Fisheries Lake Survey

printer friendly version

Name: Lower Prior

Nearest Town: Grainwood
Primary County: Scott
Survey Date: 07/23/2012
Inventory Number: 70002600
Buy your walleye stamp todayPurchase a walleye stamp. Your voluntary contribution will be used to support walleye stocking.

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
DNR Concrete


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 956.16
Littoral Area (acres): 373
Maximum Depth (ft): 60
Water Clarity (ft): 9.5 (8-10.5)

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


Did you know? There are 15,000 miles of fishable streams in Minnesota, including 2,600 miles of trout streams.

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 0.25 0.6 - 9.5 0.82 0.5 - 0.8
Black Crappie Trap net 0.83 0.7 - 3.2 0.28 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 0.75 0.5 - 2.7 0.30 0.2 - 0.4
Bluegill Trap net 13.08 5.6 - 42.3 0.18 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 8.38 N/A 0.25 N/A
Brown Bullhead Trap net 0.17 0.3 - 1.5 1.52 0.6 - 1.0
Gill net 0.38 0.3 - 2.2 1.27 0.6 - 1.0
Green Sunfish Trap net 0.17 0.2 - 0.9 0.08 0.1 - 0.2
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 0.33 N/A 0.23 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.33 0.3 - 1.1 0.75 0.2 - 0.9
Gill net 0.50 0.3 - 1.2 0.41 0.5 - 1.1
Northern Pike Trap net 0.42 N/A 3.49 N/A
Gill net 2.88 3.1 - 8.5 4.15 1.5 - 2.7
Pumpkinseed Trap net 3.33 1.7 - 8.2 0.22 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 1.25 N/A 0.27 N/A
Walleye Gill net 4.50 1.3 - 5.5 1.35 1.2 - 2.4
White Bass Gill net 2.62 0.7 - 1.7 1.73 N/A
White Sucker Trap net 0.42 0.2 - 1.0 2.36 1.7 - 2.9
Gill net 1.50 0.5 - 3.5 2.76 1.6 - 2.4
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.08 1.5 - 7.7 1.05 0.5 - 0.8
Gill net 9.00 0.9 - 10.0 0.95 0.5 - 0.7
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.17 0.5 - 2.7 0.27 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 0.62 2.5 - 24.2 0.27 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 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 1 0 0 0 0 2
black crappie 2 10 3 0 0 0 0 0 16
bluegill 84 136 0 0 0 0 0 0 224
brown bullhead 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 5
green sunfish 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
hybrid sunfish 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
largemouth bass 1 2 3 2 0 0 0 0 8
northern pike 0 0 0 0 3 10 10 2 28
pumpkinseed 15 34 0 0 0 0 0 0 50
walleye 0 1 1 11 17 2 1 0 36
white bass 0 0 0 2 18 0 0 0 21
white sucker 0 1 0 0 12 2 0 0 17
yellow bullhead 0 0 41 31 0 0 0 0 73
yellow perch 0 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 7


For the record, the largest Black Buffalo taken in Minnesota weighed 20 lbs., 0.5 oz. and was caught:

    Where: 20.0" girth
    When: Minnesota River, Nicollet County
    Statistics: 34.2" length

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye fingerlings 11,507 397.0
2011 Walleye2 fingerlings 5,697 191.8
  Walleye fingerlings 6,132 219.0
2009 Walleye yearlings 243 58.0
  Walleye fingerlings 13,102 543.5
  Walleye adults 119 113.0
2007 Walleye adults 5 17.0
  Walleye fingerlings 4,923 567.3
2005 Walleye1 fingerlings 20,559 743.8

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
LOWER PRIOR
Scott Co., 70002600
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Bullhead   All sizes     Mercury
Carp   All sizes     Mercury
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Largemouth Bass   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
Walleye   shorter than 17" 17" or longer   Mercury

General Population

LAKE NAME
County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
LOWER PRIOR
Scott Co., 70002600
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Bullhead All sizes        
Carp All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Largemouth Bass   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   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 07/23/2012)

Lower Prior is a 956-acre lake located in the city of Prior Lake, Scott County. Maximum depth is 60 feet and littoral area (<15 ft) covers 39% of the lake. Lower Prior is connected via a navigable channel to Upper Prior Lake, which is south/upstream of Lower Prior; "Prior Lake" is a reference to either or both basins. Prior is a highly developed lake and is primarily managed for walleye and largemouth bass. In 2009, zebra mussels were confirmed in Prior Lake. A standard population assessment was conducted during July 2012 to characterize the fish community in the lake. Population assessments have been completed every other year since 1996.

In 2012, walleye abundance (4.5/ gill net) was higher than the previous assessment in 2010 (3.1/gill net) and was the highest observed since 1996 (8.0/net). Catch has remained relatively stable over the last 15 years averaging 4.1/net between 1996 and 2010. Size structure was balanced with 59% measuring 15 inches or longer and 8% at 20 inches or longer. Mean length and weight were 15.6 inches and 1.23 lbs, with the largest measuring 25.1 inches and 4.69 lbs. The 2012 sample was dominated (75%) by the strong 2009 (age 3) year class. Nineteen percent were age 5 and one age-1 and one age-11 walleye were sampled. All walleye ages corresponded to stocked years, indicating a low probability of natural reproduction. Growth was faster than the statewide average. Walleye reached 14.9 inches at age 3 and 18.2 inches at age-5. Walleye continue to be stocked in odd-numbered years.

