Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Lower Sakatah

Nearest Town: Morristown
Primary County: Rice
Survey Date: 07/28/2014
Inventory Number: 66004400
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
Unknown Other


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 372.21
Littoral Area (acres): 372.21
Maximum Depth (ft): 7
Water Clarity (ft): 3.1 (3-3.2)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 2.6 (1.1-4.7)


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 0.25 0.2 - 1.0 5.24 2.6 - 5.8
Black Bullhead Trap net 0.50 11.5 - 132.6 1.08 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 7.17 30.3 - 150.6 1.31 0.2 - 0.4
Black Crappie Trap net 0.12 1.2 - 20.5 0.13 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 1.50 1.4 - 13.8 0.40 0.2 - 0.4
Bluegill Trap net 0.12 1.2 - 20.0 0.36 0.1 - 0.4
Gill net 1.00 N/A 0.32 N/A
Bowfin (dogfish) Trap net 2.62 0.3 - 0.9 5.28 2.7 - 3.8
Gill net 2.00 0.2 - 0.5 5.81 1.8 - 3.1
Channel Catfish Trap net 0.12 N/A 2.20 N/A
Gill net 0.50 N/A 5.35 N/A
Common Carp Trap net 4.62 1.0 - 5.5 7.16 1.4 - 4.6
Gill net 1.83 1.0 - 13.8 6.77 0.8 - 3.7
Freshwater Drum Trap net 8.25 0.2 - 3.3 2.04 0.3 - 1.0
Gill net 12.67 0.5 - 8.3 1.82 0.4 - 1.7
Golden Shiner Gill net 0.17 0.5 - 2.6 0.09 0.1 - 0.1
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.12 0.2 - 0.7 2.76 0.3 - 1.5
Northern Pike Trap net 0.25 N/A 4.08 N/A
Gill net 3.33 1.1 - 8.0 2.86 1.8 - 3.4
Walleye Gill net 1.00 2.3 - 18.1 3.10 1.0 - 2.3
White Bass Trap net 0.38 0.2 - 0.7 2.00 0.2 - 0.6
Gill net 1.33 0.3 - 9.9 1.56 N/A
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.50 0.5 - 2.5 1.05 0.3 - 0.7
Gill net 3.33 0.5 - 3.5 0.84 0.3 - 0.7
Yellow Perch Gill net 14.00 2.7 - 25.0 0.16 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 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2
black bullhead 0 1 16 27 0 0 0 0 44
black crappie 3 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 9
bluegill 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
bowfin (dogfish) 0 0 0 0 2 16 15 0 33
channel catfish 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 4
common carp 0 0 0 0 2 30 16 0 48
freshwater drum 0 0 0 34 107 0 0 0 141
golden shiner 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
largemouth bass 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 1 13 7 0 21
walleye 0 0 2 0 2 2 0 0 6
white bass 0 0 0 7 4 0 0 0 11
yellow bullhead 0 0 16 8 0 0 0 0 24
yellow perch 30 45 6 0 0 0 0 0 81


For the record, the largest Walleye taken in Minnesota weighed 17 lbs., 8 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Seagull River at Saganaga Lake, Cook County
    When: 5/13/79
    Statistics: 35.8" length, 21.3" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2014 walleye fry 460,219 4.5
2013 Walleye fry 464,126 4.0
2012 Walleye fry 463,050 4.5
2010 Walleye fry 463,829 4.0
2009 Walleye fry 477,114 4.8
2008 Walleye fry 461,250 4.5
2006 Walleye fry 468,445 4.8
2005 Walleye fry 460,215 4.5

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
LOWER SAKATAH
Rice Co., 66004400
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
White Bass     All sizes   Mercury
Yellow Perch   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
LOWER SAKATAH
Rice Co., 66004400
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Bass   All sizes     Mercury
Yellow Perch 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 07/28/2014)

