Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Shetek

Nearest Town: Currie
Primary County: Murray
Survey Date: 08/04/2014
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): 3462.23
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? The DNR Section of Fisheries has a full-time staff of 285. There are 4 regional and 28 area fisheries offices.

Fish Sampled for the 2014 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Bigmouth Buffalo Gill net 3.50 0.3 - 6.1 4.28 N/A
Black Bullhead Trap net 0.79 1.3 - 78.1 0.43 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 22.83 4.6 - 83.0 0.41 0.2 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 6.36 1.0 - 12.3 0.30 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 5.17 0.8 - 11.1 0.23 0.2 - 0.4
Channel Catfish Trap net 0.21 N/A 1.27 N/A
Gill net 7.33 N/A 2.49 N/A
Common Carp Trap net 1.57 0.7 - 5.1 7.25 2.3 - 5.6
Gill net 3.50 0.5 - 9.1 5.35 1.0 - 4.9
Northern Pike Trap net 0.79 N/A 2.39 N/A
Gill net 0.50 1.2 - 7.8 1.74 1.5 - 3.0
Quillback Trap net 0.29 N/A 2.65 N/A
Walleye Trap net 1.71 0.3 - 1.7 1.93 0.9 - 2.4
Gill net 5.83 3.2 - 15.3 1.27 0.9 - 1.9
White Crappie Trap net 0.50 0.5 - 15.9 0.38 0.2 - 0.5
White Sucker Gill net 0.33 0.8 - 5.9 0.95 1.4 - 2.2
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.64 0.5 - 4.1 0.56 0.4 - 0.8
Gill net 0.17 0.3 - 3.6 0.22 0.5 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.29 0.3 - 2.6 0.06 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 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
bigmouth buffalo 0 0 0 2 11 8 0 0 21
black bullhead 3 72 70 0 0 0 0 0 145
black crappie 60 22 32 1 0 0 0 0 115
channel catfish 0 2 0 22 2 17 3 0 46
common carp 0 0 4 0 2 15 21 1 43
northern pike 0 0 0 0 3 8 2 0 13
quillback 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4
walleye 0 18 3 0 25 11 0 0 57
white crappie 0 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 7
white sucker 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
yellow bullhead 0 3 7 0 0 0 0 0 10
yellow perch 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4

For the record, the largest Greater Redhorse taken in Minnesota weighed 12 lbs., 11.5 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Sauk River, Stearns County
    When: 5/20/05
    Statistics: 28.5" length, 18.5" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2015 Yellow Perch adults 1,640 260.0
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

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 08/04/2014)

INTRODUCTION Lake Shetek is a 3,596-acre lake located north of the City of Currie in Murray County. Lake Shetek is the largest lake in the Windom fisheries management area, as the shoreline length stretches 31.7 miles and depths reach a maximum of 10.0 feet. Lake Shetek's watershed to lake ratio is 23 to 1 with the immediate shoreline being covered primarily by woodland areas and the rest of the watershed being agricultural. The poor water quality in Lake Shetek (secchi depth=1.0 feet) is likely a result of agricultural runoff, which is rich in nutrients that cause algae blooms throughout the year. Because of the turbid water in Lake Shetek, aquatic vegetation is sparse. Fish habitat is mostly limited to rocky shorelines, rock reefs, sand flats, mud flats, and fallen trees along the shoreline. Winterkill has been limited in Lake Shetek since installation of the aeration systems in the mid 1970's. Lake Shetek is managed primarily for Walleye and secondarily for Black Crappie, Yellow Perch, and Northern Pike. The Walleye population is maintained through stocking fry 2 out of 3 years (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017). The Northern Pike population is maintained through stocking when Northern Pike fingerlings are available (2010, and 2012). Additionally, connected rearing ponds are stocked with pre-spawn adult Northern Pike, and then fingerlings are drained into water bodies that are connected to the lake. A population assessment was conducted during the week of August 4, 2014 to monitor Lake Shetek's fish populations.

WALLEYE Walleye catch rates have varied from 2.8 per gill net in 2007 to 43.2 per gill net in 1992, and have averaged 12.9 per gill net since surveys began in 1983. In 2014, Walleye were captured at a rate of 5.8 per gill net, a slight increase from the 2012 catch rate of 5.1 per gill net, and within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (3.2 to 15.3 per gill net). The 2014 trap net catch rate of 1.7 per trap net slightly exceeded the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (0.3 to 1.7 per trap net). The average length of Walleye captured in gill nets was 13.9 inches and in trap nets was 16.0 inches, with fish ranging from 6.7 to 23.5 inches. A population abundance model was used to estimate a theoretical 2014 population estimate for Lake Shetek based on gill net catches of Walleye. The model estimated that there are potentially 70,689 Walleyes in Lake Shetek. Ages of Walleye were estimated using otoliths. Of the 34 Walleye aged, six year classes were sampled including 2013 (age-1), 2012 (age-2), 2011 (age-3), 2009 (age-5), 2008 (age-6), and 2007 (age-7). Year classes from 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2013 correspond to years in which fry stocking occurred. Walleye fry were not stocked in 2009 or 2012 suggesting that some degree of natural reproduction occurs in Lake Shetek. Average lengths at age were estimated (8.4 inches at age-1, 12.6 inches at age-2, 15.3 inches at age-3, 16.7 inches at age-4, 18.8 inches at age-5, 19.4 inches at age-6 and 21.2 inches at age-7) and showed that growth of Walleye to age-4 was slow compared to other Walleye populations from similar lakes. Growth of Walleye beyond age-4 appeared to be slightly faster than similar lakes. Walleye were somewhat skinny, suggesting that the low abundance of prey species, particularly Yellow Perch, may be negatively impacting Walleye condition in Lake Shetek. The current stocking regime of stocking fry two out of three years along with occasional natural reproduction appears to be effective at keeping multiple year classes of Walleye in Lake Shetek. During the winter of 2014-2015, anglers have reported catching many Walleye fingerlings, which suggests that a strong year class may have been produced by the 2014 fry stocking. In addition, anglers have reported excellent fishing for larger Walleyes during the winter of 2014-2015.

