Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Vermilion

Nearest Town: Tower
Primary County: St. Louis
Survey Date: 06/10/2013
Inventory Number: 69037800
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
City Concrete Located in Tower off U.S. 169 on the East Two River.
DNR Concrete Located 7 miles north of Cook on St. Louis Co. 24 on the west shore of Head of the Lakes Bay.
County Concrete Located 10 miles northeast of Cook at the end of St. Louis Co. 596 on the north shore of Norwegian Bay.
DNR Concrete Located 6 miles northeast of Cook on St. Louis Co. 478 on the southeast shore of Wakemup Bay.
County Concrete Located 7 miles northeast of Cook at the end of Polley Rd. off St. Louis Co. 540 on the south shore of Wakemup Narrows.
County Concrete Located 11 miles northeast of Cook at the end of St. Louis Co. 540 on the west shore of Oak Narrows.
DNR Concrete Located 10 miles east of Cook on St. Louis Co. 418 on the south shore of Frazer Bay.
DNR Concrete Located 8 miles northwest of Tower on St. Louis Co. 949 on the south shore of Black Duck Bay.
County Concrete Located 7 miles northwest of Tower at the end of St. Louis Co. 929 at Mocassin Pt.
County Concrete Located 6 miles northwest of Tower at the end of St. Louis Co. 651 on the north side of Birch Pt.
County Concrete Located 4 miles northwest of Tower at the end of St. Louis Co. 414 on the north shore of Everett Bay.
US Forest Service Concrete Located 7 miles northeast of Tower on St. Louis Co. 408 on the north shore of Rice Bay.
DNR Concrete Located 1 mile north of Soudan on Twp. Rd. 4598 in Soudan State Park on the south shore of Stuntz Bay.
City Concrete Located 2 miles north of Tower on Twp. Rd. 4596 on the south shore of McKinley Bay.
City Concrete Located 1 mile northwest of Tower on St. Louis Co. 697 on the north side of Hoodoo Pt.
City Concrete Located 1 mile northwest of Tower on St. Louis Co. 697 on the south side of Hoodoo Pt.


Fishing Regulations:

Special and/or Experimental Fishing Regulations exist on this lake. Please refer to our online Minnesota Fishing Regulations.

Fish Health:

Disease:Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)Date Tested:4/7/2010Result:Negative
Source: MNDNR
Disease:Heterosporis sp.Date Tested:12/29/2005Result:Positive
Source: MNDNR

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 39272.25
Littoral Area (acres): 15006
Maximum Depth (ft): 76
Water Clarity (ft): 8.0 (4-10)

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


Did you know? The annual budget for the Section of Fisheries is approximately $17 million, which is funded primarily by fishing license and stamp fees and by a federal excise tax on fishing and boating equipment.

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 1.27 1.3 - 2.6 0.21 0.3 - 0.6
Gill net 0.10 0.2 - 0.8 0.27 0.2 - 0.6
Bluegill Trap net 23.27 6.8 - 33.1 0.17 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 1.45 N/A 0.16 N/A
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.37 N/A 1.26 N/A
Golden Shiner Trap net 0.50 N/A 0.07 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.57 0.0 - 1.3 0.12 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 0.05 N/A 0.29 N/A
Muskellunge Trap net 0.03 N/A 37.52 N/A
Northern Pike Trap net 0.27 N/A 2.17 N/A
Gill net 0.70 1.1 - 2.4 5.02 2.8 - 4.3
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.20 N/A 0.17 N/A
Rock Bass Trap net 0.77 1.2 - 4.0 0.21 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 0.40 0.6 - 1.6 0.52 0.2 - 0.3
Smallmouth Bass Trap net 0.03 0.1 - 0.3 2.62 0.5 - 0.8
Gill net 0.40 0.2 - 0.6 1.68 0.7 - 1.2
Tullibee (cisco) Gill net 4.45 1.1 - 10.1 0.42 0.3 - 0.9
Walleye Trap net 1.03 0.9 - 1.9 2.64 0.9 - 1.3
Gill net 18.20 3.6 - 10.8 1.21 0.8 - 1.3
White Sucker Trap net 0.03 0.1 - 0.7 1.66 1.4 - 3.8
Gill net 3.20 1.4 - 3.0 1.27 1.7 - 2.2
Yellow Perch Trap net 15.40 2.2 - 8.5 0.17 0.2 - 0.2
Gill net 55.25 1.4 - 6.8 0.15 0.1 - 0.2
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 16 18 4 1 0 0 0 0 40
bluegill 393 330 0 0 0 0 0 0 727
brown bullhead 0 0 3 7 1 0 0 0 11
golden shiner 11 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 15
largemouth bass 8 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
muskellunge 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 2 9 6 5 22
pumpkinseed 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6
rock bass 10 18 3 0 0 0 0 0 31
smallmouth bass 0 0 1 4 4 0 0 0 9
tullibee (cisco) 0 56 16 16 0 0 0 0 89
walleye 2 46 68 113 115 46 5 0 395
white sucker 0 3 15 22 21 0 0 0 65
yellow perch 492 965 89 3 0 0 0 0 1567


