Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Shetek

Nearest Town: Currie
Primary County: Murray
Survey Date: 08/06/2012
Inventory Number: 51004600
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Concrete
DNR Concrete
County Gravel
DNR Concrete

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 3462.22
Littoral Area (acres): 3462.22
Maximum Depth (ft): 10
Water Clarity (ft): 1.1 (.7-1.5)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 2.7 (0-5.2)

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.

Fish Sampled for the 2012 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Bigmouth Buffalo Trap net 0.88 0.2 - 1.5 4.50 1.3 - 5.1
Gill net 6.25 0.3 - 6.1 3.78 N/A
Black Bullhead Trap net 0.25 1.3 - 78.1 0.67 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 16.25 4.6 - 83.0 0.35 0.2 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 7.81 1.0 - 12.3 0.25 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 9.88 0.8 - 11.1 0.19 0.2 - 0.4
Bluegill Trap net 0.19 1.0 - 14.9 0.35 0.2 - 0.4
Brown Bullhead Gill net 1.25 0.6 - 7.7 0.72 0.4 - 1.1
Channel Catfish Trap net 0.19 N/A 2.11 N/A
Gill net 4.75 N/A 1.63 N/A
Common Carp Trap net 1.69 0.7 - 5.1 5.53 2.3 - 5.6
Gill net 0.88 0.5 - 9.1 5.83 1.0 - 4.9
Northern Pike Trap net 0.62 N/A 3.34 N/A
Gill net 0.38 1.2 - 7.8 1.89 1.5 - 3.0
Quillback Trap net 0.56 N/A 2.63 N/A
Gill net 0.12 N/A 2.65 N/A
Walleye Trap net 2.81 0.3 - 1.7 1.23 0.9 - 2.4
Gill net 5.12 3.2 - 15.3 1.15 0.9 - 1.9
White Crappie Trap net 1.12 0.5 - 15.9 0.18 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 0.38 0.8 - 11.0 0.24 0.2 - 0.4
White Sucker Trap net 0.44 0.3 - 1.3 1.27 1.3 - 2.6
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.25 0.5 - 4.1 0.70 0.4 - 0.8
Yellow Perch Trap net 1.12 0.3 - 2.6 0.33 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 8.88 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 2012 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 1 1 1 0 42 17 2 0 64
black bullhead 1 82 50 1 0 0 0 0 134
black crappie 99 74 26 1 0 0 0 0 204
bluegill 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
brown bullhead 0 1 5 4 0 0 0 0 10
channel catfish 1 12 3 1 11 11 2 0 41
common carp 0 0 1 3 12 4 13 1 34
northern pike 0 0 0 0 1 8 2 2 13
quillback 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 10
walleye 0 10 22 1 45 3 0 0 86
white crappie 3 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 21
white sucker 0 0 0 4 3 0 0 0 7
yellow bullhead 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 4
yellow perch 45 29 9 0 0 0 0 0 89

For the record, the largest Channel Catfish taken in Minnesota weighed 38 lbs. and was caught:

    Where: Mississippi River, North Minneapolis
    When: 1975
    Statistics: 44" length

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2014 northern pike adults 39 78.0
  walleye fry 3,653,024 29.7
2013 Walleye fry 3,597,929 35.0
2012 Northern Pike adults 24 72.7
2011 Walleye fry 3,599,162 34.0
2010 Northern Pike fingerlings 2,824 12.3
  Walleye fry 3,396,246 29.8
2008 Northern Pike fingerlings 18,278 109.6
  Walleye fry 3,393,219 30.0
2007 Northern Pike fingerlings 1,884 31.4
  Northern Pike adults 14 35.0
  Walleye fry 3,397,650 30.7
2006 Northern Pike fingerlings 17,841 161.1
2005 Walleye fry 3,420,821 32.3

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
Murray Co., 51004600
Buffalo All sizes        
Carp All sizes        
Channel Catfish All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
White Sucker All sizes        

