Fisheries Lake Survey

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Name: Kansas

Nearest Town: Saint James
Primary County: Watonwan
Survey Date: 07/15/2013
Inventory Number: 83003600
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Public Access Information

Ownership Type Description
County Concrete See map - T105N

Lake Characteristics

Lake Area (acres): 402.87
Littoral Area (acres): 402.87
Maximum Depth (ft): 7
Water Clarity (ft): .7 (.5-.9)

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

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

Fish Sampled for the 2013 Survey Year


Gear Used

Number of fish per net

Average Fish Weight (lbs)

Normal Range (lbs)


Normal Range

Bigmouth Buffalo Trap net 2.11 0.2 - 1.0 8.65 2.6 - 5.8
Gill net 0.67 0.8 - 7.0 7.83 N/A
Black Bullhead Trap net 7.67 11.5 - 132.6 0.43 0.2 - 0.4
Gill net 12.33 30.3 - 150.6 0.47 0.2 - 0.4
Black Crappie Trap net 0.44 1.2 - 20.5 0.55 0.2 - 0.5
Gill net 0.33 1.4 - 13.8 0.73 0.2 - 0.4
Bluegill Trap net 1.11 1.2 - 20.0 0.47 0.1 - 0.4
Common Carp Trap net 1.11 1.0 - 5.5 4.76 1.4 - 4.6
Gill net 3.33 1.0 - 13.8 5.40 0.8 - 3.7
Green Sunfish Trap net 0.11 0.2 - 1.9 0.08 0.1 - 0.2
Northern Pike Trap net 0.11 N/A 2.37 N/A
Walleye Trap net 0.56 0.5 - 3.0 1.17 0.8 - 2.3
Gill net 10.33 2.3 - 18.1 1.45 1.0 - 2.3
White Sucker Trap net 1.78 0.3 - 2.6 1.74 1.0 - 2.0
Gill net 3.00 0.8 - 6.5 1.97 0.9 - 2.0
Yellow Bullhead Trap net 0.22 0.5 - 2.5 0.87 0.3 - 0.7
Gill net 0.33 0.5 - 3.5 1.07 0.3 - 0.7
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
bigmouth buffalo 0 0 0 0 1 11 7 2 21
black bullhead 1 24 80 1 0 0 0 0 106
black crappie 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 5
bluegill 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 10
common carp 0 0 0 0 8 8 3 0 20
green sunfish 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
northern pike 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
walleye 0 0 14 4 12 5 0 0 36
white sucker 1 0 0 4 20 0 0 0 25
yellow bullhead 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3

For the record, the largest River Redhorse taken in Minnesota weighed 12 lbs., 10 oz. and was caught:

    Where: Kettle River, Pine County
    When: 5/20/05
    Statistics: 28.38" length, 20" girth

Fish Stocking Activity

Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years

Year Species Size Number Pounds
2015 Walleye fry 200,660 1.8
2014 northern pike fingerlings 3,956 33.8
  walleye fry 205,291 1.9
  yellow perch adults 4,000 160.0
2012 Walleye fry 200,246 1.8
2011 Northern Pike fingerlings 3,980 33.2
  Walleye fry 200,584 1.8
2010 Walleye fry 200,084 1.8
2009 Walleye yearlings 15 10.0
  Walleye fingerlings 9,921 362.0
  Walleye adults 57 33.0
2008 Northern Pike fry 101,917 1.7
  Northern Pike fingerlings 3,912 22.4
  Walleye fry 397,976 3.2
2007 Northern Pike fingerlings 782 13.0
  Walleye1 fingerlings 4,139 398.0
2006 Walleye1 fingerlings 9,950 398.0

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

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 07/15/2013)