For the record, the largest White Crappie taken in Minnesota weighed 3 lbs., 15 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Lake Constance, Wright County
    When: 7/28/02
    Statistics: 18" length, 16" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye fry 11,600,000 115.0
2012 Muskellunge fingerlings 1,300 1,300.0
  Muskellunge fingerlings 693 161.2
  Walleye fry 11,600,000 114.2
2011 Walleye fry 15,000,000 140.8
2010 Muskellunge fingerlings 4,828 988.2
  Walleye fry 6,000,000 59.0
2009 Muskellunge fingerlings 1,786 229.0
  Muskellunge fingerlings 920 136.4
  Walleye fry 11,600,000 116.0
2008 Muskellunge fingerlings 1,292 138.1
  Walleye fry 10,800,000 108.0
2007 Muskellunge fingerlings 1,962 463.9
  Walleye fry 16,600,000 166.0
2006 Muskellunge fingerlings 1,268 362.1
  Walleye fry 16,905,000 169.1
2005 Walleye fry 20,560,000 205.6
2004 Muskellunge fingerlings 3,953 513.9
  Northern Pike 13,800 5.5
  Walleye fry 25,150,000 251.5

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
VERMILION
St. Louis Co., 69037800
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Cisco   All sizes     Mercury
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
Walleye   shorter than 19" 19" or longer   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
VERMILION
St. Louis Co., 69037800
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Cisco All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     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 06/10/2013)

Lake Vermilion is part of the statewide Large Lake Program, an intensive fisheries management program on the 10 largest lakes in Minnesota. The Large Lake Program includes annual population assessments, annual water quality monitoring, and regularly scheduled creel surveys. A variety of sampling gear is used during population assessments to collect the various fish species and life stages. These gear types include gill nets, trap nets, beach seines, and an electrofishing boat. Sampling for each gear type is conducted at the same time and place each year in order to determine population trends for the major species. Data is also collected on length, weight, age, and growth for each of the major species.

The walleye gillnet catch in 2013 was 18.2 fish/net, well above the historic average for Lake Vermilion. Walleye gillnet catches have been above average since 2011, due primarily to strong year classes produced in 2007, 2010, and 2011. Gillnetted walleye had a mean length of 14.2 inches, well above the historic average. The mean length declined from unusually high values observed in 2011 and 2012, reflecting more small fish in the gillnet catch. The walleye gillnet catch was dominated by age 2 fish (2011 year class) and age 1 fish (2012 year class), composing 25.3% and 21.7% of the catch, respectively. Gillnet catches of both year classes were well above their historic average. The gillnet catch of age 6 walleye (2007 year class) was also well above average. Strong year classes of walleye were produced in 2007, 2010, and 2011. One year of netting indicates the 2012 year class will also be stronger than average. Weak year classes were produced in 2008 and 2009. There is a special regulation for walleye on Lake Vermilion; an 18-26 inch protected slot, with one fish allowed over 26 inches, and a four-fish bag limit. The goal of the regulation is to keep harvest at a safe level and maintain adequate spawning stock.

The gillnet catch of northern pike was 0.7 fish/net, slightly below the historic average. Gillnet catches of northern pike have historically been fairly stable at a relatively low level. Northern pike are more abundant in some of the shallow bays, however those areas are not sampled during annual assessments. The mean length of northern pike sampled by gill nets was 27.6 inches, well above the historic average. It was the fifth consecutive year pike lengths were above average, reflecting an improved size structure in recent years. The sample size of northern pike in the gill nets was too small (14 fish) for meaningful age and growth analysis. Northern pike reproduction has historically been relatively consistent from year to year without exceptionally weak or strong year classes. A special regulation for northern pike has been in effect since 2003: a 24-36 inch protected slot, with one fish allowed over 36 inches. This regulation is part of a statewide initiative to improve the size structure of pike populations in a number of lakes across the state.

