Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: High

Nearest Town: Ely
Primary County: St. Louis
Survey Date: 06/09/2014
Inventory Number: 69007100

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
US Forest Service Carry-In Approximately 1/4 mile portage from Dry Lake.
US Forest Service Carry-In Approximately 1 mile portage from FR 460.

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 273.57
Littoral Area (acres): 99
Maximum Depth (ft): 66
Water Clarity (ft): 13.5 (11-16)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: Boulder (Abundant)
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: 7 Varieties Sampled
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 0.4 (0-3)

Did you know? There are 15,000 miles of fishable streams in Minnesota, including 2,600 miles of trout streams.

Fish Sampled for the 2014 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Bluegill Trap net 55.67 2.4 - 6.0 0.21 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 2.67 N/A 0.37 N/A
Brook Trout Trap net 0.33 N/A 0.34 N/A
Gill net 1.17 N/A 0.34 N/A
Golden Shiner Trap net 0.11 N/A 0.04 N/A
Rainbow Trout Trap net 0.22 N/A 0.50 N/A
Gill net 1.67 N/A 0.39 N/A
Splake Trap net 0.22 N/A 0.15 N/A
Gill net 4.17 N/A 1.55 N/A
White Sucker Trap net 10.22 0.1 - 1.0 0.42 1.1 - 3.6
Gill net 19.83 0.8 - 5.3 0.41 1.1 - 2.5
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
bluegill 268 228 15 0 0 0 0 0 511
brook trout 0 4 6 0 0 0 0 0 10
golden shiner 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
rainbow trout 0 0 11 1 0 0 0 0 12
splake 0 9 1 0 15 2 0 0 27
white sucker 1 126 54 7 23 0 0 0 211

For the record, the largest Quillback taken in Minnesota weighed 6 lbs., 14.4 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mississippi River, Ramsey County
    When: 4/6/91
    Statistics: 23" length, 18" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2014 rainbow trout yearlings 1,200 428.6
  splake fingerlings 9,775 234.1
2013 Splake fingerlings 6,950 172.0
2012 Brook Trout fingerlings 10,000 302.5
2011 Splake fingerlings 10,000 362.7
2010 Rainbow Trout yearlings 4,200 1,494.7
2009 Brook Trout fingerlings 10,000 191.2
2008 Splake fingerlings 10,013 298.0
2007 Rainbow Trout yearlings 4,200 1,527.3
2006 Brook Trout fingerlings 9,999 289.0
2005 Splake fingerlings 10,063 321.0

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

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
St. Louis Co., 69007100
Splake   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
St. Louis Co., 69007100
Splake 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.

PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate

Status of the Fishery (as of 06/09/2014)

High Lake is a 274 acre lake located five miles north of Ely. There are two ways to access the lake. The most common access is a 1/4 mile portage from Dry Lake which comes in on the south side of the middle basin of High Lake. The other access is an approximately one mile portage from FR 460 to the northeast side of the western most basin near a major inlet. This inlet which is basically a confined drainage from a series of beaver ponds is the only continuously flowing inlet to High Lake. The lone outlet has a rock sill on the High Lake end before flowing over a rocky bed approximately 1/2 mile down to Dry Lake. The surrounding landscape of High is largely rolling forest land. The maximum depth is 66 feet the lake has clear water.

On June 9, 2014 High Lake was thermally stratified with a surface temperature of 67F and a bottom temperature of 41F. Oxygen was adequate for trout to a depth of 50 feet. Lake bottom substrates along the shoreline were dominated by boulder, followed by rubble, sand, and gravel. A survey of aquatic vegetation was done in late July and showed plants to be sparse and only grow to a depth of 3 feet in some of the shallow bays. The lake is very undeveloped with only three private residences on the shore.

In 1966 a reclamation project was done on High Lake and various trout species were stocked in the years after. Since 1990, rainbow yearlings, brookie fingerlings, and splake fingerlings have been stocked on a mostly rotating schedule.

The gillnet catch of all trout by weight for this assessment was 7.5 pounds/net which is above average when compared to previous surveys. It is also quite good compared to other surveys of stream trout lakes in the Tower area. Note that trout abundance is expressed in terms of biomass (lb/net) rather than number/net to reduce the influence of occasional high catches of just-stocked fingerlings.

The catch of splake in this assessment dominated the other two trout species. The catch rate was 6.5 pounds/gill net. Lengths ranged from 7 to 21 inches with an average of 15 inches which is at the lake's historic average. Average weight was 1.6 pounds which is similar to other recent surveys. There were two distinct groupings of lengths for splake, fish that ranged from 7 to 9 inches and fish that ranged from 16 to 21 inches. The group of small fish was likely from the 2013 stocked class while the rest were likely stocked in 2011 or earlier.

Ten rainbow trout were sampled in gill nets for a rate of 0.6 pounds/set. Lengths ranged from 10 to 12 inches with an average of 11 inches. Undoubtedly these were ten of the approximately 5,500 yearling fish that were stocked only a month earlier. No other larger rainbows from any other year classes were sampled.

Seven brook trout were sampled in the gill nets, their catch rate was 0.4 pounds/net. Lengths ranged from 8 to 12 inches with an average of 9 inches which is smaller than the historic average of 11 inches. The maximum length is on par with the past several assessments but somewhat small compared to assessments prior to 1994. The largest brookie sampled came in 1988 and was nearly 21 inches long. All brook trout sampled are likely Minnesota Wild strain stocked in the fall of 2012. The next closest stocking would have been in 2009.

The bluegill trapnet catch was 55.7 fish/net which is way higher than other similar lakes throughout the area. Sizes were also quite impressive ranging from 3 to nearly 10 inches with an average of 6 inches. Over 27% of the catch was 7.5 inches or larger. Ages ranged from 2 to 12 with an exceptional year class in 2007. Growth appears quite good compared to other Tower area lakes.

There has always been a substantial white sucker catch on High Lake. The 2014 gill nets sampled them at 19.8 fish/net which is higher than averge. The trap net catch was 10.2 fish/net which is high, but substantially lower than the previous assessment of 55.2 fish/net in 2011. The gillnetted fish had an average length of 9 inches and maximum length of 19 inches. These seem on par with nearly all the previous surveys.

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
650 Hwy 169
Tower, MN 55790
Phone: (218) 753-2580
Internet: Tower Fisheries

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 C0884 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

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    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093