INTRODUCTION Kansas Lake is a 398-acre, class 43 lake located in Watonwan County, approximately 5 miles southwest of the City of St. James. Kansas Lake has a mean depth of 5.0 ft. and a maximum depth of 7.0 ft. Like many other lakes in southern Minnesota, Kansas Lake's water quality was poor. The watershed of Kansas Lake is dominated by agriculture, likely resulting in large influxes of nutrients, which cause severe algae blooms. Historically, Kansas Lake has been prone to winterkill. The most recent winterkill occurred during the winter of 2007-2008, but was only a partial kill, as ice out nets captured 6 species of fish in 2008. Following the winterkill, Kansas Lake was stocked with walleye and northern pike. Kansas Lake is primarily managed for walleye, and secondarily managed for northern pike, yellow perch, and black crappie. Walleye fry have been stocked 3 out of 4 years beginning in 2010 (2010, 2011, and 2012). Northern pike fingerlings have also been stocked periodically including 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2011. The sport fish community in Kansas Lake consists of walleye, northern pike, black crappie, and yellow perch. A population assessment was conducted during the week of July 15, 2013 to monitor fish populations using three gill nets and nine trap nets.

WALLEYE Prior to 1997, walleye catch rates were relatively stable in Kansas Lake, ranging from 31.2 to 32.7 per gill net for three consecutive surveys (1989, 1993, and 1997), and averaging 31.7 per gill net. Thereafter, catch rates decreased and variability in catch rates increased, as catch rates ranged from 4.4 per gill net in 2001 to 19.3 per gill net in 2009, with an average of 9.9 per gill net. Since the drastic decline in 2001, walleye catch rates rebounded to 19.3 per gill net in 2009. Since the 2009 survey, the walleye catch rate has decreased to 10.3 per gill net in 2013. The high catch rate in 2009 was likely a result of the post winterkill stocking in the spring of 2008. Nearly 90 percent of the walleyes captured in 2009 were less than 13 inches in length, likely corresponding to the 2008 stocking. The 2013 walleye catch rate of 10.3 per gill net was within the expected range of catch rates (2.3 to 18.1 per gill net) for similar lakes. A population abundance model was used to estimate the 2013 population size for Kansas Lake based on gill net catches of walleye. The model estimated that there are between 4,796 and 10,400 walleyes in Kansas Lake. Age estimates indicated that 4 year classes were sampled including 2012 (age-1), 2010 (age-3), 2009 (age-4), and 2008 (age-5), all years in which stocking occurred. Zero age-2 (2011 year class) walleyes were sampled, indicating that the 2011 fry stocking was not successful. The 2008 year class was the second most abundant year class sampled (N=9) and corresponds to the large year class produced from the fry stocking that followed the partial winterkill during the winter of 2007-2008. Walleyes captured ranged from 9.1 to 22.9 inches and averaged 14.5 inches. Although size structure was relatively small during this survey, the population has young individuals that appear to be growing fast, which should result in a larger size structure in the next couple of years. Mean lengths at age were 8.9 inches at age-1, 13.0 inches at age-2, 15.3 inches at age-3, 18.1 inches at age-4, and 19.6 inches at age-5, indicating that growth is good. At this time, the walleye population appears to be stable in Kansas Lake; however, yellow perch and black bullhead numbers are down in Kansas Lake, which could have a negative effect on the walleye population, if they remain low. Yellow perch and black bullheads are the main prey resources for walleyes and may limit the walleye population if they do not rebound. Natural reproduction of walleye is minimal in Kansas Lake; therefore the walleye population is highly dependent on stocking events. Walleye fry will be stocked in Kansas Lake in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

NORTHERN PIKE In 2009, northern pike catch rates were the highest observed catch rates for Kansas Lake at 10.7 per gill net. In 2013, zero northern pike were captured in the gill nets (0.0 per gill net) and one pike was captured in the trap nets (0.4 per trap net). The northern pike population has been variable as catch rates have ranged from 0.0 per gill net in 1989, 1997, 2001, and 2013, to 10.7 per gill net in 2009, averaging 1.8 per gill net since 1984. Without the 2009 catch rate of 10.7 per gill net, northern pike catch rates have averaged 0.6 per gill net since 1984, indicating that northern pike have historically occurred in low abundance in Kansas Lake despite extensive stocking efforts. The one northern pike captured in a trap net was 21.6 inches in length and weighed 2.4 pounds. Northern pike fry and fingerlings have been stocked extensively with little success except the stocking following the partial winterkill during the winter of 2007-2008. Northern pike have been stocked 1 out of 3 years at a rate of 10  20 fingerlings per surface acre, but have not responded well. The lack of survival of large northern pike to the fishery indicates that Kansas Lake may not have ideal habitat conditions or prey for northern pike. Northern pike thrive in lakes that have relatively clear water with abundant aquatic vegetation. Prey fish abundances were also low during the 2013 survey, and may be contributing to the low pike abundance.

