Fisheries Lake Survey

printer friendly version

Name: Big Watab

Nearest Town: Avon
Primary County: Stearns
Survey Date: 07/14/2008
Inventory Number: 73010200
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 State owned access in Section 9 on NE end of lake. Limited number of parking spaces available (12).


Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 245.55
Littoral Area (acres): 46
Maximum Depth (ft): 123
Water Clarity (ft): 12

Dominant Bottom Substrate: Sand (Abundant)
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: 29 Varieties Sampled
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 22.4 (0-28)


Did you know? Minnesota waters support 153 species of fish.

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 Bullhead Trap net 0.11 0.3 - 1.7 1.04 0.3 - 0.9
Gill net 2.17 0.3 - 1.9 0.90 0.3 - 0.9
Black Crappie Trap net 0.33 0.5 - 2.2 0.26 0.3 - 0.5
Gill net 1.83 0.3 - 1.7 0.13 0.2 - 0.5
Bluegill Trap net 68.22 7.7 - 43.4 0.20 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 53.83 N/A 0.18 N/A
Green Sunfish Trap net 0.56 0.6 - 2.0 0.05 0.1 - 0.2
Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 5.89 N/A 0.23 N/A
Gill net 9.17 N/A 0.21 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.44 0.4 - 1.5 0.10 0.2 - 0.7
Gill net 1.83 0.5 - 1.7 0.47 0.5 - 1.2
Northern Pike Trap net 1.11 N/A 2.14 N/A
Gill net 7.00 2.2 - 8.7 1.78 1.5 - 3.2
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.22 1.4 - 5.9 0.23 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 1.33 N/A 0.18 N/A
Rainbow Trout Gill net 2.33 N/A 0.86 N/A
Rock Bass Trap net 0.44 0.8 - 3.7 0.06 0.2 - 0.4
Walleye Gill net 0.83 1.0 - 5.0 2.85 1.2 - 3.0
White Sucker Gill net 0.17 0.5 - 2.0 3.31 1.6 - 2.6
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.33 1.0 - 5.3 1.07 0.5 - 0.9
Gill net 0.83 1.0 - 6.0 0.79 0.4 - 0.7
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.11 0.4 - 2.3 0.33 0.1 - 0.2
Gill net 7.17 1.5 - 13.8 0.18 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 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 bullhead 0 4 4 6 0 0 0 0 14
black crappie 6 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 14
bluegill 279 653 0 0 0 0 0 0 937
green sunfish 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
hybrid sunfish 40 68 0 0 0 0 0 0 108
largemouth bass 1 7 6 1 0 0 0 0 15
northern pike 0 1 5 20 14 4 5 3 52
pumpkinseed 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
rainbow trout 0 0 1 13 0 0 0 0 14
rock bass 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
walleye 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 5
white sucker 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
yellow bullhead 0 1 1 6 0 0 0 0 8
yellow perch 1 38 5 0 0 0 0 0 44


For the record, the largest Golden Redhorse taken in Minnesota weighed 3 lb., 15.5 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Root River, Fillmore County
    When: 4/30/07
    Statistics: 20.125" length, 12.375" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Brown Trout adults 2,000 1,667.0
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 4,926.0
2012 Brown Trout yearlings 2,000 704.2
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 3,521.1
  Walleye yearlings 2,222 101.0
2011 Brown Trout yearlings 2,000 1,219.5
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 4,629.6
2010 Brown Trout adults 2,000 1,176.5
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 4,310.4
  Walleye fingerlings 1,400 100.0
2009 Brown Trout yearlings 600 83.2
  Brown Trout adults 1,400 1,021.9
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 4,347.8
2008 Brown Trout yearlings 2,000 276.6
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 5,464.5
  Walleye yearlings 120 44.0
  Walleye fingerlings 2,475 81.0
2007 Brown Trout yearlings 2,000 385.4
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 5,102.0
2006 Brown Trout yearlings 2,000 315.5
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 4,672.9
  Walleye fingerlings 1,436 77.0
  Walleye yearlings 57 57.0
2005 Brown Trout yearlings 2,000 246.0
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 4,784.7
2004 Brown Trout yearlings 2,000 303.0
  Rainbow Trout yearlings 10,000 4,830.9
  Walleye fingerlings 6,120 100.0

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 07/14/2008)

Big Watab is a recreational development lake located three miles south of Avon in Stearns County. There is one public access located on the northeast side. Anglers may want to note that on summer weekends the public access fills quickly in the morning and late-comers must have alternate plans. This was the first survey since 1999. The lake is deep (120 feet), clear (Secchi depth 12 feet) and well oxygenated at 40 feet (5 mg/l at 45? F). No curled pondweed was found during the June survey. Only the muskgrass group of aquatic plants was abundant and widespread. Northern milfoil and several beneficial pondweeds (bushy, clasping-leaf, floating-leaf, Illinois, and sago) were widely distributed, but rare in abundance. Plants grew out to a depth of 28 feet. Rainbow and brown trout are the primary species managed in Big Watab Lake. Rainbow trout have been stocked annually since 1989 (10,000 yearlings) and brown trout annually since 1994 (2,000 yearlings). By all accounts, the trout management has been very successful. Anglers have harvested a high percentage of stocked fish and yet some growth has been realized as well. Catch rates are highest in spring after stocking, then decline as summer temperatures force trout into the thermocline.

Some changes have been noted in the fishery since 1999. The northern pike catch increased significantly in 2008. The average weight of pike decreased from 2.7 pounds in 1999 to less than two pounds. Anglers are encouraged to harvest small pike. Otherwise, northern pike prey on stocked trout and walleye.

Walleye fingerlings have been stocked every two to three years in Big Watab Lake. The catch rate in 2008 was below the normal range for similar lakes.

Electrofishing showed that largemouth bass were abundant but small. Growth was below the statewide average: only 9.1 inches by age four and 12.5 inches by age seven. However, the sample was nearly identical to that of 1999. Anglers can expect good fishing for largemouth bass.

The historic patterns of abundance and size for bluegill and black crappie remained true in 2008. The bluegill catch was above the range of expected values, but growth was slow: more than six years to reach six inches. The black crappie catch was below the range of expected values, but the average size was similar to the statewide average.

Other species collected during the 2008 survey were hybrid, green and pumpkinseed sunfish; Iowa and Johnny darter; rock bass; brook stickleback; and bluntnose minnow. Also collected were sensitive species: blacknose, blackchin and pugnose shiner, least darter and banded killifish.


For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
7372 State Hwy 25 SW
Montrose, MN 55363
Phone: (763) 675-3301
Internet: Montrose Fisheries
E-Mail: Montrose.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 C0768 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