Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Big Swan

Nearest Town: Kingston
Primary County: Meeker
Survey Date: 07/29/2013
Inventory Number: 47003800
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete North shore.


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 683.85
Littoral Area (acres): 338
Maximum Depth (ft): 32
Water Clarity (ft): 2.3 (2.2-2.3)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 0.7 (0-3)


Did you know? Habitat acquisition of lands next to lakes and streams protects spawning areas and shoreline vegetation, and it increases access to fishing waters.

Fish Sampled for the 2013 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Bigmouth Buffalo Trap net 0.36 0.2 - 0.8 2.00 2.5 - 5.7
Gill net 0.56 0.3 - 1.7 3.41 N/A
Black Bullhead Trap net 0.09 0.7 - 25.7 0.37 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 0.78 2.5 - 45.0 0.50 0.3 - 0.7
Black Crappie Trap net 3.64 1.8 - 21.2 0.43 0.2 - 0.3
Gill net 6.78 2.5 - 16.5 0.31 0.1 - 0.3
Bluegill Trap net 1.45 7.5 - 62.5 0.10 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 0.22 N/A 0.11 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 3.36 0.4 - 1.3 3.31 2.3 - 4.1
Gill net 1.56 0.2 - 0.8 3.04 2.4 - 4.2
Channel Catfish Trap net 0.09 N/A 2.20 N/A
Gill net 12.00 N/A 2.97 N/A
Common Carp Trap net 1.00 0.4 - 2.0 5.28 2.6 - 6.0
Gill net 3.78 0.3 - 3.0 3.73 1.9 - 5.2
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 0.09 N/A 0.33 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.18 0.2 - 0.7 0.57 0.2 - 0.9
Gill net 0.11 0.3 - 0.8 1.93 0.4 - 1.0
Northern Pike Trap net 1.27 N/A 3.67 N/A
Gill net 9.44 1.5 - 7.3 2.50 2.0 - 3.5
Shorthead Redhorse Trap net 0.91 0.1 - 3.4 2.11 1.2 - 2.9
Gill net 1.56 0.5 - 1.8 2.16 1.1 - 2.3
Silver Redhorse Trap net 3.55 N/A 4.67 N/A
Gill net 0.22 N/A 5.04 N/A
Smallmouth Bass Trap net 0.09 0.1 - 1.1 2.67 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 0.78 0.2 - 2.3 1.58 0.9 - 1.5
Walleye Trap net 0.45 0.3 - 1.2 4.19 0.8 - 2.8
Gill net 3.78 1.2 - 6.3 1.95 1.2 - 2.7
White Crappie Gill net 0.11 0.7 - 10.4 1.37 0.2 - 0.3
White Sucker Trap net 1.09 0.2 - 1.0 2.02 1.6 - 2.8
Gill net 0.89 0.4 - 2.2 2.08 1.5 - 2.4
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 1.18 0.9 - 5.7 0.57 0.5 - 0.8
Gill net 0.33 0.5 - 7.5 0.44 0.5 - 0.8
Yellow Perch Gill net 0.33 2.0 - 27.9 0.17 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 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
bigmouth buffalo 0 0 1 1 6 1 0 0 9
black bullhead 0 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 8
black crappie 21 43 30 1 0 0 0 0 101
bluegill 12 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 24 21 4 0 51
channel catfish 0 0 0 3 49 56 1 0 109
common carp 0 0 0 0 29 10 6 0 45
hybrid sunfish 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
largemouth bass 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3
northern pike 0 0 0 0 29 44 14 4 99
shorthead redhorse 0 0 0 3 19 0 0 0 24
silver redhorse 0 0 0 0 5 35 0 0 41
smallmouth bass 0 0 1 3 4 0 0 0 8
walleye 0 0 0 15 13 7 3 0 39
white crappie 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
white sucker 0 0 0 2 16 0 0 0 20
yellow bullhead 0 2 12 2 0 0 0 0 16
yellow perch 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3