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Murray Co., 51004600
Buffalo All sizes        
Carp All sizes        
Channel Catfish All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
White Sucker 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 08/06/2012)


Covering 3,596 acres, Lake Shetek is the largest lake in the Windom Fisheries Management Area that covers the southern half of Lincoln and Lyon counties as well as all of Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood, Watonwan, Rock, Nobles, Jackson, and Martin Counties. Lake Shetek has a shoreline length of nearly 32 miles, a maximum depth of 10 feet with a sand and gravel bottom without many submerged aquatic plants. The immediate shoreline is covered primarily by woodland areas, and the majority of the surrounding watershed is in cropland. Lake Shetek State Park is located on the eastern shoreline with public camping, walking trails, and public water access including canoe rental (park pass required for entry or daily entry fee applies). Lake Shetek is managed for walleye, black crappie, yellow perch, and northern pike. A netting survey was conducted in August, 2012 to assess the fish population.


Gill nets are the best indicator of walleye abundance and size structure in a lake. The walleye catch rate in 2012 was just over 5 fish per gill net which is considered normal for Lake Shetek. Walleye caught in the nets ranged in length from 8 to 22 inches with an average length of 14 inches. The size structure of the walleye caught in the nets indicated that 79% of the walleye in the lake are larger than 15 inches. A large proportion of bigger walleye is good for anglers, but more small walleye are needed to sustain the population. Some natural reproduction does occur in Lake Shetek, but the majority of the walleye are stocked. Walleye fry are stocked into Lake Shetek 2 out of every 3 years with 3.6 million fry at each stocking. This stocking rotation was started in 2010 with walleye fry stocked in 2010 and 2011 while 2012 was the first blank year in the stocking. Blank years in the stocking rotation help the health of the overall walleye population in a lake. As more fish are stocked into a lake there become more mouths to feed which can lead to too much competition for minnows and other small prey items leading to a stunted and malnourished walleye population. Additionally, less walleye feeding on minnows and small prey leads to more abundant minnow and prey fish populations for the next year when walleye are stocked again. This relationship between blank years and prey abundance is observed in lakes that are not stocked and natural reproduction is sufficient to sustain the population. There are years of good natural reproduction followed by one or sometimes several years of poor or no successful natural reproduction and these cycles create naturally healthy walleye populations. When following a natural cycle like this in stocking, the walleye populations tend to be healthier and healthier fish feed more, which corresponds to more action at the end of an anglers' line! Fishing for walleye in Lake Shetek has been good and indications from the 2012 survey suggest that fishing will remain good for Lake Shetek over the next 2 to 3 years as the fish in the lake grow and as additional walleye fry are stocked in 2013 and 2014.


Yellow perch abundance has varied widely from nearly 0 per gill net in in 1980s to above 50 per gill net in the 1990s with stocking occurring in the 1980s to boost the population. Currently, the yellow perch gill net catch rate was just below 9 fish per net which was considered normal for a lake like Lake Shetek but still below the long-term average of 14 fish per gill net. The yellow perch caught in the nets ranged from 5 to 11 inches with an average length of 7 inches. Fish in the sample appeared healthy indicating good growth with no stress due to foraging. The yellow perch size structure appears to be improving and the population should contain good numbers of both small and large fish over the next 2 to 3 years. Continued monitoring of the yellow perch abundance will occur to make sure the population expands and the size structure improves. Stocking with adult yellow perch will occur again if the population falls below 3 fish per gill net for 2 consecutive surveys. A healthy yellow perch population with many small and large fish is crucial to the walleye and northern pike populations as well as the anglers' who enjoy fishing for them. Currently, the yellow perch population is doing better than it has been over the past 5 years and fishing should reflect that for the next several years with more perch caught by anglers.


