Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Buffalo

Nearest Town: Dovray
Primary County: Murray
Survey Date: 06/29/2009
Inventory Number: 51001800

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 126.9
Littoral Area (acres): 124
Maximum Depth (ft): 8.5
Water Clarity (ft): 1

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 2009 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Bullhead Trap net 1.38 11.5 - 132.6 0.27 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 18.50 30.3 - 150.6 0.29 0.2 - 0.4
Black Crappie Trap net 13.62 1.2 - 20.5 0.44 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 30.50 1.4 - 13.8 0.25 0.2 - 0.4
Common Carp Trap net 2.88 1.0 - 5.5 5.31 1.4 - 4.6
Gill net 27.50 1.0 - 13.8 3.70 0.8 - 3.7
Northern Pike Trap net 0.62 N/A 5.76 N/A
Gill net 2.50 1.1 - 8.0 4.21 1.8 - 3.4
Orangespotted Sunfish Trap net 0.38 N/A 0.04 N/A
Walleye Trap net 0.12 0.5 - 3.0 4.08 0.8 - 2.3
Gill net 0.50 2.3 - 18.1 5.18 1.0 - 2.3
White Crappie Trap net 17.62 0.3 - 6.0 0.37 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 1.00 0.5 - 8.4 0.62 0.2 - 0.3
Yellow Perch Trap net 1.62 0.3 - 3.8 0.07 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 9.50 2.7 - 25.0 0.18 0.1 - 0.3
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.

Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2009 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 47 1 0 0 0 0 0 48
black crappie 6 126 26 4 0 0 0 0 170
common carp 0 0 0 3 32 37 5 0 78
northern pike 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 5 10
orangespotted sunfish 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
walleye 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2
white crappie 0 115 10 16 0 0 0 0 143
yellow perch 11 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 32

For the record, the largest Muskellunge taken in Minnesota weighed 54 lbs. and was caught:

    Where: Lake Winnibigoshish, Itasca County
    When: 1957
    Statistics: 56" length, 27.8" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2010 Northern Pike fingerlings 1,270 5.5
2006 Northern Pike fingerlings 1,240 9.6
2004 Northern Pike fingerlings 2,320 13.5

Privately Stocked Fish
* indicates privately stocked fish. Private stocking includes fish purchased by the DNR for stocking and fish purchased and stocked by private citizens and sporting groups.

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 06/29/2009)

Buffalo is a 124-acre lake located near the town of Dovray in Murray County. The lake has a maximum depth of 8.5 feet and is a class 43 lake. Buffalo is managed for northern pike primarily, while yellow perch and crappie are managed secondarily. Oxygen levels dropped to 0.2 parts per million (ppm) by mid-January during the winter of 2009-10 so the aeration system was not started in hopes of reducing the high common carp population. Buffalo Lake was surveyed during the summer of 2009, prior to the low dissolved oxygen levels during the winter of 2009-2010. The following data may not be indicative of what the Buffalo Lake fish population is after the winter of 2009-2010. Test netting during the spring of 2010 will help us determine the extent of the winterkill.

Numbers of northern pike in Buffalo in 2009 are similar to lakes with the same physical and chemical characteristics. Lengths of northern pike sampled in gill nets ranged from 23.5 to 30.8 inches with an average length of 28.2 inches. Northern pike are typically quite tolerant of low oxygen levels in lakes. It is hopeful that some northern pike will survive the low oxygen levels during the winter of 2009-10.

Yellow perch numbers were also similar to other lakes like Buffalo. Lengths of yellow perch sampled in gill nets ranged from 6.2 to 8.0 inches with an average length of 7.2 inches. Spring test netting will determine if re-stocking yellow perch is necessary.

Crappie numbers were high compared to lakes similar to Buffalo. Both white and black crappie are present in the lake. White crappie adults were stocked in 1999 and have done very well making up the majority of crappie in the lake. Black crappie have 7-8 dorsal spines with dark splotches against a white background on their body. White crappie have 5-6 dorsal spines and black splotches that form vertical lines on their bodies. Lengths of white crappie caught in our trap nets ranged from 6.5 to 13.4 inches and averaged 8.3 inches. The status of the crappie population will also be determined with test netting during the spring of 2010.

Black bullhead numbers were quite low compared to other lakes similar to Buffalo. Numbers have decreased from a high of 347.0 fish per trap in 1998 net to 1.4 fish per trap net in 2009. It is unknown at this time why the black bullhead population has decreased in Buffalo Lake. Black bullhead population abundances have declined in many other lakes in the area as well. There has been no apparent winterkill since the aeration system was installed; however, it is possible that an outbreak of columnaris may have occurred since the last survey. Black bullhead tolerate low oxygen levels better than any other fish species and are likely to survive the low dissolved oxygen levels during the winter of 2009-10. Lengths of black bullhead sampled in trap nets ranged from 6.8 to 8.7 inches with an average length of 8.1 inches.

Carp numbers are high when compared to other lakes like Buffalo. Apparently common carp were introduced or immigrated into Buffalo after 1998. No common carp were observed until the 2003 assessment. It is hopeful that low oxygen levels during the winter of 2009-10 (0.2 ppm) will eradicate the carp population. If this occurs, it is likely the vegetation that was once present in the lake will come back and water clarity improves.

To maintain a healthy fishery in Buffalo Lake, we need to promote Best Management Practices (BMPs) within the watershed to help reduce nutrients entering the lake. High nutrients and sediments in a lake can cause algae blooms and reduce water clarity.

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
No depth map available.

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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