Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Bear Island

Nearest Town: Babbitt
Primary County: St. Louis
Survey Date: 06/24/2013
Inventory Number: 69011500
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
Township Gravel Northeast side of lake. From Co. Rd. # 21, go west onTwp. Rd. # 4134 (Bear Island River Rd.) approx. 4 miles, then left on Verbick Rd. 100 yards to access.
DNR Concrete East side of lake. From Co. Rd. # 21, go NW on Co. Rd. # 684 (Escape Rd.) 0.6 mile to the access. Access is just west of Timber Wolf Lodge.
DNR Concrete SW end of lake. From Co. Rd. # 21, west 1.68 miles on UT # 8217 (Old Co. Rd. # 904), then north on UT # 8207 (Old Co. Rd. # 490), Bear Island Rd. W. 1.95 miles to the access.


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 2362.47
Littoral Area (acres): 879
Maximum Depth (ft): 62
Water Clarity (ft): 8.5 (7-10)

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 2013 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Crappie Trap net 1.53 1.6 - 3.3 0.28 0.2 - 0.7
Bluegill Trap net 22.00 0.8 - 8.7 0.37 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 0.58 N/A 0.34 N/A
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 0.27 N/A 0.30 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.07 0.1 - 0.7 0.19 0.1 - 1.0
Northern Pike Trap net 0.80 N/A 1.65 N/A
Gill net 4.33 1.2 - 3.6 2.63 1.9 - 3.6
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.27 0.5 - 3.4 0.21 0.1 - 0.3
Rock Bass Trap net 6.33 0.3 - 1.0 0.30 0.2 - 0.3
Gill net 3.42 0.5 - 2.2 0.37 0.2 - 0.4
Smallmouth Bass Trap net 0.13 0.1 - 0.4 0.93 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 1.17 0.3 - 0.7 1.67 0.5 - 1.3
Tullibee (cisco) Gill net 5.25 1.8 - 12.4 0.08 0.2 - 0.5
Walleye Trap net 1.13 0.3 - 1.3 1.57 0.5 - 1.4
Gill net 9.17 3.1 - 9.8 0.97 0.7 - 1.3
White Sucker Trap net 0.67 0.3 - 3.0 3.18 1.8 - 2.8
Gill net 2.58 2.8 - 6.7 2.40 1.3 - 2.0
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.33 0.4 - 1.9 0.13 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 2.00 1.9 - 7.1 0.12 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 2013 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 crappie 1 20 0 2 0 0 0 0 23
bluegill 21 308 1 0 0 0 0 0 337
hybrid sunfish 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
largemouth bass 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 1 21 32 7 3 64
pumpkinseed 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
rock bass 14 119 3 0 0 0 0 0 136
smallmouth bass 0 0 1 11 4 0 0 0 16
tullibee (cisco) 3 60 0 0 0 0 0 0 63
walleye 0 8 47 39 20 12 1 0 127
white sucker 0 0 1 4 31 5 0 0 41
yellow perch 16 11 2 0 0 0 0 0 29


For the record, the largest White Bass taken in Minnesota weighed 4 lbs., 2.4 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Mississippi River Pool 5, Wabasha County
    When: 5/4/2004

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye fry 900,000 9.0
2011 Walleye fry 900,000 8.5
2009 Walleye fry 900,000 9.0
2007 Walleye fry 900,000 9.0
2005 Walleye fry 900,000 9.0

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
BEAR ISLAND
St. Louis Co., 69011500
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike     shorter than 35" 35" or longer Mercury
Walleye     All sizes   Mercury
White Sucker   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
BEAR ISLAND
St. Louis Co., 69011500
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Northern Pike   shorter than 29" 29" or longer   Mercury
Walleye   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 06/24/2013)

Bear Island Lake is located 10 miles southwest of Ely. There are three public accesses, two of which have concrete ramps, the other is gravel. This 2,351 acre lake contains four inlets and one outlet, the Bear Island River. Bear Island Lake has a maximum depth of 62 feet and the water color is brown. On August 26, 2013 Bear Island was thermally stratified with a surface temperature of 75F and a bottom temperature of 46F. Oxygen levels were 8.6 ppm at the surface and dropped to below 2.0 ppm at a depth of 45 feet. Shoreline substrates consist of mostly rubble, boulder, and gravel. Aquatic vegetation is sparse along most of the shoreline.