YELLOW PERCH Yellow perch catch rates have varied from 11.7 per gill net in 1989 to 58.0 per gill net in 1984 and have averaged 29.6 per gill net. Catch rates steadily increased since the 1997 survey, increasing from 17.3 per gill net in 1997, to 19.4 per gill net in 2001, to 24.3 per gill net in 2005, and to 53.3 per gill net in 2009. In 2013, no yellow perch were captured in gill nets or trap nets, which is a drastic change from what has historically been observed on Kansas Lake, and well below the long term average of 29.6 per gill net. Although yellow perch populations tend to fluctuate, it was surprising that zero were captured in the survey. In the couple of years following the winterkill during the winter of 2007-2008, both northern pike and walleye catch rates exceeded the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes, potentially over exploiting the yellow perch population and causing it to crash.

BLACK CRAPPIE The trap net catch rate of black crappies in 2013 (0.4 per trap net) was below the expected range of catch rates (1.2 to 20.5 per gill net) for similar lakes and was below the long term average of 5.6 per trap net. The 2013 catch rate was the lowest observed catch rate for black crappie on Kansas Lake. Since 1984, catch rates have been highly variable, ranging from 0.4 per trap net in 2013 to 18.0 per trap net in 1993. Black crappies that were captured ranged from 9.7 to 10.6 inches in length, likely representing the same year class. Four young-of-the-year black crappies were caught in the shoreline sampling (seines and backpack electrofishing), indicating that natural reproduction was limited. Black crappie populations tend to be boom-or-bust where a strong year class is produced every 3 to 5 years. Stocking could be considered in the next several years to jump start the black crappie population and provide additional spawning stock.

BLACK BULLHEADS Trap net catch rates of black bullheads have been variable, ranging from 0.7 per trap net in 1997 to 151.4 per trap net in 1984, and averaging 32.9 per trap net. Likewise, gill net catch rates were also variable ranging from 0.3 per gill net in 1997 to 106.7 per gill net in 1989, and averaged 27.9 per gill net. In 2013, catch rates were below the expected catch ranges for similar lakes for both trap nets and gill nets (11.5 to 132.6 per trap net; 30.3 to 150.6 per gill net). Black bullheads ranged in size from 5.2 to 12.1 inches and averaged 9.3 inches. Similar to yellow perch, it appears that the abundant predator populations in the lake, especially in the years following the 2007-2008 winterkill, are effectively controlling the bullhead population in Kansas Lake.

OTHER SPECIES Common carp were present, but did not occur in high numbers. The 2013 catch rates of common carp in gill nets (3.3 per gill net) and trap nets (1.1 per trap net) were within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes.

Bigmouth buffalo were captured at rates of 0.7 per gill net and 2.1 per trap net. The trap net catch rate exceeded the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.0 per gill net). The bigmouth buffalo were large ranging from 19.5 to 31.2 inches in length and averaging 24.5 inches.

Other species sampled include white sucker (N=25), yellow bullhead (N=3), bluegill (N=10), and green sunfish (N=1).

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 or improve water quality, and provide habitat and travel corridors for wildlife.

Best management practices within the watershed (no-till farming, cover crops, buffer strips, targeted fertilizer application, reduced or metered tiling) would help reduce nutrients entering the lake. High nutrient and sediment input can cause algae blooms and reduce overall water quality. Any improvements in the watershed are likely to have positive impacts on the fishery.

Prepared by Jonah Dagel

For more information on this lake, contact:

Area Fisheries Supervisor
175 Co Rd 26
Windom, MN 56101-1868
Phone: (507) 831-2900
Internet: Windom Fisheries

Lake maps can be obtained from:

Minnesota Bookstore
660 Olive Street
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 297-3000 or (800) 657-3757
No depth map available.

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