The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Aitkin area fisheries staff has finalized the assessment schedule for the 2017 field season.
The DNR conducts fisheries surveys and assessments on a regular basis to monitor changes in fish populations, and to determine if management strategies have been effective.
Survey frequency varies on each lake based on ongoing management evaluations, angler use and current staffing levels. Large lakes with heavy use are scheduled more frequently than small remote lakes. Lakes that are stocked on a regular basis are also sampled more frequently to assess stocking success and monitor growth rates. Staff then review the data and incorporate it into individual fisheries lake management plans. The plans identify goals for key species in the lake and outline specific management activities.
After ice is out through May:
- Round Lake (01-0137) – targeted survey with trapnetting and electrofishing for walleye and Northern Pike (April).
- Cedar Lake (01-0209) – muskellunge netting (April/May).
- Cedar Lake (01-0209), Fleming Lake (01-0105), Hammal Lake (01-0161), Round Lake (01-0023) and Savanna Lake (01-0014) – bass electrofishing. (Mid-late May)
- Ripple River (M-113-030) – walleye spawning habitat evaluation and measurements.
June through October (Dates subject to change):
- Rock Lake (01-0072) – standard survey with habitat evaluation (June 12-16).
- Round Lake (01-0023) – standard survey (June 19-23).
- Rat lake (01-0077) – standard survey (June 26-30).
- Round Lake (01-0137) – standard survey (July 10-14).
- Dam Lake (01-0096) – standard survey (July 17-21).
- Spirit Lake (01-0178) – targeted survey, gillnetting for walleye evaluation (July 24-28).
- Savanna Lake (01-0014) – standard survey (July 31- Aug. 4).
- Fleming Lake (01-0105) – standard survey (Aug. 7 -11).
- Cedar Lake (01-0209) – standard survey (Aug. 14-18).
- Hammal Lake (01-0161) – standard survey (Aug. 21-25).
- Sissabagamah Lake (01-0129) – targeted survey, gillnetting for walleye evaluation (Aug. 28 – Sept.1).
- Spirit Lake (01-0178) – targeted survey, electrofishing for walleye (Aug. 28 – Sept.1).
- Big Sandy Lake (01-0062), Farm Island Lake (01-0159) – targeted survey, electrofishing for walleye (late September – early October).
- Taylor Lake (01-0109) – standard survey (Oct. 2-6).
- Two River Springs (M-122) – natural reproduction check (mid-late October).
Additionally, Hammal Lake (01-0161), Fleming Lake (01-0105), Farm Island Lake (01-0159), Round Lake (01-0137), Dam Lake (01-0096), and Savanna Lake (01-0014) will receive additional nearshore sampling using seines and backpack electrofishing to help calculate an index of biotic integrity (IBI), which incorporates the catch information from game fish and non-game fish from these nearshore surveys as well as the standard surveys to gage the overall health of the fish community.
The information collected in 2017 will be available as a lake survey report in the spring of 2018 on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov, or from the area fisheries office. For more information, contact Aitkin Fisheries office at 218-429-3031, firstname.lastname@example.org, or in writing at MN DNR, Area Fisheries, 1200 Minnesota Ave., Aitkin, MN 56431.
The DNR’s summer fieldwork activities are largely funded through the sale of fishing licenses and the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Act. The number of surveys vary from year to year as funding and staffing levels change.