Two species of crappie call Lake Shetek home, white crappie and black crappie. In 2012, 220 crappies were collected in the nets. White crappie were less abundant than black crappie which is common for Lake Shetek with only 21 white crappie caught compared to 199 black crappie. The white crappie catch rates were less than 1 fish per gill net and just above 1 fish per trap net. The gill net catch rate was below normal while the trap net catch rate was within the normal range. White crappie sampled ranged in length from 4 to 8 inches with a mean length of 6.5 inches. While white crappie are not a large part of the fish community, the black crappie population has increased steadily since 2006. The current gill net catch rate is just under 10 fish per net which is near the upper normal range as is the trap net catch rate of nearly 8 fish per net. The average length of black crappie in the sample was 7 inches with fish ranging in length from 5 to 12 inches. The population of white and black crappie have a good range of sizes with both mature and immature fish present. Likewise, both white and black crappie in the sample were in excellent health indicating low or no stress due to foraging for food. Overall, it appears that the healthy crappie population in Lake Shetek is on the rise with many plump fish in the 6 to 8 inch range and angling for crappie should improve as the population remains at a higher abundance over the next several years.


Northern Pike are maintained by stocking in Lake Shetek. Natural reproduction was common in the lake less than 40 years ago, but today many of the spawning runs are now fragmented or disconnected. Recent stocking of pre-spawn male and female northern pike into connected ponds that have favorable spawning conditions has helped to jump start the northern pike population. Some northern pike in Lake Shetek are now observed returning to historical spawning runs and some natural reproduction may again be occurring. The northern pike catch trap net catch rate in 2012 was just above 0.5 fish per trap net which is near the long-term trap net catch rate of just under 1 fish per trap net and the gill net catch rate in 2012 was just below 0.5 fish per gill net which is above the long-term catch rate of 0.2 fish per gill net. Northern pike caught in the sample ranged in length from 19 to 32 inches with a mean length of 22 inches in the gill nets and 25 inches in the trap nets. The size of fish in the sample indicates that nearly 25% of the northern pike in the lake are larger than 28 inches. Additionally, the health of the northern pike in the sample was fair indicating a population that is finding a way to survive and may be helped with additional prey and improved habitat. Overall, the northern pike population appears to be doing better than it has in the past and the pike abundance appears to be increasing and should continue to increase with additional stocking and reconnection of historical spawning runs that contain critical habitat. Anglers looking to target northern pike in southwestern Minnesota may find Lake Shetek as an unexpected gem in the near future if conditions continue to improve.


Other species sampled in Lake Shetek in 2012 using gill nets, trap nets, back-pack electrofishing, and small mesh seines included bigmouth buffalo, black bullhead, bluegill, bluntnose minnow, brown bullhead, common carp, common shiner, channel catfish, fathead minnow, johnny darter, mimic shiner, orangespotted sunfish, quillback sucker, spotfin shiner, tadpole madtom, white sucker, and yellow bullhead. Including the managed species such as walleye, yellow perch, crappie, and northern pike there were a total of 22 species sampled in Lake Shetek in 2012. Twenty-two species in 1 lake is rare even in more pristine northern Minnesota Lakes. With such a high diversity of fish, Lake Shetek is a one-of-a-kind lake in southwestern Minnesota.


Lake Shetek appears to contain a balanced fish community with a good number of predators and prey species to maintain itself with the current management plan. Any changes in the management of Lake Shetek should focus on increased connectivity of historical spawning runs for northern pike. Northern pike appear poised to make a comeback in Lake Shetek and any improvements in the watershed would help to improve conditions for the fish. Better land use practices within the watershed should also be considered to increase the water quality and clarity within the lake for improved habitat benefits. Southwestern Minnesota anglers will be satisfied with their angling experience in Lake Shetek over the next several years (barring any summer or winter fish kills) as good numbers of managed game species are present in the lake.

Prepared by Nate Hodgins

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 B0292 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

Tip Logo    Turn in Poachers (TIP):

    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093