Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: West Leaf

Nearest Town: Ottertail
Primary County: Otter Tail
Survey Date: 07/19/2010
Inventory Number: 56011400
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete A state owned public access is located on a township road off of County Highway 108 along the northeast shoreline of the lake.


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 699.98
Littoral Area (acres): 256
Maximum Depth (ft): 55
Water Clarity (ft): 8.5

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


Did you know? Lake rehabilitation projects reclaim waters suffering from habitat degradation and overpopulation of some fish species.

Fish Sampled for the 2010 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Bullhead Gill net 0.08 0.6 - 6.8 0.80 0.5 - 1.0
Black Crappie Trap net 0.67 0.4 - 2.3 0.70 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 0.08 0.4 - 2.7 1.22 0.3 - 0.6
Bluegill Trap net 19.58 4.4 - 49.0 0.13 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 1.33 N/A 0.14 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 0.33 0.3 - 1.1 5.43 3.7 - 5.1
Gill net 0.17 0.1 - 0.4 4.77 3.1 - 4.6
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.17 0.3 - 1.6 0.97 0.7 - 1.1
Greater Redhorse Gill net 0.08 N/A 2.16 N/A
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 0.50 N/A 0.33 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 2.50 0.3 - 1.3 0.17 0.2 - 0.8
Gill net 3.08 0.3 - 1.4 1.15 0.5 - 1.2
Northern Pike Trap net 0.92 N/A 1.20 N/A
Gill net 7.25 2.8 - 9.0 1.37 1.6 - 2.8
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.58 1.8 - 7.8 0.09 0.1 - 0.3
Rock Bass Trap net 0.75 0.5 - 2.5 0.28 0.3 - 0.5
Gill net 0.42 0.6 - 3.9 0.28 0.3 - 0.5
Tullibee (cisco) Gill net 1.42 0.8 - 6.2 0.93 0.6 - 1.4
Walleye Trap net 0.33 0.2 - 0.8 5.83 1.0 - 2.7
Gill net 4.33 3.3 - 8.8 1.52 1.2 - 2.1
White Sucker Trap net 0.25 0.2 - 1.1 3.66 1.8 - 3.0
Gill net 1.42 0.9 - 4.0 2.06 1.6 - 2.4
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 1.50 1.2 - 5.2 0.78 0.6 - 0.9
Gill net 1.92 1.2 - 10.9 0.84 0.6 - 0.9
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.17 0.6 - 3.5 0.06 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 0.17 7.0 - 46.3 0.08 0.1 - 0.2
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.


Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2010 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
black bullhead 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
black crappie 0 0 8 1 0 0 0 0 9
bluegill 183 64 0 0 0 0 0 0 251
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0 6
brown bullhead 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2
greater redhorse 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
hybrid sunfish 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
largemouth bass 18 13 18 11 6 0 0 0 67
northern pike 0 1 5 4 51 32 3 0 98
pumpkinseed 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7
rock bass 5 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 14
tullibee (cisco) 0 9 1 4 3 0 0 0 17
walleye 0 0 17 3 28 6 2 0 56
white sucker 0 1 2 1 14 2 0 0 20
yellow bullhead 1 3 23 14 0 0 0 0 41
yellow perch 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4


For the record, the largest Smallmouth Buffalo taken in Minnesota weighed 20 lbs., 0 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Big Sandy Lake, Aitkin County
    When: 9/20/03
    Statistics: 32" length, 23-3/4" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2012 Walleye yearlings 4,380 256.0
2010 Walleye fingerlings 8,319 256.0
2008 Walleye fingerlings 5,408 256.0
2006 Walleye fingerlings 3,975 254.0
  Walleye yearlings 12 6.0
2004 Walleye adults 235 221.0
  Walleye fingerlings 8,448 163.0

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

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
WEST LEAF
Otter Tail Co., 56011400
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
White Sucker All sizes        

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
WEST LEAF
Otter Tail Co., 56011400
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
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.

Dioxin
Mercury
PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate


Status of the Fishery (as of 07/19/2010)

West Leaf Lake is a 684-acre mesotrophic (moderately fertile) lake located in east central Otter Tail County approximately two miles east of Ottertail, MN. West Leaf Lake is connected to Middle Leaf Lake via an unnavigable culvert along the east shoreline. The immediate watershed is composed primarily of agricultural land interspersed with hardwood woodlots and marshland. West Leaf Lake has a maximum depth of 55 feet; however, 37% of the lake is less than 15 feet in depth. The secchi disk reading during the 2010 lake survey was 8.5 feet. Previous secchi disk readings have ranged from 5.6 to 9.9 feet. Development is located around the entire shoreline of West Leaf Lake. The 1994 lake resurvey report referenced 129 homes and cabins along the shoreline. One resort is located along the northeast shoreline. A state owned concrete public access is located on a township road along the northeast shoreline off of County Highway 108. Shoal water substrates consist primarily of sand and gravel. There are extensive areas of emergent aquatic plants (harstem bulrush, wild rice, and common cattail) present in the lake. Emergent aquatic plants such as bulrush and cattail provide valuable fish and wildlife habitat, and are critical for maintaining good water quality. They protect shorelines and lake bottoms, and can actually absorb and break down polluting chemicals. Emergent plants provide spawning areas for fish such as northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. They also serve as important nursery areas for all species of fish. Because of their ecological value, emergent plants may not be removed without a DNR permit. To maintain the excellent water quality and angling that this lake has to offer, it is imperative to preserve the quality of the aquatic habitat. West Leaf Lake can be ecologically classified as a bass panfish-walleye type of lake and this is reflected in the assemblage of the fish community. Walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, and bluegill are the dominant game fish species in the fish community. The prolificacy of these species can be attributed to the abundance of suitable spawning habitat that is available. Walleye abundance has historically fluctuated. In this survey, the test-net catch rate was within the expected range for this type of lake. Walleyes ranged in length from 9.2 to 23.0 inches with an average length and weight of 15.7 inches and 1.5 pounds. Walleyes attain an average length of 16.4 inches at four years of age. Historically, the northern pike population has remained abundant. Age data from recent surveys indicate that northern pike exhibit consistently good reproduction. Pike ranged in length from 9.2 to 26.4 inches with an average length and weight of 18.5 inches and 1.4 pounds. Pike growth rates are slow with an average length of 22.1 inches at six years of age. The slow growth may correspond with a low abundance of yellow perch, a preferred forage fish. Test-net catch data indicate that largemouth bass are abundant. Age data indicate that largemouth bass reproduction is consistently good. Bass ranged in length from 4.2 to 15.6 inches. Largemouth bass attain an average length of 11.8 inches at four years of age. Historically, the bluegill population has exhibited large fluctuations in abundance. The test-net catch rate for this survey was within the expected range. Fifteen percent of the bluegills were 7.0 inches or greater in length. Bluegills attain an average length of 7.3 inches at eight years of age. Anglers can maintain or improve the quality of angling by practicing selective harvest. Selective harvest encourages the release of medium to large size fish while allowing the harvest of more abundant smaller fish for table fare. Releasing the medium to large fish will ensure that the lake will have enough spawning age fish on an annual basis and will provide anglers with more opportunities to catch large fish in the future.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
1509 1st Ave N
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Phone: (218) 739-7576
Internet: Fergus Falls Fisheries
E-Mail: FergusFalls.Fisheries@state.mn.us

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 C0479 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
Internet: www.dnr.state.mn.us
E-Mail: info.dnr@state.mn.us

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