Lower Prior Lake has a low-density northern pike population with a relatively large size structure. Pike abundance (2.9/gill net) was below the 25th percentile compared to other similar lakes. Historically (1996-2010), abundance has ranged from 1.1 - 7.6/gill net, averaging 4.2/net. Size structure was skewed toward larger individuals where 90% were 21 inches or longer and 29% were 28 inches or longer. Mean length and weight were 25.2 inches and 3.61 lbs, with the largest measuring 31.3 inches and 6.13 lbs. Ages ranged from 2 to 7. Eighty-three percent were between ages 3 through 5. Growth was faster than the statewide average. Northern pike were 21.3 inches by age 3 and 27.0 inches by age 5.

Bluegill are moderately low in abundance (13.1/trap net) when compared to other similar lakes. The 2012 catch was lower than the previous assessment in 2010 (22.5/net) and below the long-term (1996-2010) average of 43.5/net. Size structure was balanced with 56% measuring 6 inches or longer and 3% at 8 inches or longer. Mean length and weight were 6.0 inches and 0.18 lbs, with the largest measuring 8.9 inches and 0.56 lbs. Ages ranged from 1 to 8. Eighty-six percent of all bluegill sampled were relatively evenly distributed between ages 2 through 5. Growth was near the statewide average. Bluegill grew to 5.3 inches by age 3 and to 7.9 inches by age 6.

Black crappie were not sampled in abundance. They were caught at rates of 0.83/ trap net and 0.75/ gill net, both near the 25th percentiles when compared to other similar lakes. Catch rates have been typically low for black crappie in Lower Prior Lake. From 1996-2010, trap nets have averaged 4.2/net and gill nets averaged 2.1/net. Nine of the 12 black crappie sampled were 8 inches or longer and one was over 10 inches. Seventy-one percent of the black crappie sampled were from the 2009 year class. Ages 2 and 4 were also present. Age-3 (2009 year class) fish averaged 8.1 inches.

White bass have been sampled in 5 of the previous 8 assessments (1996-2012) and in each of the last 3. In 2012, white bass abundance was the highest on record and considered high (2.6/ gill net) compared to other similar lakes. Mean length and weight were 15.8 inches and 1.66 lbs. The largest measured 16.7 inches and 1.92 lbs.

Passive sampling gear, such as trap and gill nets, are not effective methods for collecting largemouth bass, so the data presented is not necessarily representative of the entire population. Electrofishing is the typical method for largemouth bass assessments but was not conducted. In 2012, 8 largemouth bass were sampled in nets. Average length and weight of bass in both gears was 9.7 inches and 0.63 lbs. The longest measured 14.2 inches.

Yellow perch were sampled in low abundance. The catch rate of 0.6/gill net was below the 25th percentile compared to other similar lakes. The five yellow perch netted ranged from 6.8 to 8.9 inches. Historically, yellow perch have been low in abundance in Lower Prior Lake. From 1996-2010, gill net catch ranged from 1.1 to 8.7/net, averaging 3.7/net.

Yellow bullhead were abundant in the gill nets. At 9.0/net, catch was near the 75th percentile compared to other similar lakes. Yellow bullhead ranged from 10.2 to 14.9 inches, averaging 11.9 inches. Other species sampled in low abundance were black bullhead, brown bullhead, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed, and white sucker.

An assessment of fish in the shallow, nearshore habitats was also conducted in 2012. Using backpack electrofishing and seining, 8 species were sampled including Johnny darter, bluegill, bluntnose minnow, golden shiner, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, largemouth bass, and pumpkinseed. The purpose of the nearshore sampling is to calculate an Index of Biotic Integrity score. An Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) is estimated based on all fish sampled in this assessment (including gill nets and trap nets). The absence of sensitive species such as minnows and darters contribute to a low IBI score. Upper Prior Lake scored 51.7 out of a maximum of 160, indicating possible water quality and habitat impairment is occurring.

Lower Prior is a fertile lake in a developed watershed that gets heavy recreational use. Accordingly, water quality and fish community characteristics are sub-optimal. In 2009, the invasive aquatic species zebra mussel was confirmed in both basins of Prior Lake. In late May 2012, some dead fish (mostly crappie) were reported. This small-scale die-off was likely a result of fish-specific bacterial mortality; these conditions can periodically occur in fertile waters during the first large water-temperature increase in late spring-early summer.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
7050 E Hwy 101, Suite 100
Shakopee, MN 55379
Phone: (952) 496-4141
Internet: West Metro Fisheries
E-Mail: MetroWest.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 B0291 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

Tip Logo    Turn in Poachers (TIP):

    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093