Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Beaver

Nearest Town: Ellendale
Primary County: Steele
Survey Date: 07/09/2012
Inventory Number: 74002300
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Concrete East side of lake in county park

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 97.95
Littoral Area (acres): 42
Maximum Depth (ft): 27
Water Clarity (ft): 5.4 (5-5.8)

Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): 8.4 (8-9)

Did you know? Each year, the MinnAqua program teaches youth and families across Minnesota about aquatic biology, fishing, and conservation..

Fish Sampled for the 2012 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Crappie Trap net 3.00 0.9 - 8.0 0.21 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 6.00 0.8 - 8.4 0.29 0.1 - 0.3
Bluegill Trap net 94.50 5.9 - 43.3 0.17 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 23.50 N/A 0.30 N/A
Channel Catfish Trap net 0.12 N/A 1.44 N/A
Hybrid Sunfish Gill net 0.50 N/A 0.36 N/A
Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.38 0.3 - 1.0 0.91 0.3 - 1.2
Gill net 0.50 0.3 - 1.5 2.09 0.4 - 1.1
Northern Pike Gill net 0.50 2.3 - 9.2 6.48 1.5 - 2.7
Pumpkinseed Trap net 0.12 1.5 - 9.1 0.23 0.1 - 0.2
Walleye Trap net 0.75 0.3 - 0.8 2.04 1.0 - 3.6
Gill net 7.50 1.2 - 5.3 1.87 1.1 - 2.6
White Crappie Trap net 0.12 0.3 - 3.5 0.21 0.3 - 0.4
Gill net 4.00 0.5 - 4.8 0.27 0.2 - 0.4
White Sucker Trap net 0.25 0.3 - 1.3 2.03 1.6 - 2.9
Gill net 3.50 0.5 - 3.3 1.52 1.6 - 2.4
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.50 2.4 - 9.1 0.62 0.5 - 0.8
Gill net 1.00 1.0 - 8.0 0.97 0.4 - 0.7
Yellow Perch Trap net 0.25 0.5 - 3.7 0.09 0.1 - 0.3
Gill net 1.00 3.7 - 28.4 0.21 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 crappie 4 26 6 0 0 0 0 0 36
bluegill 411 385 0 0 0 0 0 0 803
channel catfish 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1
hybrid sunfish 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
largemouth bass 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4
northern pike 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
pumpkinseed 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
walleye 0 2 1 4 10 4 0 0 21
white crappie 0 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 9
white sucker 0 0 0 4 4 0 0 0 9
yellow bullhead 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 6
yellow perch 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4

For the record, the largest Northern Pike (Silver Phase) taken in Minnesota weighed 18 lbs., 14 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Disappointment Lake, Lake County
    When: 6/28/78
    Statistics: 42" length, 19" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2013 Walleye 21,056 24.0
2012 Walleye 21,000 21.0
2011 Walleye 22,034 22.6
2010 Walleye 21,005 20.9
2008 Walleye 15,880 9.1
2007 Walleye* fingerlings 1,131 85.0
2006 Walleye* fingerlings 1,253 94.0
2005 Walleye fingerlings 700 100.0
2004 Walleye fingerlings 1,132 80.9

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

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Steele Co., 74002300
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Largemouth Bass   All sizes     Mercury
Northern Pike     All sizes   Mercury
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Steele Co., 74002300
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye 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.

PCBS - Polychlorinated biphenyls
PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfanate

Status of the Fishery (as of 07/09/2012)

Beaver Lake is a 94-acre lake located in Steele County near the Town of Ellendale. Residential development has disturbed and altered much of Beaver Lake's shoreline, as the density of houses around the lake is high. In areas with residential development, lawns are typically maintained to the shores edge. Despite extensive shoreline modifications, Beaver Lake maintains above average water quality for this area of Minnesota. Beaver Lake is rare in that it supports a diverse and abundant aquatic vegetation community which provides valuable cover and spawning habitat for several fish species. A county owned boat access is located on the east side of the lake. Beaver Lakes sport fish community consists of black crappie, bluegill, walleye, largemouth bass, white crappie and yellow perch. The walleye population is maintained through stocking, as walleye frylings are stocked annually at a rate of 21,000/year. A lake population assessment was conducted the week of 7-9-2012 to monitor the fish community of Beaver Lake using 2 gill nets and 8 trap nets.

Water quality indicators were collected on 7-9-2012. Beaver Lake water was relatively clear for this area and this time of year with a secchi depth reading of 5.0 ft. The lake is situated in a watershed with abundant agricultural fields; therefore it tends to be highly productive. The water appeared green and was likely a result of an algae bloom. A temperature and dissolved oxygen profile was taken. Dissolved oxygen ranged from 8.4 ppm at the water's surface to 0.0 ppm at 20.0 ft. Thermal stratification of the water column occurred between 13 and 14 ft of depth as evidenced by a drop in temperature from 77.5 to 75.0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bluegills and black crappies are the primary management species at Beaver Lake. Black crappie catch rates have steadily declined over the last two decades from 19.7, 13.7, 8.3, and 3.0/ trap net in 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012, respectively. The observed catch rate of 3.0/trap net in 2012 was about average for similarly classified lakes. Five year classes of black crappie were sampled in Beaver Lake (2007 - 2011). Twenty-eight percent of black crappies were from the 2009 year class (age-3), 39% were from the 2008 year class (age-4), and 22% were from the 2007 year class (age-5). Black crappies tended to be small as lengths ranged from 3.2 to 10.2 inches and averaged 7.2 inches. Black crappie growth rates were average when compared to other lakes in the area. Age-1, age-2, age-3, age-4, and age-5 black crappies averaged 3.2, 6.0, 6.8, 7.5, and 9.1 inches in length, respectively.

