|Nearest Town: Fulda
Primary County: Murray
Survey Date: 06/13/2011
Inventory Number: 51002100
|Did you know? Much of Minnesota's fisheries program is reimbursed by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program (federal excise tax), administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.|
|Species||Number of fish per net||
Average Fish Weight (lbs)
Normal Range (lbs)
|Black Bullhead||Trap net||0.11||11.5 - 132.6||0.44||0.2 - 0.4|
|Black Crappie||Trap net||0.22||1.2 - 20.5||0.70||0.2 - 0.5|
|Bluegill||Trap net||21.78||1.2 - 20.0||0.35||0.1 - 0.4|
|Common Carp||Trap net||1.00||1.0 - 5.5||1.23||1.4 - 4.6|
|Gill net||7.00||1.0 - 13.8||0.54||0.8 - 3.7|
|Green Sunfish||Trap net||0.11||0.2 - 1.9||0.18||0.1 - 0.2|
|Hybrid Sunfish||Trap net||0.67||N/A||0.16||N/A|
|Largemouth Bass||Gill net||1.00||0.2 - 1.5||0.90||0.6 - 1.4|
|Pumpkinseed||Trap net||0.22||0.3 - 4.9||0.17||0.1 - 0.2|
|Walleye||Trap net||3.67||0.5 - 3.0||0.44||0.8 - 2.3|
|Gill net||18.00||2.3 - 18.1||0.40||1.0 - 2.3|
|Yellow Perch||Trap net||0.22||0.3 - 3.8||0.44||0.1 - 0.3|
|Gill net||42.00||2.7 - 25.0||0.29||0.1 - 0.3|
|Species||Number of fish caught in each category (inches)|
|For the record, the largest Hybrid Sunfish taken in Minnesota weighed 1 lb., 12 oz. and was caught: |
Statistics: 11.5" length, 12" girth
Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years
|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.|
First and Second Fulda Lakes, 179 and 60 acres respectively, are located in Murray county within the city of Fulda. A substantial connection exists between the two lakes and from a fisheries standpoint they can be viewed as one Lake. The watershed-to-lake ratio is 17 and indicates a fairly large connection between the watershed and the lake. Historically the Fulda Lakes have been managed for walleye, yellow perch, black crappie, and channel catfish. Due to poor water quality and high levels of non-managed species (black bullhead and common carp) along with several years of winterkills, the community along with the MN DNR partnered to reclaim the lake with a water level draw-down and rotenone treatment in 2007 and 2008. The following year, the lake was restocked with bluegill, largemouth bass, and walleye. In 2010, the lake was stocked with black crappie, northern pike, and yellow perch. The lake is currently managed primarily for walleye and secondarily for largemouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, black crappie, and northern pike to provide for a diverse fish community. Following lake reclamation and restocking, vast amounts of snow coupled with large scale rain events in the fall, winter, and spring of 2010 and 2011 led to failure of an electric barrier downstream of the dam. A lack of drop over the dam due to high water and failure of the barrier allowed black bullhead and common carp an opportunity to reenter the lake, and for some managed species to be flushed out of the lake. A vegetation survey, fish population assessment (gill nets, trap nets, and electrofishing for largemouth bass), and nearshore fish community sampling (IBI sampling) took place during the spring and summer of 2011 to assess the habitat quality and fish community.
The vegetation survey conducted in August 2011 revealed 8 species of aquatic plants growing to a maximum depth of 6 feet and floating filamentous algae mats. The terrestrial species were jewelweed, reed canary grass, and swamp milkweed; the emergent species was cattail and the submergent species found were coontail (common hornwort), flat-stem pondweed, northern milfoil, and sago pondweed. Overall, the aquatic plant community appears to be robust and establishing very good habitat for largemouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, and walleye.
The management plan for Fulda Lake calls for maintenance of a walleye population at or above 12.0 fish per net with a balanced size structure. The 2011 catch rate was 18.0 fish per net exceeding the management plan and was also within the normal range (2.3 to 18.1 fish per net) for Fulda Lake. The trap net catch rate was 3.7 per net which was above the normal range of 0.5 to 3.0 fish per net. The mean length of the walleye in the gill net and trap nets was 10.8 inches and 10.6 inches respectively with a range from 6.9 to 12.2 inches. Overall, it appears that the walleye population is primed to do well in Fulda Lake, an additional stocking of fingerling walleye in 2011 will help to sustain the population at management levels. Fulda Lake should be considered as a destination for walleye fishing, many keeper size fish will be available in the next several years.
