Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Rays (Charles)

Nearest Town: Elysian
Primary County: Le Sueur
Survey Date: 07/13/2014
Inventory Number: 40005600

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Earthen


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 168.94
Littoral Area (acres): 139
Maximum Depth (ft): 32
Water Clarity (ft): 3.5 (2.8-4.1)

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


Did you know? Lake rehabilitation projects reclaim waters suffering from habitat degradation and overpopulation of some fish species.

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 0.44 1.5 - 58.0 0.79 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 4.17 7.7 - 104.7 0.82 0.2 - 0.5
Black Crappie Trap net 1.22 2.1 - 24.1 0.34 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 4.00 1.7 - 17.5 0.37 0.1 - 0.3
Bluegill Trap net 24.67 3.5 - 57.1 0.17 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 1.83 N/A 0.18 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 0.89 0.3 - 1.3 3.91 2.5 - 4.2
Common Carp Trap net 0.44 0.4 - 2.4 3.49 1.8 - 5.1
Gill net 1.67 0.8 - 4.3 5.68 1.0 - 4.0
Freshwater Drum Trap net 0.33 0.3 - 2.9 3.40 0.5 - 1.4
Gill net 0.17 3.1 - 18.4 3.53 0.3 - 0.8
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 0.44 N/A 0.27 N/A
Largemouth Bass Gill net 0.17 0.3 - 0.6 1.80 0.5 - 1.5
Northern Pike Trap net 0.22 N/A 3.25 N/A
Gill net 3.83 2.0 - 10.8 3.23 1.7 - 3.1
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.33 0.7 - 6.5 0.08 0.1 - 0.2
Walleye Trap net 0.11 0.3 - 0.8 3.58 0.9 - 3.5
Gill net 0.83 0.8 - 3.8 4.59 1.4 - 3.0
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.44 0.4 - 2.8 0.07 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 0.50 2.0 - 22.3 0.13 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 2 26 1 0 0 0 0 29
black crappie 2 30 1 1 0 0 0 0 34
bluegill 103 128 0 0 0 0 0 0 231
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 1 6 1 0 8
common carp 0 0 0 2 0 11 1 0 14
freshwater drum 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 4
hybrid sunfish 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
largemouth bass 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 0 17 8 0 25
pumpkinseed 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
walleye 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 6
yellow perch 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 7


For the record, the largest Pumpkinseed taken in Minnesota weighed 1 lb., 5.6 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Leech Lake, Cass County
    When: 6/6/99
    Statistics: 10.1" length, 12 1/8" girth

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 07/13/2014)

Introduction Rays (Charles) Lake is a 156.3 acre lake located in Le Sueur County north of the town of Elysian. A public access is located on the south side of the lake off 1st Street North, which goes north from Elysian. Rays Lake has a maximum depth of 32.0 feet. Eurasian watermilfoil is present in Rays Lake. Boaters should be sure to remove all aquatic vegetation from boats, trailers, and equipment and drain all water from livewells, transoms, and bilges when leaving the lake to prevent the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil to other lakes. Rays Lake is primarily managed for bluegill, black crappie, and largemouth bass and secondarily managed for northern pike. Fish are only stocked in Rays Lake in the event of a winterkill. Rays Lake is in Lake Class 38, based on limnological variables. Other area lakes in this same classification include Horseshoe Lake (Le Sueur County), Duck Lake (Blue Earth County), and Hunt Lake (Rice County). Rays Lake was surveyed the week of July 21st, 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.

Bluegill The bluegill population in Rays Lake has shown patterns of erratic recruitment, ranging from 21.8 fish/net in 1985 to 137.5 fish/net in 1990. The 2014 bluegill catch rate was 24.7 fish/net, which falls below the lake average of 63.0 fish/net. The length of bluegill collected in trap nets ranged in length from 2.6 to 8.0 inches and averaged 5.7 inches, revealing a small size structure.

Black Crappie After a record high abundance in 2009 (47.5 fish/net), black crappie catch rates dropped to 4 fish/net in 2014. This is well below the long-term average for Rays Lake (20.5 fish/net). Despite the lower abundance, the size structure of black crappie improved since the last survey in 2009. In 2009, only 3% of all black crappie measured 8.0 inches or longer. In 2014, however, 57% of the black crappie catch measured 8.0 inches or longer. The black crappie lengths averaged 7.9 inches and the largest individual was 14.3 inches, indicating a quality size structure with some larger individuals. Although black crappie were not aged, a length frequency histogram indicates that the population is mostly dominated by one single year class.

Largemouth Bass Largemouth bass are not effectively collected in the sampling gears used in this survey. As a result, only one fish was sampled (0.2 fish/net), which measured 14.6 inches. Anecdotal reports from shore anglers indicate quality largemouth bass fishing in Rays Lake, with some larger individuals being caught. With abundant aquatic vegetation and prey fish available, Rays Lake has the potential to be a great largemouth bass lake.

Northern Pike The 2014 northern pike catch rate of 3.8 fish/gill net fell below the long-term lake average of 4.8 fish/gill net. Northern pike lengths ranged from 21.3 to 28.7 inches and averaged 24.2 inches, indicating a small size structure of northern pike. Most of the northern pike were from the same year class (2011), which averaged 24.5 inches in length as three year old fish. Northern pike are not stocked in Rays Lake, so the population is sustained through natural reproduction. In the event of a severe winterkill, northern pike and other game species would be stocked to initiate the population.

Walleye Walleye abundance in Rays Lake has remained low throughout the survey history. The catch rate in 2014 was 0.8 fish/gill net (5 total walleye). The walleye sampled during this survey were large, ranging from 22.8 to 24.8 inches and averaging 23.8 inches. Although the size structure was large, walleye seem to have slow growth in Rays Lake compared to other lakes in southern Minnesota.

Other Species A total of 29 black bullheads were sampling in 2014 from both gear types. Lengths of black bullheads ranged from 6.5 to 12.1 inches and averaged 11.1 inches. Other fish species collected in low abundance included common carp (N = 14), bowfin (N = 8), freshwater drum (N = 4), yellow perch (N = 7), and pumpkinseed (N = 3).

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 D0149 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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