Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Wells (Bully Wells)

Nearest Town: Faribault
Primary County: Rice
Survey Date: 08/18/2014
Inventory Number: 66001000

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete
County Other
County Other


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 677.46
Littoral Area (acres): 677.46
Maximum Depth (ft): 4
Water Clarity (ft): 1.1

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


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

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Bigmouth Buffalo Trap net 0.11 0.2 - 1.0 0.09 2.6 - 5.8
Gill net 0.44 0.8 - 7.0 0.12 N/A
Black Bullhead Trap net 0.22 11.5 - 132.6 0.94 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 3.00 30.3 - 150.6 0.95 0.2 - 0.4
Black Crappie Trap net 3.11 1.2 - 20.5 0.37 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 2.44 1.4 - 13.8 0.59 0.2 - 0.4
Bluegill Trap net 1.44 1.2 - 20.0 0.20 0.1 - 0.4
Gill net 0.33 N/A 0.41 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 1.11 0.3 - 0.9 4.41 2.7 - 3.8
Gill net 0.44 0.2 - 0.5 4.72 1.8 - 3.1
Channel Catfish Gill net 0.56 N/A 2.23 N/A
Common Carp Trap net 8.89 1.0 - 5.5 4.55 1.4 - 4.6
Gill net 12.22 1.0 - 13.8 4.44 0.8 - 3.7
Freshwater Drum Trap net 0.67 0.2 - 3.3 2.00 0.3 - 1.0
Gill net 8.67 0.5 - 8.3 0.39 0.4 - 1.7
Golden Shiner Trap net 0.11 0.2 - 1.1 0.04 0.1 - 0.1
Largemouth Bass Gill net 0.11 0.2 - 1.5 0.11 0.6 - 1.4
Northern Pike Gill net 2.33 1.1 - 8.0 2.16 1.8 - 3.4
Walleye Trap net 0.33 0.5 - 3.0 0.47 0.8 - 2.3
Gill net 23.78 2.3 - 18.1 0.57 1.0 - 2.3
White Bass Trap net 0.11 0.2 - 0.7 0.06 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 13.00 0.3 - 9.9 0.52 N/A
White Sucker Trap net 0.11 0.3 - 2.6 0.33 1.0 - 2.0
Gill net 2.67 0.8 - 6.5 1.25 0.9 - 2.0
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.78 0.5 - 2.5 1.20 0.3 - 0.7
Gill net 0.67 0.5 - 3.5 0.82 0.3 - 0.7
Yellow Perch Trap net 1.67 0.3 - 3.8 0.16 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 29.78 2.7 - 25.0 0.19 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 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
black bullhead 0 5 13 11 0 0 0 0 29
black crappie 11 14 24 0 0 0 0 0 49
bluegill 11 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 16
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 4 5 5 0 14
channel catfish 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 5
common carp 0 0 0 3 62 118 7 0 190
freshwater drum 44 1 21 6 7 1 0 0 80
golden shiner 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
largemouth bass 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 6 15 0 0 21
walleye 0 2 140 73 0 1 1 0 217
white bass 76 0 14 19 8 0 0 0 117
white sucker 0 4 10 0 9 1 0 0 24
yellow bullhead 0 0 6 7 0 0 0 0 13
yellow perch 40 223 14 0 0 0 0 0 277


For the record, the largest Flathead Catfish taken in Minnesota weighed 70 lbs. and was caught:

    Where: St. Croix River
    When: 1970

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2005 Walleye fry 635,520 6.0

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
WELLS
Rice Co., 66001000
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
White Bass     All sizes   Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
WELLS
Rice Co., 66001000
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Bass   All sizes     Mercury

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 08/18/2014)

Introduction

Wells Lake is a 634 acre lake located in Rice County west of the city of Faribault. The lake is accessible by boat from Cannon Lake. Wells Lake is a very shallow, eutrophic lake with a maximum depth of 4 feet. Based on limnological variables and lake characteristics, Wells Lake is placed in Lake Class 43. Other area lakes with this classification include Cody Lake (Rice County), Ida Lake (Blue Earth County), and Loon Lake (Waseca County). Wells Lake is managed primarily for walleye. Although no stocking takes place, walleye and other game fish regularly migrate into Wells Lake from Cannon Lake and other lakes within the Cannon River chain. Wells Lake was surveyed the week of August 10, 2014 as part of a regular monitoring program conducted by Minnesota DNR. This survey was intended to assess the fish community by deploying gill nets and trap nets, as well as recording water quality parameters.

Walleye Walleye abundance in Wells Lake increased from 2.1 fish/net in 2004 and 0.3 fish/net in 2009 to a record high 23.8 fish/net in 2014. The next highest catch rate of walleye in Wells Lake was in 1989 when 12.6 fish/net were sampled. This was the highest walleye catch observed among all area surveys conducted in 2014. Walleye lengths ranged from 8.3 to 26.1 inches and averaged 11.6 inches, indicating a very small size structure. Walleye otoliths were removed and aged. Ninety-nine percent of all walleye sampled were age-1, indicating a very strong year class from 2013. These young walleye most likely migrated into Wells Lake from Cannon Lake, which was stocked with over two million walleye fry in 2013. Wells and Cannon Lakes are directly connected by water under a bridge, so the likelihood of fish migration is high. The warm, shallow, productive waters of Wells Lake may serve as a nursery habitat for walleye and other young game fish to grow in early life stages before migrating throughout the Cannon River chain of lakes.