For the record, the largest Brook Trout taken in Minnesota weighed 6 lbs., 5.6 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Pigeon River, Cook County
    When: 9/2/00
    Statistics: 24" length, 14.5" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye fingerlings 31,221 695.0
2011 Walleye fingerlings 11,395 461.0
  Walleye yearlings 1,232 369.0
2009 Walleye1 fingerlings 10,048 677.0
2007 Walleye fingerlings 2,878 337.0
2005 Walleye fingerlings 6,450 258.0

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

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
BIG SWAN
Meeker Co., 47003800
Carp   All sizes     Mercury
Channel Catfish   All sizes     Mercury
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
BIG SWAN
Meeker Co., 47003800
Carp   All sizes     Mercury
Channel Catfish   All sizes     Mercury
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury

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.

Dioxin
Mercury
PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate


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

A population assessment was conducted on Big Swan Lake in 2013 to monitor the fish population. The lake is primarily managed for Black Crappie, Northern Pike, and Walleye and to a lesser extent for Channel Catfish.

A total of 34 Walleyes were sampled with gill nets for a catch rate of 3.8/net, indicating moderate to high numbers were present. The catch rate in 2007 was 1.4/net. Since 1971, catch rates have varied from 0/net to 13.7/net with an average catch rate of 3.8/net. Gill netted Walleyes were 12.1 to 26.1 inches long with an average length of 16.8 inches. A total of 5 Walleyes ranging from 13.3 to 28.1 inches long were sampled with trap nets for a catch rate of 0.5/net. Fish from both gears ranged from 2 to 16 years old with 10 year-classes present. Overall, 77% of all sampled Walleyes were aged to years in which fingerlings were stocked, with 41% from the 2011 fingerling-stocked year-class alone, though it is unknown if these were a result of stocking, natural reproduction, or a combination of the two. Growth was moderate. Although natural reproduction has been documented in Big Swan, it appears the latest stocking regime of 2 lbs of fingerlings/littoral acre has resulted in an increase in Walleye abundance. The presence of fish exceeding 25 inches offers anglers a chance at a trophy Walleye.

A total of 85 Northern Pike were sampled with gill nets for a catch rate of 9.4/net, which was the highest catch rate ever recorded at Big Swan and indicated high numbers were present. The catch rate in 2007 was 2.5/net. Since 1971, catch rates have varied from 0.5/net to 9.4/net with an average catch rate of 4.2/net. Gill netted Northern Pike were 15.9 to 31.4 inches long with an average length of 21.8 inches. A total of 14 Northern Pike ranging from 16.9 to 37.2 inches long were sampled with trap nets for a catch rate of 1.3/net. Fish from both gears ranged from 1 to 6 years old with 6 year-classes present. Age-2 and age-3 fish made up 47% and 29% of the sample, respectively. Growth was fast.

A total of 40 Black Crappies were sampled with trap nets for a catch rate of 3.6/net, which was the lowest since the 1994 sample and indicated low to moderate numbers were present. The 2007 catch rate was 4.8/net. Since 1971, catch rates have varied from 0/net to 100.2/net with an average catch rate of 19.1/net. Trap netted Black Crappie were 4.6 to 12.2 inches long with an average length of 8.9 inches. A total of 61 Black Crappies were sampled with gill nets for a catch rate of 6.8/net, indicating moderate numbers were present. Lengths ranged from 4.5 to 11.7 inches with an average of 7.5 inches. Fish from both gears ranged from 1 to 5 years old with 5 year-classes present. Age-1 and age-2 fish made up 22% and 40% of the sample, respectively. Growth was fast.

