Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Nichols

Nearest Town: Payne
Primary County: St. Louis
Survey Date: 08/13/2012
Inventory Number: 69062700
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 418.67
Littoral Area (acres): 362
Maximum Depth (ft): 31
Water Clarity (ft): 6.7 (4.1-9.2)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 8.6 (3-12)


Did you know? Much of Minnesota's fisheries program is reimbursed by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program (federal excise tax), administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fish Sampled for the 2012 Survey Year

Species

Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)

Caught

Normal Range

Black Bullhead Gill net 0.11 2.6 - 124.4 0.45 0.3 - 0.6
Black Crappie Trap net 3.78 0.3 - 4.6 0.36 0.3 - 0.7
Gill net 3.78 0.4 - 4.0 0.12 0.1 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 7.00 0.9 - 8.3 0.18 0.1 - 0.4
Gill net 2.22 N/A 0.11 N/A
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.56 0.6 - 24.4 1.11 0.4 - 0.8
Gill net 0.33 0.1 - 4.6 1.02 0.5 - 1.2
Largemouth Bass Gill net 0.56 0.3 - 0.6 0.81 0.3 - 1.3
Northern Pike Trap net 1.44 N/A 1.78 N/A
Gill net 5.56 2.0 - 6.0 1.39 1.3 - 2.5
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.78 0.4 - 3.6 0.20 0.1 - 0.2
Walleye Gill net 1.11 3.2 - 13.7 1.88 0.8 - 1.3
White Sucker Trap net 0.22 0.3 - 2.1 3.78 1.6 - 2.8
Gill net 0.67 3.0 - 11.0 1.55 1.4 - 2.4
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 7.11 N/A 0.80 N/A
Gill net 1.78 0.4 - 4.0 0.74 N/A
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.11 0.4 - 1.8 0.16 0.1 - 0.4
Gill net 1.56 4.7 - 15.8 0.13 0.2 - 0.3
Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.


Length of Selected Species (Trapnet, Gillnet) Sampled for the 2012 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 bullhead 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
black crappie 33 19 16 0 0 0 0 0 68
bluegill 46 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 83
brown bullhead 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 8
largemouth bass 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 0 5
northern pike 0 0 0 1 42 16 4 0 63
pumpkinseed 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 7
walleye 0 0 3 0 5 1 0 0 10
white sucker 0 0 2 1 4 1 0 0 8
yellow bullhead 0 1 63 12 0 0 0 0 80
yellow perch 4 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 15


For the record, the largest Smallmouth Bass taken in Minnesota weighed 8 lbs. and was caught:

    Where: W. Battle Lake, Otter Tail County
    When: 1948

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye fingerlings 9,050 362.0
2011 Walleye fingerlings 6,188 361.9
2007 Walleye* fingerlings 4,665 179.9
2004 Walleye* fingerlings 4,914 360.0

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

No fish consumption guidelines are available for this lake. For more information, see the "Fish Consumption Advice" pages at the Minnesota Department of Health.


Status of the Fishery (as of 08/13/2012)

Nichols is a 413 acre lake with 362 acres (88%) of littoral area and a maximum depth of 31 feet. The lake is located approximately 18 miles northwest of Duluth, MN. There is a state administered, concrete back-in access located on the north side of the lake off Highway 53 on Lake Nichols Road. Nichols was last surveyed in 2007. Nichols was assessed during the summer of 2012 to update information about fish populations and evaluated the success of the walleye stocking program.

Currently, walleye fingerlings are stocked into Nichols at a rate of 1 pound per littoral acre (362 pounds) every odd year. Walleye abundance of 1.1 remained steady from 2007 but was below average compared to other Minnesota lakes of similar type. Walleye mean length was 16.1 inches and growth was average when compared to other Duluth Area lakes. Three year-classes were present (1995, 2007 and 2011). Eighty-nine percent of the walleyes aged corresponded to stocked year-classes. The bulk of the catch (56%) was comprised of the 2007 year-class.

A total of 30 largemouth bass were sampled by electrofishing. The largemouth bass catch rate was 48.8 fish per hour, which is much higher than what was found in 1991 (13.0), 1997 (12.9) and 2007 (13.9). Mean length of sampled bass was 15.0 inches, and growth was slow when compared to other Duluth Area lakes. All year-classes from 2001 to 2009 were represented except 2008.

Northern pike abundance of 5.5 per gillnet lift was down from 2007 (7.9) and was average compared to other Minnesota lakes of similar type. Northern pike abundance in Nichols has been relatively stable over the past eight investigations dating back to 1951 (range, 3.0-7.9). Mean length was 19.0 inches and growth was slow when compared to other Duluth Area lakes. All year-classes from 1999 to 2005 were represented in the survey except the 2000 year-class. All year-classes from 2006 to 2010 were represented.

Black crappie abundance of 3.4 per trapnet lift was up from 2007 (2.2) and was average when compared to other Minnesota lakes of similar type. Black crappie mean length was 8.6 inches and growth was slow when compared to other Duluth Area lakes. All year-classes from 2004 to 2010 were represented except the 2009 year-class.

Bluegill abundance of 7.0 per trapnet lift was average when compared to other Minnesota lakes of similar type and was much lower than 2007 (21.0). Average length of sampled bluegills was 6.1 inches and growth was slow when compared to other Duluth Area lakes. All year-classes from 2003 to 2009 were represented.

Yellow perch abundance of 1.6 per gillnet lift was below average compared to other Minnesota lakes of similar type and up from 2007 (1.2). Average length of perch was 6.4 inches and growth was slow when compared to other Duluth Area lakes. All year-classes from 2005 to 2008 were represented.

Other fish species sampled include Iowa darter, blacknose shiner, common shiner, central mudminnow, white suckers, pumpkinseed sunfish, brown bullhead, black bullhead and yellow bullhead.

Nichols Lake was included in an index of biotic integrity (IBI) assessment in 2012. In addition to standard gillnets and trapnets, beach seines and backpack electrofishing equipment were used to index species richness of the nearshore lake habitat.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
5351 North Shore Dr
Duluth, MN 55804
Phone: (218) 525-0853
Internet: Duluth Fisheries
E-Mail: Duluth.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 C1954 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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