Fisheries Lake Survey

printer friendly version

Name: Traverse

Nearest Town: Browns Valley
Primary County: Traverse
Survey Date: 09/06/2013
Inventory Number: 78002500
Buy your walleye stamp todayPurchase a walleye stamp. Your voluntary contribution will be used to support walleye stocking.

Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
Private Property Concrete Wing-n-Fin Resort (Private). Concrete ramp and marina. Located four miles north of Browns Valley
Bordering State Concrete Jensen Island Access. SDGFP concrete ramp and dock located 11 miles NE of Sisseton
DNR Concrete Traverse Lake Access
County Concrete Traverse County Park Access
DNR Concrete Rainbow Island Access
DNR Concrete Bill Halls Access. Concrete ramp and dock located 6 miles south and 8 miles west of Wheaton
Corps of Engineers Concrete Mustinka River Access
Bordering State Earthen Diamond Area. SDGFP gravel ramp. Located 17 miles NE of Sisseton
Bordering State Concrete Waldo Area. SDGFP concrete ramp and dock. Located 13 miles NE of Sisseton
Private Property Concrete Circle K Resort (Private)

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 5683.06
Littoral Area (acres): 10848.5
Maximum Depth (ft): 12
Water Clarity (ft): 4.9 (2.5-10)

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

Did you know? Minnesota has 11,482 lakes 10 acres or larger, of which 5,483 are fishing lakes. Excluding Lake Superior, the state has 3.8 million acres of fishing water. Minnesota's portion of Lake Superior is 1.4 million acres.

Fish Sampled for the 2013 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Black Bullhead Gill net 2.00 0.86
Black Crappie Gill net 0.50 1.14
Bluegill Gill net 2.50 0.62
Channel Catfish Gill net 9.50 2.94
Freshwater Drum Gill net 4.67 0.94
Northern Pike Gill net 1.33 1.98
Shorthead Redhorse Gill net 3.50 1.94
Smallmouth Bass Gill net 0.33 0.82
Walleye Gill net 15.00 2.10
White Bass Gill net 34.17 1.16
White Crappie Gill net 0.33 1.35
White Sucker Gill net 1.67 2.56
Yellow Bullhead Gill net 1.83 0.95
Yellow Perch Gill net 23.33 0.36
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 bullhead 0 1 5 6 0 0 0 0 12
black crappie 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3
bluegill 1 10 4 0 0 0 0 0 15
channel catfish 0 0 2 12 22 9 9 3 57
freshwater drum 7 0 1 16 4 0 0 0 28
northern pike 0 0 0 0 4 3 1 0 8
shorthead redhorse 0 0 0 3 18 0 0 0 21
smallmouth bass 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
walleye 0 1 1 11 57 19 1 0 90
white bass 8 26 0 139 32 0 0 0 205
white crappie 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
white sucker 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 10
yellow bullhead 0 0 7 4 0 0 0 0 11
yellow perch 5 76 58 1 0 0 0 0 140

For the record, the largest Flathead Catfish taken in Minnesota weighed 70 lbs. and was caught:

    Where: St. Croix River
    When: 1970

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2014 walleye fry 6,000,000 51.7
2013 Walleye fry 6,000,000 49.0
2011 Walleye fry 6,000,000 51.6
2009 Walleye fry 6,060,000 55.1
2007 Walleye fry 5,900,000 48.8
2005 Walleye fry 6,000,000 49.2

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

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Traverse Co., 78002500
Bluegill Sunfish   All sizes     Mercury
Buffalo   All sizes     Mercury
Bullhead   All sizes     Mercury
Carp   All sizes     Mercury
Crappie   All sizes     Mercury
Freshwater Drum All sizes        
Northern Pike   All sizes     Mercury
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Bass   All sizes     Mercury
White Sucker   All sizes     Mercury
Yellow Perch   All sizes     Mercury

General Population

County, DOWID
Species Meal Advice Contaminants
Unrestricted 1 meal/week 1 meal/month Do not eat
Traverse Co., 78002500
Bluegill Sunfish All sizes        
Buffalo All sizes        
Bullhead All sizes        
Carp All sizes        
Crappie All sizes        
Freshwater Drum All sizes        
Northern Pike All sizes        
Walleye   All sizes     Mercury
White Bass   All sizes     Mercury
White Sucker All sizes        
Yellow Perch 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 09/06/2013)

Traverse Lake is located in western Minnesota just north of Browns Valley. It is a narrow lake that measures 16 miles long and up to two miles wide. Traverse has a surface area of 11,528 acres and a maximum depth of 12 feet. It is a highly productive lake and a popular recreational destination in west-central Minnesota. Anglers should study the lake's contour map before boating as shallow reef areas exist, especially near the islands and in the northwest portion of the lake. Traverse is a Minnesota-South Dakota border water and is subject to border water fishing regulations. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks cooperatively manage the fishery.

Traverse Lake provides a high quality walleye fishery. Walleye were moderately abundant during 2013 with fish present from a wide range of sizes. Walleye were especially abundant from 15-20 inches. Good numbers of trophy-sized walleye were also reported by anglers. The walleye population has been maintained by natural reproduction and supplemental fry stocking. Walleye fry are normally stocked during alternate years, but the schedule is adjusted as needed based on walleye abundance, fish condition, and available forage. Fry stocking maintained the walleye population from 2003-05, whereas natural reproduction has produced the vast majority of the walleye since 2006. Fry stocking and natural reproduction both contributed to what appears to be a good 2013 year class.

Pike abundance appeared to decrease in abundance from 2012 and low numbers pike were present from 18-27 inches. Pike growth has been fast, but they die young and fish older than age four are rarely sampled. Pike experience natural reproduction in Traverse Lake and its tributaries. They can also migrate into Traverse from Mud Lake during high flows.

A moderate bluegill population was present. Anglers have reported catching bluegills in excess of 10 inches during recent years. The mid-lake rock piles are good fishing locations for them.

Yellow bullheads can commonly be caught at the Mustinka Bridge near the northeast corner of Traverse. Yellow bullheads have a round tail and white barbells on their lower jaw. Bullheads measuring up to 14 inches were present.

Channel catfish have been abundant during recent years, including fish up to 30 inches.

Traverse Lake can provide good fishing for white bass and freshwater drum. These species are well suited to the habitat conditions and they frequently experience good natural reproduction. Both species have a delicate white flesh and provide excellent table fair. Their flavor can be further improved by trimming the reddish "mud line" meat from the fillets when cleaning. Anglers are encouraged to harvest and consume them. Excellent recipes for preparing drum can be located on the internet by searching "drum recipes".

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
811 Pine St
Ortonville, MN 56278
Phone: (320) 839-2656
Internet: Ortonville 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 B0284 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

Tip Logo    Turn in Poachers (TIP):

    Toll-free: (800) 652-9093