|Nearest Town: Sturgeon Lake
Primary County: Pine
Survey Date: 04/11/2011
Inventory Number: 58006700
|Special and/or Experimental Fishing Regulations exist on this lake. Please refer to our online Minnesota Fishing Regulations.|
|Did you know? The state operates 17 hatcheries: 5 for trout and salmon and 12 for coolwater species.|
|Species||Number of fish per net||
Average Fish Weight (lbs)
Normal Range (lbs)
|Black Bullhead||Gill net||1.92||0.6 - 6.8||0.84||0.5 - 1.0|
|Black Crappie||Trap net||1.92||0.4 - 2.3||0.30||0.3 - 0.6|
|Gill net||4.67||0.4 - 2.7||0.39||0.3 - 0.6|
|Bluegill||Trap net||7.25||4.4 - 49.0||0.14||0.1 - 0.2|
|Brown Bullhead||Trap net||0.25||0.3 - 1.6||1.32||0.7 - 1.1|
|Gill net||1.58||0.3 - 1.8||0.70||0.7 - 1.2|
|Green Sunfish||Gill net||0.92||0.1 - 0.4||0.43||N/A|
|Hybrid Sunfish||Trap net||0.08||N/A||0.18||N/A|
|Largemouth Bass||Gill net||3.33||0.3 - 1.4||1.27||0.5 - 1.2|
|Northern Pike||Trap net||1.67||N/A||1.21||N/A|
|Gill net||11.00||2.8 - 9.0||1.43||1.6 - 2.8|
|Pumpkinseed||Trap net||0.58||1.8 - 7.8||0.12||0.1 - 0.3|
|Rock Bass||Gill net||3.25||0.6 - 3.9||0.53||0.3 - 0.5|
|Walleye||Trap net||0.08||0.2 - 0.8||5.95||1.0 - 2.7|
|Gill net||3.75||3.3 - 8.8||1.81||1.2 - 2.1|
|Yellow Bullhead||Trap net||0.58||1.2 - 5.2||0.51||0.6 - 0.9|
|Gill net||8.58||1.2 - 10.9||0.58||0.6 - 0.9|
|Yellow Perch||Gill net||1.17||7.0 - 46.3||0.17||0.1 - 0.2|
|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.|
Sturgeon Lake is a 1,405 acre mesotrophic lake in northern Pine County. Four hundred ninety five acres of Sturgeon Lake are considered littoral. Average depth is 22 feet and maximum depth is 40 feet. Shoreline length is estimated at 9.6 miles and maximum fetch as 1.1 miles. Water clarity is good with visibility at 9-10 feet. Sturgeon Lake is assigned to lake class 27.
Long-range management goals for Sturgeon Lake include maintaining the walleye gillnet catch at 5.0 per lift with a 2.0 pound average and to increase the yellow perch catch to 10 per net. The management plan designated a stocking quota of walleye fingerlings stocked at a rate of 1 pound per littoral acre or 495 pounds every other year beginning in 1993. A 20 inch maximum limit for northern pike was implemented on the lake in 1997 with the intent of increasing the abundance of northern pike over 20 inches while reducing the abundance of northern pike under 20 inches. This regulation was changed to a 24 to 36 inch protected slot in 2008. The goal of the new regulation is to allow anglers to harvest slightly larger fish but still protect the fish 24 inches and larger. In order for the regulation to be effective, anglers must be willing to harvest smaller northern pike.
In 2011 northern pike were sampled by both spring ice-out trap netting and traditional summer gill net sampling. The trap net catch was 1,540 northern pike that ranged in length from 10.7 to 38.1 inches with an average length of 18.5 inches, slightly higher than the 17.2 inches in 2010. The gill net catch was 132 northern pike that ranged in length from 9.1 to 39.1 inches with an average length of 17.9 inches. The 2011 gill net catch rate for northern pike was 11.0/set, a marked increase from 2006 (3.5/set). In both samples northern pike 20 inches and larger made up about 24% of the catch, while fish 24.0 inches and larger made up about 8% of the catch. Ages of northern pike sampled ranged from 1-14 years with 77 percent of the fish in the age 3-5 groups (2006-2008 year classes). Age 3 northern pike averaged 15.0 inches; age 4, 17.6 inches; and age 5, 19.9 inches. These strong year classes and should provide good opportunities for anglers to harvest northern pike in the next few years. However, large numbers of small northern pike can have a negative effect on prey availability for other game fish such as walleye. Harvest of small northern pike, particularly under 20 inches, is encouraged within legal limits.
The walleye gillnet catch of 3.8 per set was within the normal range for the lake class, and was higher than in the previous two surveys (1.3/set in 2006, 3.0/set in 2001). This was still short of the long range management goal of 5.0 per set. Walleye averaged 1.8 pounds, which is near the management goal and falls within the lake class norm. Sampled walleye ranged from 9.7 to 27.3 inches with a 16.8 inch mean. Average length decreased from 21.2 inches in 2006 and 18.9 inches in 2001. Age and growth analysis from walleye otoliths indicated nine year classes from 1993-2009. All but one year class (2008) corresponded to years where stocking of fingerlings or yearlings occurred; no age classes were present from when only fry were stocked.
Fourteen yellow perch were sampled in the 2011 population assessment, as compared to only one in the 2006 survey and 86 in the 2001 survey. The yellow perch population has shown an overall decline in abundance since 1979. The catch of 1.2 per set in 2011 is well below the quartile range for this lake class. The high proportion of small northern pike in the population results in heavy predation on yellow perch. A more balanced northern pike population could have a positive effect on perch numbers.
Seventy-nine black crappie were sampled during the 2011 population assessment (56 in gillnets and 23 in trap nets). The black crappie gillnet catch rate increased to 4.7 per net as compared to 2.3 per net in 2006 and was above the upper quartile for this lake class in 2011. The mean weight of 0.4 pounds in 2011 falls within the lake class norm and is higher than the 0.3 pounds per fish in the 2006 survey. Sampled crappies ranged from 5.2 to 12.2 inches with a mean of 8.8 inches in 2011 as compared to 4.3 to 10.1 inches with a 7.6 inch mean in 2006. Age and growth analysis from black crappie otoliths indicated eight year classes from 2001-2008. Black crappie were sampled from ages three through ten.
Bluegill numbers decreased substantially since 2006 based on the trap net catch, but the size structure increased. The trap net catch was 7.3 per net as compared to 28.3 per net in 2006. The rate does however fall within the normal range for the lake class. Sampled bluegills ranged from 3.5 to 8.0 inches with a 5.6 inch mean as compared to 3.2 to 8.0 inches with a 4.6 inch mean in 2006. Eighty-seven bluegills were captured in the 2011 survey and 62 percent were below 6.0 inches as compared to 339 bluegills with 81 percent below 6.0 inches in 2006.
Adult largemouth bass were sampled at night with electrofishing equipment. Electrofishing sampled 87 bass for a catch rate of 79.0 per hour, almost identical to the 78.8 per hour in 2006. The 2011 catch rate of 79.0 per hour is down slightly from 90.5 per hour in 2001, but still well above other lakes in this class. Average size and weight was 12.8 inches and 1.2 pounds respectively. Although the population was obviously high, bass were still good sized, with fish sampled up to 19.5 inches. Age and growth analysis from largemouth bass otoliths indicated ten year classes from 2000-2010. Largemouth bass were sampled from ages one through five and seven through eleven. The overall outlook for largemouth bass in Sturgeon Lake is good and will provide a great fishery for bass anglers.
Other fish sampled in the 2011 Sturgeon Lake survey included black bullhead, brown bullhead, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, green sunfish, and yellow bullhead.
|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