Lake information report

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Name: Bear Island

Nearest Town: Babbitt
Primary County: St. Louis
Survey Date: 06/30/2008
Inventory Number: 69011500
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
Township Gravel
County Concrete
DNR Concrete


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 2362.43
Littoral Area (acres): 879
Maximum Depth (ft): 62
Water Clarity (ft): 7

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


Did you know? Each year, the MinnAqua program teaches youth and families across Minnesota about aquatic biology, fishing, and conservation..

Fish Sampled for the 2008 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Crappie Trap net 1.00 1.6 - 3.3 0.20 0.2 - 0.7
Gill net 0.20 0.2 - 1.4 0.41 0.2 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 35.27 0.8 - 8.7 0.25 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 3.33 N/A 0.21 N/A
Burbot Gill net 0.07 0.1 - 1.3 2.87 0.5 - 1.5
Golden Shiner Trap net 0.13 N/A 0.09 N/A
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 0.27 N/A 0.36 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.53 0.1 - 0.7 0.28 0.1 - 1.0
Northern Pike Trap net 0.80 N/A 2.39 N/A
Gill net 3.40 1.2 - 3.6 2.49 1.9 - 3.6
Pumpkinseed Trap net 1.47 0.5 - 3.4 0.15 0.1 - 0.3
Rock Bass Trap net 7.07 0.3 - 1.0 0.26 0.2 - 0.3
Gill net 3.80 0.5 - 2.2 0.31 0.2 - 0.4
Smallmouth Bass Trap net 0.13 0.1 - 0.4 2.25 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 1.80 0.3 - 0.7 1.10 0.5 - 1.3
Tullibee (cisco) Gill net 4.87 1.8 - 12.4 0.10 0.2 - 0.5
Walleye Trap net 0.53 0.3 - 1.3 1.74 0.5 - 1.4
Gill net 5.73 3.1 - 9.8 1.16 0.7 - 1.3
White Sucker Trap net 0.80 0.3 - 3.0 2.57 1.8 - 2.8
Gill net 2.33 2.8 - 6.7 1.45 1.3 - 2.0
Yellow Perch Trap net 1.00 0.4 - 1.9 0.21 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 1.87 1.9 - 7.1 0.23 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 2008 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 2 14 2 0 0 0 0 0 18
bluegill 196 368 2 0 0 0 0 0 579
burbot 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
golden shiner 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
hybrid sunfish 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
largemouth bass 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 8
northern pike 0 0 1 2 24 24 9 3 63
pumpkinseed 15 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 22
rock bass 22 140 1 0 0 0 0 0 163
smallmouth bass 0 3 8 14 4 0 0 0 29
tullibee (cisco) 0 70 1 0 0 0 0 0 73
walleye 0 13 17 34 19 9 2 0 94
white sucker 0 2 8 13 20 4 0 0 47
yellow perch 8 25 10 0 0 0 0 0 43


For the record, the largest Rock Bass (tie) taken in Minnesota weighed 2 lbs. and was caught:

    Where: Lake Osakis, Todd County
    When: 5/10/98
    Statistics: 13.5" length, 12.5" girth

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

Privately Stocked Fish
* indicates privately stocked fish. Private stocking includes fish purchased by the DNR for stocking and fish purchased and stocked by private citizens and sporting groups.

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 06/30/2008)

Bear Island Lake is in Ecological lake Class 7, which consists of 41 lakes in northeast Minnesota that are very large, have irregularly shaped shorelines, and have very soft (unmineralized) water. Bear Island Lake is mesotrophic, as are most of the lakes in this lake class.

Bear Island Lake was thermally stratified on 8/25/2008 with a surface temperature of 68 F and a bottom temperature of 52 F. Adequate oxygen for fish (more than 2 ppm) was retained to a depth of 37 ft, where the temperature was 58 F.

The major inlet, Beaver River, has a walleye spawning run in the spring and has rapids and beaver dams, which limit fish movement. The outlet, Bear Island River, has an old dam that limits fish movement at low water. Lake bottom substrates along the shoreline of Bear Island Lake are mostly rubble, boulder, and gravel. Aquatic plants grow to a depth of 7 ft and are sparse along most of the shoreline.

Fish sampling in 2008 consisted of 15 standard gillnet sets and 15 standard trapnet sets. Fourteen previous investigations, dating back to 1952, consisted of 2-15 gillnet sets. Six of these previous investigations, beginning in 1973, used 3-15 trapnet sets. Trapnetting was done late in the summer in the first four trapnettings, through 1993, but was moved to June in the 1998, 2003, and 2008 investigations because panfish populations are usually more catchable in trapnets early in the summer.

Trapnet catches in 2008 were dominated by bluegill sunfish and rock bass. Gillnet catches were dominated by walleye, northern pike, and cisco.

Bluegill sunfish were not captured in early investigations on Bear Island Lake, and were low (1-2/trapnet) in subsequent investigations through 1998 (when the trapnetting was done in June). Bluegill numbers then increased, to 17/trapnet in 2003 and to 35/trapnet in 2008, both of which were in the fourth quartile for this lake class. Bluegill sizes in 2008 averaged 6.6" (0.25 lb), which was near the median for this lake class and was larger than the average size of 6.2" in all investigations on this lake. The largest bluegill captured in 2008 was 9.1". Most of the bluegill captured in 2008 were ages 3, 5, and 6. Growth of bluegill captured in 2008 was normal by area standards.

Rock bass numbers in 2008 (7.1/trapnet) were in the fourth quartile for this lake class. Rock bass numbers were low (1-5/trapnet) through 1993, but increased to 7-14/trapnet in 1998 and subsequent investigations coincident with the change in trapnetting dates to early in the summer.

Walleye numbers in 2008 (5.7/gillnet) were near the median for this lake class and were similar to the median catch of 6.0/gillnet in all investigations on this lake. Walleye sizes in 2008 averaged 13.8" (1.2 lb), which was in the third quartile for this lake class and was similar to the average size of 14.0" in all investigations on this lake. Walleye were present from a number of year classes in 2008, but many (43%) were age 2, from the 2006 year class. Walleye growth was faster than normal by area standards.

Northern pike numbers in 2008 (3.4/ gillnet) were in the third quartile for this lake class and were similar to the median catch of 2.7/gillnet in all investigations on this lake. Pike sizes in 2008 averaged 21.5" (2.5 lb), which was near the median for this lake class and was similar to the average size of 21.8" in all investigations on this lake. Most of the pike captured in 2008 (53%) were age 2, from the 2006 year class. Pike growth appeared to be normal by area standards.

Cisco numbers in 2008 (4.9/gillnet) were near the median for this lake class and were higher than the median cisco catch of 0.7/gillnet in all investigations on this lake. Cisco sizes averaged 6.9"; the largest was 9.2"

White sucker and perch numbers in 2008 were lower than normal for this lake class and were typical for this lake. Smallmouth bass numbers were higher than normal for this lake class and for this lake. Anglers targeting bass have become more common in recent years.

Many of the game fish examined in 2003 were infected with Neascus. Some of the perch had yellow grub, and some of the smallmouth had bass tapeworm. One of the northern pike had Lymphosarcoma. Neascus (black spot), yellow grub, and bass tapeworm are common parasites that are native to the area. They cannot infect humans, are often removed by filleting, and are killed at temperatures used to cook fish. Lymphosarcoma is a virus-caused cancer of northern pike and eating fish infected with lymphosarcoma is not recommended although infection of humans by this virus has not been observed.


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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    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093