NORTHERN PIKE Northern Pike abundance has steadily increased in gill nets and trap nets since 2010. In gill nets, catch rates have increased from 0.2 per gill net to 0.4 per gill net, to 0.5 per gill net in 2010, 2012, and 2014, respectively. In trap nets, catch rates have increased from 0.3 per trap net to 0.6 per trap net to 0.8 per trap net in 2010, 2012, and 2014, respectively. Despite increasing catch rates, the gill net catch rate is still below the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.2 to 7.8 per gill net). Lengths of Northern Pike ranged from 16.1 to 28.8 inches and averaged 20.5 inches in gill nets and 21.7 inches in trap nets. Poor water quality and sparse prey fish populations appear to be limiting Northern Pike size in Lake Shetek, as sampled Northern Pike were skinny. Northern Pike are maintained through stocking. Natural reproduction was common in the lake less than 40 years ago, but presently, many of the spawning runs are fragmented or disconnected. Currently, pre-spawn adult Northern Pike are stocked into connected rearing ponds and allowed to reproduce. After a period of growth, Northern Pike fingerlings are drained into connected water bodies, with the ultimate goal of reestablishing some of Lake Shetek's Northern Pike spawning runs.

YELLOW PERCH The 2014 catch rate of 0.0 per gill net is the lowest observed catch rate of Yellow Perch in Lake Shetek, and is below the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (3.0 to 22.5 per gill net). The 2014 catch rate of 0.0 is a significant decrease from the 8.9 per gill net observed in 2012. Four Yellow Perch were captured in trap nets (0.3 per trap net), which is also the lowest catch rate observed for Yellow Perch in trap nets. Catch rates of Yellow Perch have been low since 2006 with catch rates less than 2.5 per gill net in all years except 2010 (4.0 per gill net) and 2012 (8.9 per gill net). The Yellow Perch sampled in the trap nets were small, ranging from 4.6 to 5.6 inches in length. Yellow Perch and Black Bullhead are likely the main prey resource for Walleye and Northern Pike in Lake Shetek. Maintenance of the Yellow Perch population is crucial to maintaining these predator populations. If the Yellow Perch catch rate is below expected levels again during the 2016 survey, pre-spawn adult Yellow Perch may be stocked to increase the brood stock in Lake Shetek.

CRAPPIE Black Crappie catch rate have been fairly stable in Lake Shetek (2.3 per trap net in 2008 to 15.2 per trap net in 1988), with the exception of 1983 and 2002, when catch rates were 38.9 and 119.9 per trap net, respectively. In 2014, the Black Crappie catch rate was 6.4 per trap net, which is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.0 to 12.3 per trap net). Black Crappie ranged in length from 4.8 to 13.0 inches and averaged 7.3 inches. A strong year class of crappie 4.5 to 6.5 inches in length is present and represented 62 and 78 percent of Black Crappie sampled in trap nets and gill nets, respectively. Black Crappie were plump, indicating an abundant prey base for Black Crappie.

White Crappie have historically occurred in low abundance in Lake Shetek (less than 1.2 per trap net since 1988). In 2014, White Crappie were captured at a rate of 0.5 per trap net. White Crappie ranged in length from 6.7 to 13.2 inches and averaged 8.7 inches. While the two species of crappie can coexist, one of the species will usually do better than the other, and in this instance, it appears that Black Crappie have historically been more abundant than White Crappie in Lake Shetek.

BLACK BULLHEAD Black Bullhead abundance has steadily increased from 2.5 per gill net in 2009 to 5.7 per gill net in 2010 to 16.3 per gill net in 2012 to 22.8 per gill net in 2014. The 2014 catch rate of 22.8 per gill net is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (4.6 to 83.0 per gill net), and is the highest observed catch rate since 2002. Black Bullhead abundance is likely a function of Channel Catfish abundance, as Black Bullhead are the preferred prey of Channel Catfish. Black Bullhead ranged in length from 5.4 to 10.8 inches and averaged 8.6 inches. The Black Bullhead population should stay in check as long as Channel Catfish remain in the system.

CHANNEL CATFISH Channel Catfish abundance increased from 4.8 per gill net in 2012 to 7.3 per gill net in 2014, which is above the long term average of 4.6 per gill net, but below the all-time high catch rate of 11.8 in 2006. Channel Catfish ranged in length from 12.0 to 28.4 inches and averaged 17.7 inches. Channel Catfish appear to have a large impact on the prey base in Lake Shetek. Channel Catfish abundance has remained relatively high since 2006 and consequently, Yellow Perch and Black Bullhead abundance has remained relatively low.

OTHER SPECIES Bigmouth Buffalo abundance decreased from 6.3 per gill net in 2012 to 3.5 per gill net in 2014, which is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (0.3 to 6.1 per gill net). Lengths of Bigmouth Buffalo ranged from 13.9 to 24.4 inches in length and averaged 19.3 inches.

Common Carp abundance remained similar to the 2012 catch rate of 1.7 per trap net, as they were captured at a rate of 1.6 per trap net in 2014, which is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (0.7 to 5.1 per trap net). Lengths of Common Carp ranged from 18.9 to 32.1 inches and averaged 24.8 inches.

Other species sampled in low abundance include White Sucker, Yellow Bullhead, and Quillback.

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 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

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    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093