Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Shaokotan (Shoakotan)

Nearest Town: Ivanhoe
Primary County: Lincoln
Survey Date: 07/29/2013
Inventory Number: 41008900
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Concrete
DNR Concrete

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 996.28
Littoral Area (acres): 996.28
Maximum Depth (ft): 10
Water Clarity (ft): 2.9 (1.8-4)

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

Did you know? The state operates 17 hatcheries: 5 for trout and salmon and 12 for coolwater species.

Fish Sampled for the 2013 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Bullhead Trap net 90.00 1.3 - 78.1 0.25 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 168.00 4.6 - 83.0 0.34 0.2 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 0.08 1.0 - 12.3 0.82 0.2 - 0.5
Northern Pike Trap net 0.83 N/A 3.84 N/A
Gill net 0.33 1.2 - 7.8 2.98 1.5 - 3.0
Walleye Trap net 2.50 0.3 - 1.7 3.50 0.9 - 2.4
Gill net 23.33 3.2 - 15.3 2.91 0.9 - 1.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.08 0.3 - 2.6 0.45 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 15.67 3.0 - 22.5 0.40 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 2013 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 156 1372 26 22 0 0 0 0 1584
black crappie 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 1 3 0 0 1 2 4 11
walleye 0 0 3 3 30 61 3 0 100
yellow perch 0 22 24 2 0 0 0 0 48

For the record, the largest White Sucker taken in Minnesota weighed 9 lbs., 1 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Big Fish Lake, Stearns County
    When: 5/1/83
    Statistics: 24.25" length, 16.25" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye fry 996,928 8.0
2012 Walleye fry 696,412 6.3
  Walleye fry 302,931 2.9
2010 Walleye fry 998,219 9.1
2009 Walleye fry 995,648 9.4
2008 Northern Pike fingerlings 2,216 16.3
2007 Walleye fry 994,816 9.7
2006 Walleye fry 995,648 9.4

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

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Lincoln Co., 41008900
Bullhead   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
Walleye   shorter than 18" 18" or longer   Mercury
Yellow Perch All sizes        

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Lincoln Co., 41008900
Bullhead All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   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.

PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate

Status of the Fishery (as of 07/29/2013)

INTRODUCTION Shaokotan Lake is a 995-acre lake located near the City of Ivanhoe in Lincoln County. Shaokotan Lake has a maximum depth of 10.0 feet and has been aerated since 1981 in an effort to reduce the frequency and severity of winterkills. Shaokotan has a watershed-to-lake ratio of 9 to 1 and is situated in a watershed that is dominated by agriculture. Excessive nutrient runoff from neighboring agricultural fields and developed shorelines likely contributes to extensive algae blooms in the lake during the summer. Shaokotan Lake's shoreline has been altered extensively, as it is one of the most residentially developed lakes in the Windom fisheries area. In areas with residential development, lawns are typically maintained to the water's edge and shorelines are altered with rock riprap or sand blankets, thereby disrupting the natural riparian buffer. Shaokotan Lake was part of a Clean Water Partnership effort involving Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, local groups, and local units of government. An extensive data gathering effort began in 1991 to understand watershed nutrient loading and lake response dynamics. After completion of the monitoring efforts, a watershed restoration program was initiated in late 1991. Actions to reduce nutrient loading were in place by 1995. These actions resulted in a 58% reduction in phosphorus loading into the lake. More recently, Shaokotan Lake was chosen to be included in another long term monitoring program, Sustaining Lakes In a Changing Environment (SLICE). SLICE lakes are monitored more frequently to assess the past and present physical, chemical, and biological characteristics, and to make inferences about the current health of habitats and fish in Minnesota lakes. Shaokotan Lake is managed primarily for walleye and secondarily for yellow perch and northern pike. Walleye fry have been stocked frequently during the last decade (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013) as fry have been stocked two out of three years beginning in 2006. Yellow perch in Shaokotan have sustained their population through natural reproduction, therefore they are not stocked. Northern pike stocking occurred in 2004 and 2008, with some natural reproduction documented. A population assessment was conducted during the week of July 29, 2013 to monitor fish populations using three gill nets and 12 trap nets.

WALLEYE The 2013 walleye catch rate was 23.3 per gill net, the second highest catch rate ever recorded in Shaokotan Lake, and an increase from the 2011 catch rate of 18.3 per gill net. Since 1967, walleye catch rates have averaged 16.7 per gill net and varied from 5.3 per gill net in 1992 to 34.5 per gill net in 1983. Since 2008, walleye gill net catch rates have been high when compared to similar lakes. The 2013 trap net catch rate also was high compared to similar lakes as walleye were captured at a rate of 2.5 per trap net, slightly below the long term average of 3.6 per trap net. Both gill net and trap net catch rates indicate that the walleye population is doing well in Shaokotan Lake. Walleye size structure was large, ranging in length from 9.8 to 28.0 inches and averaging 20.3 inches, with many of the fish being over 20 inches in length. A population abundance model was used to estimate a theoretical 2013 population estimate for Shaokotan Lake based on gill net catches of walleye. The model estimated the population to be at 10,079 walleyes. The Shaokotan Lake walleye population appears to be stable, as indicated by the wide range of lengths present. Age estimates indicated that multiple year classes of walleye were present, including year classes from 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012. Some natural reproduction does occur in Shaokotan Lake as the 2008 and 2011 year classes do not correspond to stocking events. Walleyes grow fast in Shaokotan Lake, averaging 16.2 inches by age-3. Walleyes were plump, indicating that forage is not limited in Shaokotan Lake.