Introduction Lower Sakatah Lake is a 310 acre lake located in Rice County east of the town of Waterville. Lower Sakatah is accessible by the access on Upper Sakatah Lake, which is inside Sakatah Lake State Park. Lower Sakatah can also be accessed by the bridge on Leroy Avenue, which connects Lower and Upper Sakatah Lakes. Being a part of the Cannon River chain of lakes, Lower Sakatah flows east toward Cannon Lake. Lower Sakatah is a shallow lake with a maximum depth of only 7 feet. The deepest water in the lake can be found toward the west end, as the water gets shallower toward the outlet on the east end of the lake. Lower Sakatah Lake is managed primarily for walleye and is stocked with walleye fry three out of every four years at a target rate of 1,500 fry per littoral acre. A contingency stocking plan calls for northern pike fingerlings, yellow perch adults, black crappie adults, and bluegill adults to be stocked after winterkill events. Lower Sakatah Lake was surveyed the week of July 28, 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 Between 1986 and 2004, walleye abundance in Lower Sakatah Lake averaged 8.6 fish/gill net. In 2009 and 2014, however, catch rates dropped to 0.7 and 1.0 fish/gill net, respectively. Although catch rates were low in 2014, the size structure of walleye was good. The length of walleye averaged 17.6 inches and the largest individual sampled with 24.8 inches. The growth rate of walleye was moderate compared to other similar lakes in the area. Walleye fry were recently stocked into Lower Sakatah Lake in 2012, 2013, and 2014 at a target rate of 1,500 fry per littoral acre. Since walleye fry are stocked three out of every four years, walleye will not be stocked again until 2016.

Northern Pike The northern pike population in Lower Sakatah Lake has remained relatively stable in recent years. The 2014 northern pike catch rate was 3.3 fish/gill net, which closely resembles the long-term lake average of 3.0 fish/gill net. Northern pike collected in the 2014 survey ranged in length from 17.5 to 28.1 inches and averaged 23.0 inches, indicating relatively small size structure. Northern pike in southern Minnesota grow very fast. The average length of northern pike in Lower Sakatah Lake was 21.0 inches at age-2, 24.0 inches at age-3, and 25.2 inches at age-4. A contingency stocking plan is in place for northern pike after winterkill events. Although northern pike have not been stocked into Lower Sakatah Lake in recent years, northern pike are regularly stocked throughout the Cannon River chain of lakes.

Yellow Perch Lower Sakatah Lake has historically produced good numbers of yellow perch. The 2014 catch rate of yellow perch was 14.0 fish/gill net, which is slightly below the long-term lake average of 16.2 fish/gill net. The lengths of yellow perch ranged from 5.3 to 9.7 inches and averaged 6.6 inches, indicating that the size structure of yellow perch in Lower Sakatah Lake is relatively small. Young yellow perch are an important food source for walleye and other predators in the Cannon River chain of lakes. However, some anglers have success catching yellow perch from the shores of Lower Sakatah Lake as well.

Bullhead Species Like most lakes in the Cannon River chain, Lower Sakatah has populations of black and yellow bullheads. With a catch rate of 7.2 fish/gill net, black bullhead were in relatively low abundance in the 2014 survey. However, the size of black bullhead was large, with lengths ranging from 8.9 to 14.1 inches and averaging 12.2 inches. Yellow bullheads were sampled at a rate of 3.3 fish/gill net. Yellow bullheads were also large, with lengths ranging from 9.4 to 13.2 inches and averaging 11.4 inches. The Waterville area was once well-known for its bullhead fishing. Lower Sakatah Lake and other shallow, highly productive lakes in southern Minnesota still offer quality bullhead fishing opportunities today.

Other Species Black crappie are present in Lower Sakatah in low abundance. The 2014 gill net catch rate was 1.5 fish/net, which is below the long-term average of 3.6 fish/net. The lengths of black crappie ranged from 5.4 to 11.9 inches and averaged 7.8 inches. Bluegill are also present in low abundance, with a total of 7 fish collected in both gear types in 2014. With a total of 142 collected in the survey, freshwater drum was the most abundant fish species in 2014. Other fish species collected from Lower Sakatah Lake in 2014 included white bass (N = 11), bowfin (N = 33), common carp (N = 48), channel catfish (N = 4), largemouth bass (N = 1), bigmouth buffalo (N = 2), 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
No depth map available.


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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