Yellow Perch Yellow perch catch rates in Wells Lake have varied greatly throughout the survey history, as abundance is dependent on spawning success from year to year. The yellow perch catch rate in Wells Lake increased from zero fish in the 2009 survey to 29.8 fish/net in 2014. This catch rate was above the long-term average for Wells Lake (21.8 fish/net). Yellow perch lengths ranged from 5.5 to 10.8 inches and averaged 6.9 inches, indicating a small size structure of yellow perch. Yellow perch populations throughout the Cannon River chain of lakes tend to be comprised of small sizes, however some yellow perch angling takes place.

Northern Pike Northern pike abundance in Wells Lake has been relatively low throughout the survey history. The 2014 catch rate was the highest among recent years with 2.3 fish/net, which is above the long-term average for Wells Lake (1.2 fish/net). Lengths of northern pike ranged from 16.2 to 24.4 inches and averaged 21.2 inches, indicating a small size structure. All northern pike collected in this survey were age-1 (2013 year class). This further suggests that Wells Lake serves as a nursery habitat for young fish. No northern pike stocking takes place in Wells Lake, so the population exists from either natural reproduction or migration from other lakes within the Cannon River chain.

Black Crappie The black crappie population in Wells Lake remains in moderately low abundance with a 2014 trap net catch rate of 3.1 fish/net. This is an increase from the 2009 survey when the catch rate was 1.3 fish/trap net and compares to the long-term average for Wells Lake of 4.0 fish/net. Black crappie were also collected in gill nets in 2014 at a rate of 2.4 fish/net. Lengths of all black crappie collected in this survey ranged from 3.1 to 11.5 inches, with 39% of the catch measuring 10.0 inches or larger, indicating a quality size structure.

Bluegill Bluegill abundance remains low in Wells Lake. The 2014 catch rate was 1.4 fish/net, which is below the long-term average of 2.0 fish/net. Bluegill lengths ranged from 4.3 to 9.1 inches, with 77% measuring less than 6.0 inches, indicating a small size structure. Bluegill populations tend to struggle in lakes with minimal macrophyte abundance, such as Wells Lake.

White Bass White bass abundance in Wells Lake has fluctuated in recent history, with catch rates ranging from 57.8 fish/net in 1999 to 4.8 fish/net in 2009. The 2014 catch rate of white bass was 13.0 fish/net, which is high relative to other similar lakes. Not only was the catch rate relatively high in 2014, the size of white bass was also impressive. Lengths ranged from 4.6 to 17.4 inches, with 41% of the catch measuring over 10.0 inches. The Cannon River chain of lakes, including Wells Lake, have quality white bass populations and offer a valuable angling opportunity, especially with population demographics like that of Wells Lake. White bass can be caught throughout the year, including through the ice, and are considered great table fare.

Black Bullhead Black bullhead typically thrive in shallow, eutrophic lakes similar to Wells Lake. However, the abundance in Wells Lake has remained low for years. The 2014 catch rate in gill nets was 3.0 fish/net, which is very low for Lake Class 43. The population consisted of mostly large individuals, with lengths ranging from 6.3 to 13.4 inches. Eighty-one percent of the catch measured 10.0 inches or larger. Predators, such as walleye and northern pike, will feed on young black bullhead. While many factors may influence the low abundance of black bullhead in Wells Lake, predation may play a role in keeping the numbers at bay.

Other Species Common carp were collected in high abundance in 2014, with a total of 190 fish sampled from gill and trap nets. While common carp catch rates have varied in Wells Lake, abundance has always been relatively high. Common carp thrive in shallow, eutrophic lakes like Wells Lake. Freshwater drum and white sucker were also abundant (N = 84 and N = 25, respectively). Other fish species collected in low abundance included bigmouth buffalo (N = 5), bowfin (N = 14), channel catfish (N = 5), largemouth bass (N = 1), yellow bullhead (N = 13), and golden shiner (N = 1).

Anglers can play an important role in maintaining or improving a fish population by practicing selective harvest. Selective harvest allows for the harvest of smaller fish for consumption, while encouraging the release of medium to large fish that may contribute to natural recruitment. This practice helps maintain balance in the fish community and provides anglers the opportunity to catch more and larger fish in the future. Additionally, smaller fish often taste better and have fewer contaminants than larger, older fish from the same water body.

Shoreline property owners also play an important role in the overall health of an aquatic ecosystem, including the fish population. Natural shorelines, including vegetation, woody debris, and bottom substrates, provide valuable habitat for fish and wildlife, help maintain water quality, and reduce bank erosion. By leaving natural shorelines unaltered or restoring them to natural conditions, shoreline property owners are doing their part to maintain or improve a healthy ecosystem in the lake and protect the resource for future generations.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
PO Box 86
50317 Fish Hatchery Rd
Waterville, MN 56096-0086
Phone: (507) 362-4223
Internet: Waterville Fisheries
E-Mail: Waterville.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 C0504 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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