NORTHERN PIKE Historically, northern pike have occurred in low abundance in Shaokotan Lake. In 2013, the northern pike catch rate was also low, being captured at a rate of 0.3 per gill net. The 2013 trap net catch rate of northern pike was 0.8 per trap net, slightly above the long term average of 0.7 per trap net, but within the historic range of catch rates (0.2 per trap net in 2009 to 1.9 per trap net in 1967) for Shaokotan Lake. Despite favorable habitat and stocking efforts, the northern pike population has existed at levels lower than expected. Size structure of northern pike was large ranging from 8.7 to 35.5 inches in length and averaging 22.7 inches. Four pike, 8.7 to 10.0 inches, were sampled in trap nets indicating that natural reproduction occurred in the spring of 2013.

YELLOW PERCH Yellow perch catch rates have been highly variable in Shaokotan Lake, ranging from a low of 0.0 per gill net in 1992 to a high of 147.7 per gill net in 2000, and averaging 38.5 per gill net since 1967. In 2013, yellow perch were captured at a rate of 15.7 per gill net, a decrease from the 2011 catch rate of 21.7 per gill net, and the lowest recorded catch rate since 2004 (0.7 per gill net). The 2013 catch rate was well below the long-term average for Shaokotan Lake, but was within the expected range of catch rates (3.0 per gill net to 22.5 per gill net) for similar lakes. Yellow perch populations tend to be sporadic, where a strong year class is produced every 3 to 5 years, with the strong year class accounting for the majority of the population. This was evident in Shaokotan Lake as age-2 yellow perch (2011 year class) accounted for nearly 80 percent of the sample. In addition to the 2011 year class, perch from two other year classes were sampled including 2012 (age-1) and 2009 (age-4). Yellow perch grow fast in Shaokotan Lake as lengths averaged 6.1 inches at age-1, 8.0 inches at age-2, 10.7 inches at age-3, and 12.9 inches at age-4. Size structure of yellow perch was average ranging from 6.6 to 14.3 inches and averaging 8.9 inches in length.

BLACK BULLHEAD Black bullhead catch rates have fluctuated greatly in Shaokotan Lake, from 0.7 per trap net in 2009 to 606.7 per trap net in 1983, and have averaged 139.3 per trap net since 1967. Catch rates of bullheads were at all-time lows from 2008 to 2011 as catch rates did not exceed 1.0 per trap net. This trend changed in 2013 as bullheads were captured at a rate of 90.0 per trap net, the highest catch rate since 2004 (97.3 per trap net). The 2013 black bullhead catch rate was below the long-term average of 139.3 per trap net, but was greater than the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.3 to 78.1 per trap net). The 2013 gill net catch rate (168.0 per gill net) also indicated an increase in abundance, also high when compared to similar lakes. Size structure of black bullheads was small as black bullhead lengths ranged from 4.6 to 14.9 inches and averaged 7.4 inches. Ninety-six percent of the black bullheads were less than 10 inches in length, with the most abundant length being 7.0 to 8.0 inches. Black bullheads are one of the main prey species for larger predators such as walleye and northern pike. The abundant black bullhead population is providing an excellent prey resource for predators in this system.

OTHER SPECIES One 10.9 inch black crappie was caught which was the first time that black crappies have been sampled since 1992. Historically, bluegills have been captured in very low abundance; no bluegills were sampled in 2013. No white suckers were captured in 2013, but have historically occurred in low abundance in Shaokotan Lake. Shaokotan continued to be carp free, as no common carp were sampled in 2013, consistent with previous surveys. Anglers should take extra precaution to keep carp out of this system by not transporting fish from one basin to another, and by properly disposing of unused bait in the trash.

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 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 or improve water quality, and provide habitat and travel corridors for wildlife.

Best management practices within the watershed (no-till farming, cover crops, buffer strips, targeted fertilizer application, reduced or metered tiling) would help reduce nutrients entering the lake. High nutrient and sediment input can cause algae blooms and reduce overall water quality. Any improvements in the watershed are likely to have positive impacts on the fishery.

Prepared by Jonah Dagel

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
175 Co Rd 26
Windom, MN 56101-1868
Phone: (507) 831-2900
Internet: Windom 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 B0204 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