|Nearest Town: Currie
Primary County: Murray
Survey Date: 08/06/2012
Inventory Number: 51004600
|DNR||Carry-In||CARRY IN ACCESS ON INLET (NORTHWEST SIDE OF LAKE)|
|Did you know? The annual budget for the Section of Fisheries is approximately $17 million, which is funded primarily by fishing license and stamp fees and by a federal excise tax on fishing and boating equipment.|
|Species||Number of fish per net||
Average Fish Weight (lbs)
Normal Range (lbs)
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Species||Number of fish caught in each category (inches)|
|For the record, the largest Bigmouth Buffalo taken in Minnesota weighed 41 lbs., 11 oz. and was caught: |
Statistics: 38.5" length, 29.5" 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.|
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
|Unrestricted||1 meal/week||1 meal/month||Do not eat|
Murray Co., 51004600
|Channel Catfish||All sizes|
|White Sucker||All sizes|
|Unrestricted||1 meal/week||1 meal/month||Do not eat|
Murray Co., 51004600
|Channel Catfish||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.
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:||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