|Nearest Town: Saint James
Primary County: Watonwan
Survey Date: 06/23/2014
Inventory Number: 83004000
|DNR||Concrete||STATE OWNED PUBLIC ACCESS ON THE SOUTHWEST CORNER OF THE LAKE.|
|Did you know? Spawning habitat improvements can enhance naturally reproducing populations of fish species such as walleye and northern pike.|
|Species||Number of fish per net||
Average Fish Weight (lbs)
Normal Range (lbs)
|Bigmouth Buffalo||Gill net||0.33||0.8 - 7.0||0.30||N/A|
|Black Bullhead||Trap net||2.86||11.5 - 132.6||0.66||0.2 - 0.4|
|Gill net||25.67||30.3 - 150.6||0.68||0.2 - 0.4|
|Black Crappie||Trap net||1.00||1.2 - 20.5||0.17||0.2 - 0.5|
|Gill net||1.67||1.4 - 13.8||0.06||0.2 - 0.4|
|Bluegill||Trap net||0.71||1.2 - 20.0||0.08||0.1 - 0.4|
|Channel Catfish||Trap net||0.14||N/A||0.76||N/A|
|Common Carp||Trap net||1.00||1.0 - 5.5||4.47||1.4 - 4.6|
|Gill net||3.33||1.0 - 13.8||4.76||0.8 - 3.7|
|Freshwater Drum||Trap net||4.71||0.2 - 3.3||1.36||0.3 - 1.0|
|Gill net||8.67||0.5 - 8.3||1.25||0.4 - 1.7|
|Largemouth Bass||Trap net||0.14||0.2 - 0.7||5.18||0.3 - 1.5|
|Northern Pike||Trap net||0.14||N/A||7.83||N/A|
|Gill net||1.33||1.1 - 8.0||2.41||1.8 - 3.4|
|Walleye||Trap net||0.43||0.5 - 3.0||2.16||0.8 - 2.3|
|Gill net||2.33||2.3 - 18.1||1.80||1.0 - 2.3|
|Yellow Perch||Trap net||1.71||0.3 - 3.8||0.08||0.1 - 0.3|
|Gill net||20.33||2.7 - 25.0||0.13||0.1 - 0.3|
|Species||Number of fish caught in each category (inches)|
|For the record, the largest Hybrid Sunfish taken in Minnesota weighed 1 lb., 12 oz. and was caught: |
Statistics: 11.5" length, 12" girth
Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Ten Years
|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.|
INTRODUCTION Long Lake is a 264-acre lake located in Watonwan County, approximately 5.5 miles south of the City of St. James. The lake has a maximum depth of 13.0 feet and has a watershed-to-lake-ratio of 6 to 1. The lakes watershed is highly agricultural and much of Long Lake's shoreline has been altered by residential development. In areas with residential development, lawns are typically maintained to the water's edge and shorelines are altered with rock rip rap or sand blankets, which disrupt the natural riparian buffer. Agriculture and riparian development likely cause poor water quality in the form of algae blooms. Adding more nutrients to the system through a diversion pump from the South Fork of the Watonwan River likely does not help algal blooms. In an effort to mitigate the algae blooms, Long Lake is sporadically treated with copper sulfate, temporarily improving water clarity. Copper sulfate treatments likely have adverse effects on the food web in Long Lake because it kills algae, the main food source for zooplankton and other aquatic invertebrates, which are prey for small fish, which are eventually prey for large predators such as walleye, northern pike, and largemouth bass. Long Lake is managed primarily for walleye and secondarily for black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, and yellow perch. A combination of walleye fingerlings, yearlings, and adults have been stocked in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012, with the current stocking regime calling for walleye frylings to be stocked two out of three years (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015). Other management species have not been stocked in recent years. A population assessment was conducted during the week of June 23, 2014 to monitor fish populations using three gill nets and seven trap nets.
WALLEYE Catch rates of walleye in Long Lake have historically been low, ranging from 0.0 per gill net in 2006 to 4.0 per gill net in 1985. In 2014, the walleye catch rate was 2.3 per gill net, which is low when compared to similar lakes. Since the early 1990s, various stocking strategies including fry, frylings, and fingerlings have been employed to increase walleye abundance, with little success. Currently, walleye frylings are being stocked two out of three years at a rate of 150 fish per littoral acre (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018). Age estimates from otoliths (ear bones in walleyes) indicated the presence of four year-classes from 2006, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Three of the four year-classes correspond to years in which stocking occurred. The one walleye from the 2006 year-class (non-stocking year) may be a result of natural reproduction or was moved from another water body to Long Lake. Walleyes ranged from 11.1 to 24.1 inches and averaged 16.6 inches. Growth of walleye in Long Lake is slow. Mean length at age-3 for Long Lake walleye was 14.2 inches while the mean length for age-3 walleye from similar lakes was 17.7 inches. Walleyes were somewhat skinny, indicating that prey is available but not overly abundant. Although early indications are that this stocking strategy has not significantly increased walleye abundance, fryling stocking should continue until the next scheduled survey in 2018 to fully evaluate this strategy.
