|Nearest Town: Worthington
Primary County: Nobles
Survey Date: 08/23/2010
Inventory Number: 53002800
|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)
|Black Bullhead||Trap net||0.58||1.3 - 78.1||1.05||0.2 - 0.6|
|Gill net||0.67||4.6 - 83.0||0.48||0.2 - 0.6|
|Black Crappie||Trap net||8.83||1.0 - 12.3||0.38||0.2 - 0.5|
|Gill net||5.00||0.8 - 11.1||0.43||0.2 - 0.4|
|Bluegill||Trap net||6.33||1.0 - 14.9||0.35||0.2 - 0.4|
|Channel Catfish||Trap net||0.67||N/A||2.27||N/A|
|Common Carp||Trap net||3.25||0.7 - 5.1||6.89||2.3 - 5.6|
|Gill net||0.33||0.5 - 9.1||9.37||1.0 - 4.9|
|Freshwater Drum||Trap net||0.08||0.4 - 4.0||0.06||0.5 - 1.7|
|Golden Shiner||Trap net||5.42||0.2 - 1.0||0.10||0.1 - 0.1|
|Gill net||1.00||0.1 - 0.7||0.15||0.1 - 0.2|
|Hybrid Sunfish||Trap net||2.08||N/A||0.28||N/A|
|Largemouth Bass||Trap net||0.17||0.1 - 0.8||0.05||0.4 - 1.5|
|Northern Pike||Gill net||0.33||1.2 - 7.8||2.92||1.5 - 3.0|
|Pumpkinseed||Trap net||0.75||0.4 - 4.5||0.37||0.1 - 0.3|
|Walleye||Trap net||3.42||0.3 - 1.7||0.75||0.9 - 2.4|
|Gill net||14.67||3.2 - 15.3||0.58||0.9 - 1.9|
|White Crappie||Trap net||0.25||0.5 - 15.9||0.19||0.2 - 0.5|
|Gill net||0.33||0.8 - 11.0||0.48||0.2 - 0.4|
|White Sucker||Trap net||2.42||0.3 - 1.3||2.82||1.3 - 2.6|
|Gill net||1.67||0.8 - 5.9||2.42||1.4 - 2.2|
|Yellow Perch||Trap net||1.08||0.3 - 2.6||0.22||0.1 - 0.3|
|Gill net||24.67||3.0 - 22.5||0.35||0.1 - 0.4|
|Species||Number of fish caught in each category (inches)|
|For the record, the largest Shorthead Redhorse taken in Minnesota weighed 7 lbs., 15 oz. and was caught: |
Statistics: 27" length, 15" 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|
Nobles Co., 53002800
|Channel Catfish||All sizes||Mercury|
|White Sucker||All sizes||Mercury|
|Unrestricted||1 meal/week||1 meal/month||Do not eat|
Nobles Co., 53002800
|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.
Okabena Lake, in Nobles County, is a 751-acre lake located entirely within the city limits of Worthington. Okabena receives over 14,000 acres of drainage from agricultural row cropping and has a watershed-to-lake ratio of 19 to 1. Due mostly to historical dredging, Okabena has a maximum depth of about 14 feet and 6.5 miles of shoreline that is nearly all developed. Much of the shoreline that is not in private ownership is owned by the City of Worthington, which allows public access for fishing. The Southwest Minnesota Fishing Club, over the years, has used rip-rap projects on private property as a club fund raiser to stabilize the shoreline in the windswept basin. As a result, most of the shoreline has been rip-rapped. Each year the United State National Wind Surfing competition takes place on Okabena Lake. In recent years, the issue of a good shoreline devoid of rip-rap for those using the lake for wind surfing has become an issue of discussion between the city and the Division of Waters. As this event grows in popularity, good access of shoreline may surface again. Walleye and channel catfish are the primary species of management along with bluegill, yellow perch, crappie (white and black) as secondary fisheries. Because of its importance as an angling and recreational destination in southwest Minnesota, we monitor the fish community in Okabena every other year. A population assessment was conducted on Okabena during the week of August 23, 2010 using 3 gill nets and 12 trap nets.