The overall gillnet catch rate for all fish combined was 29 fish/net which is high compared to historic surveys. Fish species sampled in gill nets were walleye, tullibee, northern pike, rock bass, white sucker, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. The overall trapnet catch rate for all fish combined was 34 fish/net which was also high compared to historic surveys. Fish species sampled were bluegill, rock bass, black crappie, walleye, northern pike, white sucker, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, hybrid sunfish, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.

One hundred ten walleye were sampled in gill nets for a catch rate of 9 fish/net which is quite good compared to other similar lakes throughout the state and is the 3rd highest catch rate on record for the lake. Fish captured in gill nets in the 2013 assessment ranged in size from 7 to 24.5 inches with an average of 13 inches. The largest fish captured came from a trap net and was 29 inches long. Average weight per fish caught in gill nets was 1.0 pound. Growth rates were slow when compared to other investigations of lakes in the Tower area. Ages of gillnetted fish ranged from 1 to 10. The 2009 and 2011 year classes were quite strong with over 76% of the aged fish coming from those year classes.

The northern pike gillnet catch was 4 fish/net which is better than 75% of other similar lakes throughout the state and the second highest catch rate on record for Bear Island. Average weight for gillnetted fish was 2.6 lbs/fish which is average when compared to other similar lakes throughout the state. Lengths from gillnetted fish ranged from 15 to 35 inches with an average of 22 inches. Growth rates were somewhat slow when compared to other lakes in the area. Anglers are encouraged to release these large pike as they take many years to grow larger than 24 inches. Ages of gillnetted fish ranged from 1 to 9 years old with the 2009 year class being the strongest and containing over 45% of the aged fish. Of the forty-nine northern pike examined for diseases and parasites, 41 fish or 84% were infested with neascus (black spot).

Fourteen smallmouth bass were sampled in gill nets for a catch rate of 1.2 fish/net which is high when compared to other similar lakes in the state. The average weight was 1.7 lbs/fish. Lengths ranged from 13 to 16 inches with an average of 14.5 inches. Growth was typical of other smallie populations in area lakes. Ages ranged from 4 to 8 years with the 2006 year class being the strongest.

Twenty three black crappie were sampled in trap nets for a catch rate of 1.5 fish/net which is in the lower 25% of similar lakes throughout the state. The average weight was 0.3 lb/fish. Lengths ranged from 5 to 13 inches with an average of 8 inches. Growth was similar when compared to other area lakes. Ages ranged from 2 to 9 with 74% of the fish coming from the 2010 year class.

The bluegill catch rate was 22 fish/net in 2013 which is well above 75% of other similar lakes throughout the state. The average weight was 0.4 lb/fish, also above 75% of bluegill lakes throughout the state. Lengths ranged from 4 to 9 inches with an average of an impressive 7.5 inches. Growth rates are slightly better than average compared to other lakes in the area. Ages ranged from 2 to 9 years with the 2005, 2006, and 2007 year classes accounting for 87% of all the sampled fish. Ninety four percent of the bluegill examined for diseases and parasites had neascus (black spot).

A tullibee catch rate of 5 fish/gill net is right in the middle compared to other similar lakes throughout the state. Historic gillnet catches of tullibee started high between 1952 and 1978, then dropped to 1 or less fish/net until 2003 where catches then started to rise and have continued rising to the present rate. Average size was small at 0.1 lb/fish with a length range of 6 to 8 inches and an average of 6.5 inches.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
650 Hwy 169
Tower, MN 55790
Phone: (218) 753-2580
Internet: Tower Fisheries
E-Mail: Tower.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 B0242 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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