Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Fish

Nearest Town: Waterville
Primary County: Le Sueur
Survey Date: 06/02/2014
Inventory Number: 40005100

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Gravel

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 77.4
Littoral Area (acres): 33
Maximum Depth (ft): 55
Water Clarity (ft): 12.9 (10.75-15)

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

Did you know? MinnAqua Fishing: Get in the Habitat! has a Minnesota-base activity guide for teachers, scout and 4-H leaders, youth leaders, outdoor sports groups, or anyone interested in teaching others about habitat, stewardship and fishing.

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 0.62 0.3 - 2.8 0.81 0.2 - 0.7
Gill net 2.50 0.5 - 11.0 1.11 0.2 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 1.50 0.5 - 3.3 0.41 0.3 - 0.5
Gill net 4.00 0.5 - 2.9 0.30 0.2 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 22.38 5.7 - 40.5 0.30 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 6.50 N/A 0.27 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 0.62 0.4 - 1.3 1.83 3.0 - 4.5
Gill net 3.00 0.3 - 0.5 3.97 2.7 - 4.7
Largemouth Bass Gill net 1.50 0.3 - 1.5 1.08 0.5 - 1.3
Northern Pike Gill net 2.00 2.8 - 8.7 4.12 1.5 - 2.9
Pumpkinseed Trap net 8.88 1.3 - 6.3 0.22 0.1 - 0.2
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 4.75 1.0 - 8.4 0.78 0.5 - 0.7
Gill net 10.00 0.5 - 11.0 0.69 0.4 - 0.7
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 0 8 2 0 0 0 0 10
black crappie 0 18 1 1 0 0 0 0 20
bluegill 22 170 0 0 0 0 0 0 192
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 1 5 3 2 0 11
largemouth bass 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 3
northern pike 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 4
pumpkinseed 28 40 0 0 0 0 0 0 68
yellow bullhead 1 6 39 7 0 0 0 0 53

For the record, the largest White Bass taken in Minnesota weighed 4 lbs., 2.4 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mississippi River Pool 5, Wabasha County
    When: 5/4/2004

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 06/02/2014)

Introduction Fish Lake is a 78 acre lake located in Le Sueur County north of the city of Elysian. A DNR-owned public access is located on southeast corner of the lake off Le Sueur county road 14. Fish Lake is a small, clear lake with a maximum depth of 55 feet. Minimal shoreline development, abundant and diverse aquatic vegetation, and a nearly undisturbed watershed make Fish Lake an outlier among southern Minnesota lakes. Fish Lake is managed primarily for bluegill, largemouth bass, and northern pike and secondarily managed for black crappie. No stocking plan exists for Fish Lake, so the fish community persists exclusively from natural recruitment. Fish Lake was surveyed the week of June 2, 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. To assess the largemouth bass population, daytime boat electrofishing was also conducted.

Bluegill Bluegill were the most abundant fish in 2014 survey, with a total of 179 fish collected in the trap nets (22.4 fish/net). However, this catch rate is below the long-term average for Fish Lake (27.8 fish/net) and is the lowest since 1984. Bluegill lengths ranged from 2.9 to 8.8 inches and averaged 7.1 inches, indicating a moderate size structure for bluegill in Fish Lake. Fifteen percent of the bluegill from trap nets measured 8.0 inches or larger.

Largemouth Bass The largemouth bass population in Fish Lake was assessed by boat electrofishing along the entire shoreline. All largemouth bass (N = 61) were measured, weighed, and released after scale samples were removed for aging. The catch rate of largemouth bass was 70.8 fish/hour, which is above the lake average of 53.8 fish/hour. However, this is a decrease from the catch rate in 2009 (104.6 fish/hour). Largemouth bass lengths ranged from 2.8 to 19.3 inches and averaged 7.4 inches, indicating a relatively small size structure. Despite the relatively high catch rate, most of the population consists of young individuals, as 87% of the total catch was five years old or less. The average length of largemouth bass in Fish Lake was 5.7 inches at age-2, 7.7 inches at age-3, 10.8 inches at age-4, and 11.3 inches at age-5.

Northern Pike The northern pike catch rate in Fish Lake has remained moderate to high compared to similar lakes in every survey conducted since 1979, until 2014 when the catch rate was 2.0 fish/gill net. This catch rate is well below the long-term average for Fish Lake (7.0 fish/net). The length of northern pike ranged from 14.6 to 32.0 inches and averaged 24.0 inches, indicating moderate size structure. Like all fish species in Fish Lake, northern pike are completely sustained through natural recruitment.

Black Crappie Black crappie catch rates from 1989 to 2009 averaged only 0.3 fish/trap net. However, the 2014 survey yielded 1.5 fish/net, which is a significant increase from previous years. Black crappie were also collected in the gill nets at a rate of 4.0 fish/net, which is considerably high compared to similar lakes. Black crappie from both gear types averaged 8.1 inches in length. However, the largest individual measured was over 13.0 inches.

Pumpkinseed Like bluegill, pumpkinseed are members of the sunfish family and are enjoyable to catch on light tackle. The 2014 catch rate of pumpkinseed (8.9 fish/trap net) was the highest on record for Fish Lake. Pumpkinseed lengths ranged from 4.8 to 7.2 inches and averaged 6.1 inches, indicating a small size structure. Pumpkinseed can be distinguished from bluegill by the orange spot at the tip of the opercular flap and the lack of a dark blotch near the back of the dorsal fin.

Yellow Bullhead Unlike the black bullhead, yellow bullheads prefer to inhabit clear, less productive water, much like that of Fish Lake. The catch rate of yellow bullheads in the 2014 survey was 10.0 fish/gill net, which is slightly above average compared to similar lakes. Although this catch rate is lower than that of the 2009 survey (16.5 fish/gill net), it is still above the long-term average for Fish Lake (5.9 fish/gill net). Yellow bullheads were also collected in trap nets at a rate of 4.8 fish/net. The length of yellow bullheads from both gear types ranged from 4.9 to 12.7 inches and averaged 10.5 inches.

Other Species Additional fish species collected in low abundance during the 2014 survey included black bullhead (N = 10) and bowfin (N = 11). Although they were not observed in this survey, yellow perch are also present in Fish Lake in low abundance.

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 C1222 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

Tip Logo    Turn in Poachers (TIP):

    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093