Channel Catfish were the most common fish sampled with gill nets in Big Swan Lake in 2013. A total of 108 were sampled for a catch rate of 12.0/net, which was the most ever sampled in Big Swan Lake. After being introduced and stocked in the late 1980's and early 1990's, and with connectivity to North Fork Crow River, Channel Catfish have become self-sustaining and have increased in numbers in every sample since 1997. Since 1971, catch rates have varied from 0/net to 12.0/net with an average catch rate of 3.5/net. Just one 19.3 inch Channel Catfish was sampled with trap nets for a catch rate of 0.1/net. Fish from both gears ranged from 3 to 13 years old with 11 year-classes present. Age-7 fish made up approximately 31% of the sample. The presence of 11 year-classes suggests consistent annual reproduction and low mortality. The ability of the population to consistently recruit new year-classes coupled with low mortality may be responsible for the ever increasing number of Channel Catfish in Big Swan Lake.

A total of 3 Yellow Perch ranging from 6.1 to 8.7 inches long were sampled with gill nets for a catch rate of 0.3/net, indicating low numbers were present. The catch rate in 2007 was also 0.3/net. Since 1971, catch rates have varied from 0/net to 37.5/net with an average catch rate of 8.1/net. No Yellow Perch were sampled in trap nets in 2013. The observed decline in Yellow Perch catch rates in Big Swan is consistent with area and statewide trends. The cause of the decline is not yet known but remains an important consideration to future management decisions.

A total of 16 Bluegills ranging from 2.8 to 7.3 inches long were sampled with trap nets for a catch rate of 1.5/net, indicating low numbers were present for the sixth consecutive sample since 1984. Since 1971, catch rates have varied from 0.2/net to 19.3/net with an average catch rate of 3.9/net. An additional 2 Bluegills were sampled with gill nets. Bluegill recruitment and survival are likely limited by the fluctuating water levels and sparse aquatic vegetation in Big Swan Lake.

Just 3 Largemouth Bass up to 15.6 inches long were sampled with both gears in 2013. Like the Bluegill population, the ideal habitat for Largemouth Bass in Big Swan Lake was sparse.

A total of 7 Smallmouth Bass ranging from 10.5 to 16.1 inches long were sampled with gill nets for a catch rate of 0.8/net, indicating moderate to high numbers were present. An additional fish that measured 17.1 inches long was sampled with the trap nets. The only fish aged was one 16.1 inch fish from the gill net sample that was 3 years old.

A single 13.6 inch White Crappie was sampled with gill nets in 2013 after being absent from the 2007 sample. Trap net catch rates have indicated low numbers were present in every sample since 1984. There only appears to be a very small White Crappie population existing in Big Swan Lake.

A total of 7 Black Bullheads were sampled with gill nets for a catch rate of 0.8/net, which was the lowest ever recorded in Big Swan Lake and indicated low numbers were present for the second consecutive sample since 2007. Before the 2007 sample, Black Bullhead gill net catch rates varied from 9.5/net to 109.5/net with an average catch rate of 58.4/net. Since that time, catch rates have dropped to an average of just 1.4/net in the 2007 and 2013 sample. An additional Black Bullhead was sampled with trap nets in 2013. Historically, Black Bullheads were an important forage species in Big Swan Lake and simultaneous decline of both Yellow Perch and Black Bullhead presents a challenge to predator game fish management in Big Swan Lake.

A total of 34 Common Carp were sampled with gill nets for a catch rate of 3.8/net, indicating high numbers were present. The catch rate in 2007 was 9.4/net. Since 1971, gill net catch rates have varied from 0.3/net to 57/net with an average catch rate of 13.0/net. An additional 11 Common Carp were sampled with trap nets. Common Carp continue to be a prominent member of the fish community in Big Swan Lake.

Other species sampled 2013 include Bigmouth Buffalo, Bowfin, Shorthead Redhorse, Silver Redhorse, White Sucker, Yellow Bullhead, and hybrid sunfish (Lepomis spp.)


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
20596 Hwy 7
Hutchinson, MN 55350
Phone: (320) 234-2550
Internet: Hutchinson Fisheries
E-Mail: Hutchinson.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 C0468 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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