The walleye catch rate in gill nets was 14.7 fish/net, which was near the upper quartile of 15.3 fish/set. Historically, the catch rates have ranged from 4.3 to 36.5 fish/net. Total lengths of walleye in gill nets ranged from 10 to 18 inches with a mean length of 12 inches. Larger walleye may have been missed in the sample due to high catch rates of channel catfish in the gill nets which could have reduced the effectiveness of the net to catch large walleye. Even so, the population of walleye appears to be dominated by fish smaller than 15 inches. Otolith aging revealed that 4 year classes (2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006) were present in the net catches during this survey and all but one (2008) were the result of walleye fry stocking. Sporadic natural reproduction may occur but not enough to support the population. Walleye reached 10 inches by age 2 and 12 inches by age 3. The overall condition of each fish was fair indicating a population of walleye that is experiencing some stress which is typical of a population of smaller individuals. Growth and condition should increase as the population ages and stabilizes in the next several years leading to good number of fish greater than 15 inches.
The channel catfish catch rate in the gill nets in 2010 was an impressive 43.0 fish/net. During the past 3 surveys the catch rate (fish/net) has increased from 8.7 in 2006 to 30.7 in 2008 and now finally to 43.0. The last time channel catfish were stocked in Okabena Lake was in 2004 when 18,700 fingerlings were stocked. All but one channel catfish (from 2002 stocking) appear to be from the 2004 stocking and range from 12 to 19 inches with a mean of 17 inches. The overall condition of the channel catfish population appears to be fair. Angling for channel catfish should be excellent in Okabena Lake during the summer of 2011.
The yellow perch catch rate in gill nets was 24.7 fish/net in 2010, which is greater than the upper quartile of 22.5 fish/net. Historically catch rates have ranged from 9.6 fish/net to 116.7 fish/net with a long term average catch rate of 57.2 fish/net. Total lengths ranged from 7 to 11 inches with a mean length of 9 inches. The yellow perch population is balanced based on the size structure of fish sampled in 2010. The overall condition of yellow perch was good, which indicates the fish have plenty of forage available. Fishing for yellow perch should be good in 2011.
The bluegill catch rate in trap nets was 6.3 fish/net, which was twice the expected mean catch rate (3.0 fish/net) and the second highest catch rate (highest was 12.7 fish/net in 2000) observed in Okabena Lake. Given the history of bluegill abundance, competition with yellow perch and the marginal habitat quality for bluegill in Okabena Lake the population level appears to be very high. Total lengths of bluegill ranged from 4 to 10 inches with a mean of 7 inches. The future outlook for bluegill looks good due to the observation of age 0 bluegill (n > 4,800) in the near shore seining. Angling for bluegill should be good in 2011. Additionally, a high catch rate of hybrid sunfish (2.1 fish/net) will add to the angling opportunity for sunfish in Okabena Lake.
The black crappie catch rate in trap nets was 8.8 fish/net, which is within the interquartile range (1.0 to 12.3 fish/net). Total lengths ranged from 3 to 11 inches with a mean of 9 inches. The black crappie population is dominated by fish in the 8 to 10 inch range. The overall condition of each fish was very good indicating that the black crappie population was in excellent condition. The outlook of the black crappie population looks good; the size structure shows an increase to bigger individuals and the condition of the fish indicates a healthy population.
Other fish sampled in the survey were black bullhead, common carp, fathead minnow, freshwater drum, golden shiner, Iowa darter, Johnny darter, largemouth bass, northern pike, orangespotted sunfish, pumpkinseed, spottail shiner, tadpole madtom, and white sucker. All abundances of these fishes were as expected or lower than expected, with exception of golden shiner, in relation to the interquartile ranges for each species. The high catch rate of golden shiner, 5.4 fish /trap net, is their highest abundance observed since sampling has begun.
Efforts to improve the health of the lake should focus on best management practices within the watershed. Improvements and education in land stewardship will often have secondary benefits to the lake in the way of quality and quantity of habitat. Generally, improvements in the quality and quantity of lake habitat will mean direct improvements of the fishery.
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