well as recording water quality parameters.

Walleye The walleye population in Volney Lake has varied in abundance throughout the past twenty years and has been relatively low since the early 1990s. The walleye catch rate in the 2014 survey was 1.8 fish/gill net, which marked an increase from 2009 (0.8 fish/gill net). Walleye lengths ranged from 9.5 to 20.0 inches and averaged 16.0 inches. Most fish from this survey were from the 2012 year class (age-2). The average length of age-2 walleye was 14.7 inches. Walleye growth rates in Volney Lake appear to be about average compared to similar lakes in the area. The only year class missing from this survey within the past four years was 2011, when no walleye stocking took place. This suggests that little to no natural reproduction takes place in Volney Lake.

Black Crappie Black crappie catch rates in trap nets have varied throughout the survey history of Volney Lake. In 2009, trap nets yielded 6.7 fish/net. In the 2014 survey, the trap net catch rate was 94.3, which marked a record high for Volney Lake. A vast majority of these black crappie were young, small fish, which suggests a strong year class will be working through the fishery in the coming years. Lengths of black crappie collected in trap nets ranged from 3.0 to 11.7 inches, indicating a relatively good size structure. Black crappie were also sampled in gill nets at a rate of 2.0 fish/net. These fish ranged in length from 4.2 to 12.1 inches. Although black crappie were not aged, the population appears to be comprised of numerous size classes. Like all panfish in Volney Lake, the black crappie population is sustained by natural recruitment.

Bluegill The bluegill catch rate in 2014 was 11.8 fish/trap net, which closely resembled the long-term average for Volney Lake (12.5 fish/trap net). Bluegill lengths ranged from 3.9 to 9.1 inches, with most fish measuring between 6.0 and 7.0 inches, which indicates a relatively small size structure. The clear water and abundant macrophytes of Volney Lake provide ideal bluegill habitat and make it a quality bluegill fishery.

Yellow Perch Yellow perch were the second most abundant fish species observed in the gill nets, ranking right behind freshwater drum. The 2014 catch rate of 9.7 fish/net was a decrease from the catch rate of 2009 (27.2 fish/net). Yellow perch lengths ranged from 6.6 to 10.0 inches and averaged 8.0 inches, indicating a relatively small size structure of yellow perch. Although yellow perch were not aged, most fish appeared to be from the same year class. Small size structures of yellow perch are common among lakes in south-central Minnesota. However, young yellow perch are often the main forage fish for predators, such as walleye.

Northern Pike The northern pike population in Volney Lake has remained in relatively low abundance since the early 1990s, averaging only 0.7 fish/net throughout the past twenty years. The 2014 catch rate increased to 1.5 fish/net, which is average for similar lakes in the area. The lengths of northern pike ranged from 18.7 to 35.9 inches and averaged 26.2 inches, indicating a moderate size class. Starting in 2013, northern pike fry have been stocked annually in an attempt to increase the population. The fry are stocked into a connected wetland northeast of the lake.

Other Species Freshwater drum were abundant during the 2014 survey, with catch rates of 9.8 fish/gill net and 6.4 fish/trap net. Freshwater drum have a firm, white flesh and make good table fare. Other fish species collected in this survey in low abundance included bowfin (N = 4), common carp (N = 1), and black bullhead (N = 3). Although not observed in 2014, reports of flathead catfish in Lake Volney have been received.

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

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 C1914 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