Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Shaokotan (Shoakotan)

Nearest Town: Ivanhoe
Primary County: Lincoln
Survey Date: 07/28/2014
Inventory Number: 41008900
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Concrete
DNR Concrete

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 996.29
Littoral Area (acres): 996.28
Maximum Depth (ft): 10
Water Clarity (ft): 3.8 (1.8-7.5)

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

Did you know? Fishing piers are installed on lakes to provide opportunities for shore 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 2.00 1.3 - 78.1 0.38 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 64.33 4.6 - 83.0 0.45 0.2 - 0.6
Bluegill Trap net 0.08 1.0 - 14.9 0.04 0.2 - 0.4
Green Sunfish Trap net 0.50 0.1 - 0.7 0.05 0.1 - 0.2
Northern Pike Trap net 0.67 N/A 2.94 N/A
Gill net 1.67 1.2 - 7.8 3.44 1.5 - 3.0
Walleye Trap net 0.50 0.3 - 1.7 2.35 0.9 - 2.4
Gill net 10.67 3.2 - 15.3 3.42 0.9 - 1.9
White Sucker Gill net 0.33 0.8 - 5.9 2.43 1.4 - 2.2
Yellow Perch Trap net 6.08 0.3 - 2.6 0.12 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 43.33 3.0 - 22.5 0.15 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 65 36 88 8 0 0 0 0 197
bluegill 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
green sunfish 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
northern pike 0 1 2 0 2 3 2 2 12
walleye 0 1 2 3 7 25 0 0 38
white sucker 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
yellow perch 37 163 0 0 0 0 0 0 200

For the record, the largest Smallmouth Buffalo taken in Minnesota weighed 20 lbs., 0 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Big Sandy Lake, Aitkin County
    When: 9/20/03
    Statistics: 32" length, 23-3/4" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2015 Walleye fry 996,947 8.4
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

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 07/28/2014)

INTRODUCTION Lake Shaokotan is a 995-acre lake located near the City of Ivanhoe in Lincoln County. Shaokotan 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. Lake Shaokotan'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. Lake Shaokotan 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, Lake Shaokotan 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. Lake Shaokotan 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 Lake 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 28, 2013 to monitor fish populations using three gill nets and 12 trap nets.

WALLEYE Since surveys began on Lake Shaokotan in 1967, Walleye catch rates have averaged 16.2 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 exceeded the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (3.2 to 15.3 per gill net). The catch rate in 2014 was 10.7 per gill net, which is a decreased from 23.3 per gill net observed in 2013. Despite the decrease from the last several years, the 2014 catch rate of 10.3 per gill net is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (3.2 to 15.3 per gill net). Walleyes ranged in length from 10.0 to 23.8 inches and averaged 20.4 inches. 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 5,242 Walleye. Age estimates indicated that multiple year classes of Walleye were present, including year classes from 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Some natural reproduction does occur in Shaokotan Lake as the 2008 and 2011 year classes do not correspond to stocking events. Additionally, a nearshore survey conducted during August 2014 captured 13 young-of-the-year Walleye, indicating that natural reproduction occurred in 2014, a non-stocked year. A previous study conducted by the University of Minnesota also documented natural reproduction and suggested that up to 30 percent of the Shaokotan Lake Walleye population was from natural reproduction. Walleye growth in Shaokotan was average when compared to growth of Walleye in similar lakes, as mean lengths at age were 9.1 inches for age-1, 13.1 inches for age-2, 15.9 inches for age 3, 18.1 inches for age-4, 19.8 inches for age-5, and 20.3 inches for age-6. Walleye were plump, indicating that forage is not limited in Lake Shaokotan.

NORTHERN PIKE Historically, Northern Pike have occurred in low abundance in Lake Shaokotan. In 2014, the Northern Pike catch rate increased to 1.7 per gill net which is the second highest catch rate observed on Lake Shaokotan since 1967, and is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.2 to 7.8 per gill net). Northern Pike captured in gill nets and trap nets ranged from 8.5 to 36.9 inches and averaged 21.1 inches. The three Northern Pike less than 10.0 inches in length indicate that some natural reproduction occurs in Lake Shaokotan, as stocking has not occurred since 2008. Northern Pike were skinny, suggesting that forage is available but not highly abundant. The high abundance of small Yellow Perch should provide a good prey resource for Northern Pike.

YELLOW PERCH Yellow Perch catch rates have been highly variable in Lake Shaokotan, ranging from 0.0 per gill net in 1992 to 147.7 per gill net in 2000, and averaging 38.9 per gill net since 1967. In 2014, Yellow Perch were captured at a rate of 43.3 per gill net, up from 15.7 per gill net in 2013, and much higher than similar lakes. Yellow Perch populations tend to be highly sporadic, where a strong year class is produced every 3 to 5 years, with that year class accounting for the majority of the population. Size structure of Yellow Perch in 2014 decreased dramatically from 2013, as average length decreased from 8.9 inches in 2013 to 6.8 inches in 2014. Quality sized perch should be available for anglers in one to two years, given that they typically grow fast in this system. Forage for Yellow Perch appears to be abundant in Lake Shaokotan, as Yellow Perch were extremely plump.

BLACK BULLHEAD Black Bullhead catch rates have been highly variable in Lake Shaokotan, varying from 0.7 per trap net in 2009 to 606.7 per trap net in 1983. From 2008 to 2011, Black Bullhead catch rates were less than 1.7 per gill net and 1.0 per trap net. That trend changed in 2013 when Black Bullhead were captured at rates of 90.0 per trap net and 168.0 per gill net. Abundance of Black Bullhead decreased in 2014, as they were captured at rates of 2.0 per trap net and 64.3 per gill net, which are both within the expected ranges of catch rates for similar lakes (1.3 to 78.1 per trap net and 4.6 to 83.0 per gill net). Black Bullhead ranged in length from 4.8 to 13.8 inches and averaged 8.3 inches. Black Bullheads are an important prey species for large predators such as Walleye in southwest Minnesota. Lake Shaokotan's Black Bullhead population is providing an excellent prey resource for Walleyes in this system and should provide a good angling opportunity for bullhead fishermen.

OTHER SPECIES Lake Shaokotan continued to be without Common Carp, as no Common Carp were sampled in 2014. One 4.1 inch Bluegill was sampled, which is consistent with historic catch rates. One White Sucker and six Green Sunfish were sampled.

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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