Bluegill catch rates in Beaver Lake have historically been very high; greatly exceeding what would be expected in similar lakes. Since 1997, catch rates of bluegills in trap nets have been at or above 84.1/ trap net. High catch rates continued in 2012, as bluegills were captured at a rate of 94.5/ trap net, which is high when compared to similar lakes. The bluegill population is relatively young as age-2 (2010 year class) and age-3 (2011 year class) bluegills made up nearly two-thirds of the of the catch. Age-4, age-5, and age-6 bluegills comprised 11%, 14%, and 10% of the catch. The oldest bluegills captured were estimated to be age-7 (2005 year class). Age-0 and age-1 bluegills were not sampled, likely because they were too small to be sampled by the gears used. Although the bluegill population is young, the size structure was fair as 44% of the bluegills captured were over 6.0 inches long. Bluegills ranged in length from 3.0 to 8.4 inches and averaged 5.8 inches. Growth of bluegills in Beaver Lake appears to be average, when compared to other area lakes. Bluegills averaged 4.1 inches at age-2, 5.0 inches at age-3, 6.5 inches at age-4, 7.1 inches at age-5, 8.0 inches at age-6, and 8.3 inches at age-7.

Secondary management species in Beaver Lake include walleye and largemouth bass. Largemouth bass are not effectively sampled using gill nets and trap nets, so the numbers given do not accurately represent the largemouth bass population. Four largemouth bass were captured in gill nets and trap nets, ranging from 5.4 to 16.7 inches in length, and represented 3 year classes (2007, 2008, and 2011; age-5, age-4, and age-1).

Walleye management in Beaver Lake is primarily accomplished through annual fryling stocking at a rate of 21,000/year. Walleye frylings are around 1 to 1.5 inches in length as opposed to walleye fry which are around 0.25 inches long. In the 2012 population assessment, walleyes were captured at a rate of 7.5/ gill net, which is higher than lakes similar to Beaver. The 2012 catch rate of 7.5/ gill net was down from 12.0/ gill net in the 2007 survey. Annual fryling stocking appears to be successful, as 7 year classes were sampled (2005 - 2011). Walleye ages ranged from 1 to 7 years old with age-6 walleyes (2006 year class) representing one-third of the walleyes sampled. Walleyes sampled ranged from 8.5 to 24.2 inches in length and averaged 16.9 inches. Mean length at age estimates indicated good growth of walleye in Beaver Lake with average lengths being 8.7 inches at age-1, 12.5 inches at age-2, 14.2 inches at age-3, 16.5 inches at age-4, 18.1 inches at age-5, 19.4 inches at age-6, and 21.8 inches at age-7.

One 16.5 inch channel catfish was captured during the population assessment. This is the first time that a channel catfish has been captured in a Beaver Lake assessment. Common carp catch rates have historically been low and the trend continued in 2012 as no common carp were captured. One age-4 northern pike was sampled, which is consistent with past surveys. Nine white crappies ranging in length from 7.5 to 9.2 inches were captured. This is the first time that white crappies have been sampled in an assessment. Black and white crappies can be distinguished based on the number of spines on their dorsal fin (back). Black crappies will have 7-8 dorsal spines, and white crappies will have 5-6 dorsal spines. Hybrid sunfish, white sucker, yellow bullhead, yellow perch, and pumpkinseed were present but occurred in low numbers.

Anglers can help maintain or improve the quality of fishing by practicing selective harvest. Selective harvest allows for the harvest of smaller fish for table fare, but encourages release of medium- to large-sized fish. Releasing these fish can help maintain balance in the fish community in Beaver Lake and provide anglers the opportunity to catch more and larger fish in the future.

Shoreline areas on the land and into the shallow water provide essential habitat for fish and wildlife that live in or near Minnesota's lakes. Overdeveloped shorelines cannot support the fish, wildlife, and clean water that are associated with natural undeveloped lakes. Shoreline habitat consists of aquatic plants, woody plants, and natural lake bottom soils.

Plants in the water and at the water's edge provide habitat, prevent erosion, and absorb excess nutrients. Shrubs, trees, and woody debris such as fallen trees or limbs provide good habitat both above and below the water and should be left in place. By leaving a buffer strip of natural vegetation along the shoreline, property owners can reduce erosion, help maintain water quality, and provide habitat and travel corridors for wildlife.

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
PO Box 86
50317 Fish Hatchery Rd
Waterville, MN 56096-0086
Phone: (507) 362-4223
Internet: Waterville Fisheries

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 C0767 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

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    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093