Each year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Aitkin area fisheries staff conducts fisheries surveys and assessments to monitor changes in fish populations, and to determine if management strategies have been effective.
Survey frequency varies on each lake based on management strategies and by angler use. 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, which undergo periodic public review. The plans identify goals for key species in the lake and outline specific management activities.
The 2018 survey and assessment schedule:
After ice-out through May:
- Sandy River; electrofishing for walleye. (Late April).
- Mille Lacs; assisting the Garrison station with walleye tagging (May) and short term gill-netting for walleye (June).
- Minnewawa Lake (01-0033), Round Lake; electrofishing for bass. (Mid-late May).
June through October (Dates subject to change):
- Rice Lake; standard survey (June 18-22).
- Blind Lake; standard survey (June 18-22).
- Lake Four; standard survey (June 26-29).
- Big Sandy Lake; targeted survey and gill-netting for walleye evaluation (July 9-13).
- Hill Lake; standard survey and gill-netting for walleye evaluation (July 17-21).
- Minnewawa Lake; standard survey (July 23-27).
- Farm Island Lake; targeted survey and gill-netting for walleye evaluation (July 30- Aug. 3).
- Ripple Lake; standard survey (July 30- Aug. 3).
- Mississippi River; channel catfish survey, hoop-netting and trotlining (Aug. 6-10, 13-17). Sampling may also include work in major tributaries to the Mississippi in Aitkin County.
- Round Lake; standard survey (Aug. 20-24).
- Waukenabo Lake; targeted survey and gill-netting for walleye evaluation
(Aug. 27 – Aug. 31).
- Big Sandy Lake, Farm Island Lake, Sugar Lake, Round Lake; targeted survey and electrofishing for walleye (late September – early October).
The information collected in 2018 will be available as a lake survey report in the spring of 2019 on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov, or from the area fisheries office. Contact the 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 fisheries summer fieldwork activities are largely funded through the sale of fishing licenses and the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Act.