Largemouth bass were originally stocked in Fulda Lake in 2001, then after the reclamation in 2008 the lake was restocked with 50 adult largemouth bass in 2009. In June of 2011 spring electrofishing resulted in an excellent catch of 121 largemouth bass per hour of electrofishing, a good catch rate is considered to be above 20 to 30 fish per hour. The average length of largemouth bass in the sample was 8.8 inches with a range from 5.4 to 18.0 inches. Overall, as the largemouth bass population matures in Fulda Lake it appears it will maintain a balanced population characterized by a wide range of sizes as evident from the natural reproduction and good growth that is occurring within the population. An excellent opportunity exists in Fulda Lake for largemouth bass anglers.
The bluegill gill net and trap net catch rates in 2011 were 15.0 fish per gill net and 21.8 fish per trap net. The current catch rate of 21.8 fish per trap net is above the normal range of 1.2 to 20.0 fish per net. The average length of bluegill in the trap nets was 6.7 inches with fish ranging in length from 5.6 to 10.0 inches. Overall, the bluegill population is at high population abundance levels and is characterized by larger fish with excellent body condition. Fishing for bluegill should be very successful in Fulda Lake over the next 2 to 3 years.
The yellow perch gill net and trap net catch rates in 2011 were 42.0 fish per gill net and 0.2 fish per trap net. The gill net catch rate of 42.0 fish per net was greater than the normal range of 2.7 to 25.0 fish per gill net. The yellow perch in the gill net sample had an average length of 7.8 inches with fish ranging from 5.5 to 10.4 inches. Overall, it appears that the yellow perch population is at a relatively high population level with a balanced size structure and good body condition. Fishing for yellow perch is improving in Fulda Lake and the opportunity to catch good numbers of fish is becoming a reality.
In 2011, only 2 black crappie were caught in the trap nets (0.2 fish per net) and no northern pike were caught in trap nets or gill nets. Black crappie and northern pike were stocked in 2010 as adults so their population is just starting and their abundance may be low. Additionally, spring and fall flood events in 2010 may have flushed black crappie and northern pike from Fulda Lake. Northern pike adult were stocked again in the fall of 2011 to boost the population.
The common carp gill net and trap net catch rates in 2011 were 7.0 and 1.0 fish per net respectively. Both catch rates were within the normal ranges for gill nets (1.0 to 13.8 per net) and trap nets (1.0 to 5.5 fish per net). The average length of common carp in the gill nets and trap nets was 9.5 and 12.2 inches respectively and they ranged in length from 8.1 to 13.7 inches. The population is currently dominated by one age group. Common carp most likely entered Fulda Lake as pre-spawn adults breaching the dam during high water in 2010. The establishment of healthy walleye, largemouth bass and bluegill populations should keep common carp expansion in check, but over the long-term common carp may establish a self sustaining population.
Other species sampled with gill nets and trap nets were black bullhead, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, and pumpkinseed. These species were not stocked in Fulda Lake and are most likely residents as a result of the high water in 2010. As with common carp, these species may be kept in check for a while as a result of walleye, largemouth bass, and bluegill abundance but overtime they may produce natural reproducing populations in Fulda Lake.
Species sampled in the nearshore IBI sampling were bluegill, fathead minnow, hybrid sunfish, largemouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch. The fathead minnow is the only species sampled in IBI sampling that was not sampled with gill nets and trap nets. The yellow perch in the IBI sample were age 0 indicating natural reproduction.
Fulda Lake is currently characterized by a simple fish but diverse community with 12 species present. The presence of undesired species (common carp and black bullhead) indicates how connected rivers and lakes can be. The barriers at Fulda Lake (dam and electric) should not have be seen as completely effective at stopping all fish all the time, rather they are intermittent barriers that slow the expansion of undesired fish. Continued improvement of the watershed landuse practices to include best management strategies for field drainage and erosion should help to increase the water quality, in-lake habitat, and fish community as a result. If poor water quality and haphazard landuse practices are allowed to continue in the watershed, it is almost certain that Fulda Lake will return to what is was before the reclamation.
Prepared by Nate Hodgins
|For more information on this lake, contact:||Lake maps can be obtained from:|
For general DNR Information, contact:
DNR Information Center
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4040
TDD: (651) 296-6157 or (888) MINNDNR
Turn in Poachers (TIP):
Toll-free: (800) 652-9093