The gillnet catch of yellow perch was 55.2 fish/net, the highest perch catch ever observed on Lake Vermilion. Prior to 2013, perch gillnet catches had been well below average since 2007. Gillnetted perch had a mean length of 7.0 inches, the smallest average size observed since 2003. The small average size reflects the influence of strong younger year classes in the population. Perch sampled on East Vermilion were considerably larger than those sampled on West Vermilion, which is consistent with past sampling. The perch gillnet catch was dominated by age 2 fish (2011 year class), which composed 45.0% of the catch. It was the highest catch of age 2 perch ever observed, suggesting the 2011 year class will be stronger than average. Gillnet catches of age 1 perch (2012 year class) and age 3 perch (2010 year class) were also well above average. Prior to 2010, the last strong year class of perch was produced in 2003.

The black crappie trapnet catch was 1.3 fish/net, slightly below the historic average. Crappie numbers have historically been relatively low on Lake Vermilion, although some areas of West Vermilion have higher numbers of fish. Trapnetted crappie had a mean length of 6.6 inches, the smallest average size ever observed on Lake Vermilion. The small average size was due to an unusually high catch of small fish and low numbers of medium and large sized fish. The catch of crappie over 10 inches was well below average. The crappie catch was dominated by age 1 fish (2012 year class) and age 2 fish (2011 year class), which composed 39.5% and 31.6% of the catch, respectively. Catches of both age classes were well above average, suggesting 2011 and 2012 will be strong year classes. Other strong year classes of crappie were produced in 2005 and 2006, while weak year classes were produced in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

The trapnet catch of bluegill was 23.3 fish/net, slightly below the historic average. The bluegill catch was much higher on West Vermilion than East Vermilion, reflecting higher bluegill abundance in that lake basin. Trapnetted bluegill had a mean length of 5.8 inches, which is near the historic average. Trapnet catches have been dominated by small fish for several years, with relatively low numbers of large fish. The bluegill trapnet catch was dominated by age 3 fish (2010 year class), which composed 28.5% of the catch. The trapnet catch of the 2010 year class was well above average for age 3 fish. Trapnet catches were also above average for age 2 fish (2011 year class) and age 7 fish (2006 year class). Strong year classes of bluegill were produced in 2006, 2010, and 2011, while weak year classes were produced in 2008 and 2009.

An electrofishing boat is used as the standard sampling gear for smallmouth bass because they are not often caught in standard assessment nets. The smallmouth bass electrofishing catch in 2013 was 16.0 fish/hour, well below the historic average. The low bass catch in 2013 was probably due in part to problems with a new electrofishing boat. Smallmouth bass electrofishing catches are usually higher on West Vermilion, while the average size is larger on East Vermilion. The mean length of smallmouth bass sampled by electrofishing was 12.7 inches, well above the historic average. Previous sampling indicates strong year classes were produced in 2005, 2006, and 2009, while poor year classes were produced in 2008 and 2009.

An electrofishing boat is used to sample young-of-the-year walleye in the fall to monitor reproductive success for the year. The fall electrofishing catch of young-of-the-year walleye in 2013 was 116.0 fish/hour, which is near the historic average, but considerably less than the high catches observed in 2011 and 2012. The mean length of young-of-the-year walleye sampled by electrofishing was 5.1 inches, which is near the historic average. Growth of young-of-the-year walleye has proven to be a useful indicator of eventual year class strength. Past sampling has shown that large, fast growing young-of-the-year walleye generally produce strong year classes, while small slow growing fish produce poor year classes. Taken together, the 2013 electrofishing catch and growth rate indicate the 2013 year class will likely be near average.

There are several invasive species known to be present in Lake Vermilion. Rusty crayfish are very abundant in East Vermilion and are expanding into West Vermilion. Curly-leaf pondweed is now present in Everett's Bay and Stuntz Bay in East Vermilion. Chinese mystery snails were discovered in 2011 in Spring Bay at the far west end of the lake. Purple loosestrife has been found at several sites on the lake, usually in wetland areas adjacent to lake. Heterosporis, a microsporidean fish parasite, has been identified in several walleye and yellow perch from Lake Vermilion, mostly from the west end of the lake. Anglers and boaters should always take preventative measures to avoid moving invasive species to other lakes. For more information on invasive species and other DNR programs, go to the DNR website at mndnr.gov.


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 B0272 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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