Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Elbow

Nearest Town: Gheen
Primary County: St. Louis
Survey Date: 07/22/2013
Inventory Number: 69074400
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Concrete Located on SW end of lake off County Road #426. Limited parking.
DNR Gravel Located at the end of the Elbow Lake State Forest Road. Limited


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 1695.11
Littoral Area (acres): 664
Maximum Depth (ft): 60
Water Clarity (ft): 6.7 (6.5-6.8)

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


Did you know? MinnAqua Fishing: Get in the Habitat! has a Minnesota-base activity guide for teachers, scout and 4-H leaders, youth leaders, outdoor sports groups, or anyone interested in teaching others about habitat, stewardship and fishing.

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 0.67 1.6 - 3.3 0.14 0.2 - 0.7
Bluegill Trap net 8.42 0.8 - 8.7 0.22 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 0.33 N/A 0.15 N/A
Cisco Species Gill net 0.75 N/A 0.16 N/A
Golden Shiner Trap net 0.08 N/A 0.08 N/A
Lake Whitefish Gill net 1.33 0.2 - 3.0 3.84 0.9 - 3.0
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.17 0.1 - 0.7 0.09 0.1 - 1.0
Northern Pike Trap net 0.17 N/A 2.06 N/A
Gill net 0.67 1.2 - 3.6 4.40 1.9 - 3.6
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.33 0.5 - 3.4 0.25 0.1 - 0.3
Rock Bass Trap net 0.25 0.3 - 1.0 0.22 0.2 - 0.3
Smallmouth Bass Gill net 0.50 0.3 - 0.7 0.27 0.5 - 1.3
Walleye Trap net 0.58 0.3 - 1.3 1.07 0.5 - 1.4
Gill net 2.33 3.1 - 9.8 0.81 0.7 - 1.3
White Sucker Trap net 0.08 0.3 - 3.0 2.12 1.8 - 2.8
Gill net 2.25 2.8 - 6.7 2.24 1.3 - 2.0
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.75 0.4 - 1.9 0.39 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 0.42 1.9 - 7.1 0.21 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 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 8
bluegill 34 71 0 0 0 0 0 0 105
cisco species 0 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 9
golden shiner 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
lake whitefish 0 0 0 1 4 11 0 0 16
largemouth bass 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
northern pike 0 0 0 0 1 5 2 2 10
pumpkinseed 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
rock bass 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
smallmouth bass 3 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 6
walleye 0 6 5 13 11 0 0 0 35
white sucker 0 2 1 2 22 1 0 0 28
yellow perch 4 7 1 2 0 0 0 0 14


For the record, the largest Burbot taken in Minnesota weighed 19 lbs., 3 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Lake of the Woods near Baudette
    When: Lake of the Woods County
    Statistics: 36.25" length, 22.75" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2012 Walleye2 fingerlings 16,095 996.0
2010 Walleye1 fingerlings 15,723 995.8
2008 Walleye fingerlings 34,857 995.9
2006 Walleye1 fingerlings 26,960 999.9
2004 Walleye fingerlings 13,352 667.6

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
ELBOW
St. Louis Co., 69074400
Northern Pike     shorter than 29" 29" 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
ELBOW
St. Louis Co., 69074400
Northern Pike   shorter than 24" 24" or longer   Mercury
Walleye   shorter than 19" 19" or longer   Mercury
White Sucker   All sizes     Mercury

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 07/22/2013)

Elbow is a 1,659 acre, class 7 lake located 7 miles SE of Orr, MN. Maximum depth is approximately 60 feet and 40 percent of the lake is less than 15 feet deep. The water is bog-stained and infertile. Bass, Northern Pike, Panfish, and Walleye dominate the sport-fish community, but the various fisheries investigations on Elbow Lake have generally indicated low abundance.

Fisheries management has primarily focused on species introductions and maintenance stocking. From 1933 to 1955 fry (Walleye) and fingerlings (Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass and Crappie) were stocked in small numbers. Nine times between 1957 and 1980 Walleye fry or frylings were stocked with limited success. Beginning in 1977 until present, Walleye fingerlings were stocked on a biennial basis with better results and more contributions to recruitment.

Black Crappie trap-net abundance was below the normal range for this lake class. Length in trap nets ranged from 4.6 to 7.7 inches and the mean was 6.3. Only three year-classes were present and age ranged from 2 to 4. Eighty-eight percent of the sample was from the 2010 and 2011 year-classes. Only a small sample of fish were available for determining growth rate, but it appeared to be well below the area mean; which was not surprising as Elbow Lake has a history of slow-growing Black Crappie. The mean weight was 0.14 pounds, which was below the normal range for this lake class.

Bluegill trap-net abundance was near the top of the normal range for this lake class. Abundance was a slight decrease from the record set during previous investigation, but was still the second highest value ever recorded for Elbow Lake. Mean length in trap nets was 6.3 inches with a range from 3.2 to 8.9. Many year-classes were present and age ranged from 2 to 8. Thirty-seven percent of the Bluegill captured in trap nets were from the 2008 year-class. Growth was below the area average. The mean weight was 0.22 pounds, which was within the normal range for this lake class.

Northern Pike gill-net abundance was below the normal range for this lake class, but within the range observed in Elbow Lake since the mid 1980's. Length ranged from 20.0 to 34.7 inches and the mean was 26.3. The mean weight was 4.40 pounds, which was well above the normal range for lake class 7.

Walleye gill-net abundance was below the normal range for class 7 lakes, but was within the range historically observed in Elbow Lake. Mean length was 12.9 inches with a range from 7.1 to 19.3. Six year-classes were present and age ranged from 1-9 years. Age-5 fish were the most prominent and represented 39 percent of sample. Ninety-three percent of the Walleyes that were aged were from years that were stocked. Elbow Lake has benefitted from fingerling stocking; natural reproduction is likely not enough to maintain an acceptable sport-fishery. In 2012, growth was much lower than the area mean. The mean weight was 0.81 pounds, which was within the normal range for class 7 lakes.

Yellow Perch gill-net abundance was well below the normal range for this lake type and the second lowest level ever observed in Elbow Lake. Abundance has generally been low for several decades. In 2013, mean length in gill nets was 7.3 inches with a range from 5.7 to 8.7. Growth was similar to the area mean. Four year-classes were present and age ranged from 3-7 years. The mean weight was within the normal range for this lake type.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
392 Hwy 11 E
International Falls, MN 56649
Phone: (218) 286-5220
Internet: International Falls Fisheries
E-Mail: InternationalFalls.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 B0425 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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