BLACK CRAPPIE Black crappie abundance in Long Lake has been highly variable, with catch rates ranging from 0.0 per trap net in 1990 to 64.8 per trap net in 2002. In 2014, the black crappie catch rate was below the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.2 to 20.5 per trap net) at 1.0 per trap net, down significantly from the 2010 catch rate of 23.8 per trap net. Black crappie ranged in length from 3.9 to 10.3 inches and averaged 6.1 inches. Black crappie appeared to be plump, indicating black crappie are foraging successfully. The decreased abundance of black crappie is likely a result of a lack of recruitment in recent years. Black crappie recruitment tends to be highly variable and is often characterized as cyclic, with strong year classes reoccurring every three to five years. This variable and cyclic recruitment often results in a "boom-or-bust" crappie fishery, where years of increased angler catch rates are followed by years of decreased angler catch rates.
BLUEGILL Similar to 2010 (0.9 per trap net), bluegill were captured at a rate of 0.7 per trap net in 2014 which is below the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.2 to 20.0 per trap net). Since 1990, bluegill catch rates have varied from 0.0 per trap net in 1990 to 35.9 per trap net in 2002, and have averaged 11.6 per trap net. Bluegills ranged in length from 3.2 to 7.0 inches and averaged 4.2 inches. Despite their low abundance and small size structure, bluegills appear to be reproducing in Long Lake, as evidence by 389 young-of-the-year (YOY) "sunfish" being captured in a July 2014 near shore survey.
YELLOW PERCH Long Lake's yellow perch population was at an all-time high in 1998 when they were captured at a rate of 51.0 per gill net. Since, the population gradually declined to 2.0 per gill net in 2010. It appears that the population has rebounded significantly in 2014, as yellow perch were captured at a rate of 20.3 per gill net, which is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (2.7 to 25.0 per gill net). Despite the increase in catch rate, yellow perch were small, ranging from 5.3 to 10.2 inches and averaging 6.3 inches. The majority of yellow perch sampled were less than 6.5 inches in length (80 percent). Yellow perch were plump, indicating that they are foraging successfully. In two or three years, yellow perch should reach a length acceptable to anglers.
LARGEMOUTH BASS In 2014, largemouth bass were captured at a rate of 21.0 per hour, which is the highest bass electrofishing catch rate observed on Long Lake since 1995. Prior catch rates ranged from 2.0 per hour in 1998 to 8.0 per hour in 1995. Largemouth bass ranged in length from 6.2 to 21.0 inches and averaged 8.9 inches. Only three largemouth bass over 9.0 inches were sampled, with the majority (86 percent) being approximately 6.0 to 8.0 inches in length. Three year classes of largemouth bass were sampled including fish from 2013 (age-1), 2012 (age-2), and 2007 (age-7). Age-1 largemouth bass averaged 7.0 inches and age-2 bass averaged 8.0 inches. According to anglers and lakeshore owners, large bass are present and should continue to provide a good angling opportunity.
OTHER SPECIES Northern pike are not managed in Long Lake, but the population maintains itself at low levels. The 2014 catch rate was the same as the 2010 catch rate, 1.3 per gill net, which is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (1.1 to 8.0 per gill net). Northern pike lengths ranged from 18.0 to 25.0 inches and averaged 21.6 inches.
Black bullhead abundance has remained low since 1990. The trend continued in 2014, as the black bullhead catch rate (25.7 per gill net) did not exceed the low end of expected catch rates for similar lakes. Black bullheads ranged in length from 7.6 to 11.4 inches and averaged 10.4 inches.
Common carp abundance has steadily declined since the high in 1994 (25.2 per gill net) to 3.3 per gill net in 2014. This catch rate is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes. Freshwater drum abundance in gill nets declined from 39.3 per gill net in 2010 to 8.7 per gill net in 2014. Conversely, trap net catches of freshwater drum increased from 2.4 per trap net in 2010 to 4.7 per trap net in 2014. Both gill net and trap net catch rates in 2014 exceed the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes (8.3 per gill net; 3.3 per trap net). Freshwater drum ranged from 13.3 to 19.0 inches.
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
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