the fishing so poor on my lake? Why are the fish smaller than I remember?
cases the numbers of fish are still good, its just that more
anglers are sharing them. In other cases, we find that a particular
lake supports numerous forage fish, making game fish less inclined
to take your bait. Annual or short-term variations in fishing success
are normal, so its difficult to say why the fishing has gotten
worse unless we know more about your lake.
are some general trends that can cause decreases in fish populations,
including increases in the number of anglers, the technology used
by anglers, and water pollution from sediment and nutrients. The loss
of aquatic vegetation, introduction of exotic plants and animals,
increased shoreline development, and cumulative land use impacts to
water quality in the watershed all play a role in decreasing the ability
of lakes to maintain the quality fisheries that we have enjoyed in
I catching so many bullheads (or other rough fish)?
we control the increase of less popular fish in our lakes?
rough fish is a well known term, it is probably more appropriate
to refer to them as less popular fish, because all fish
have some ecological, food, or angler value. Bullheads, carp, and
other less popular fish are very adaptable and can thrive
when water quality declines. Turbidity from erosion and run-off can
decrease the amount of light that reaches the bottom of lakes and
reduce the number of rooted aquatic plants. Run-off also typically
carries nutrients, causing algae blooms that further reduce light
penetration. Sedimentation can reduce available spawning and rearing
sites for game fish. While the number of less popular
fish species occurring in our prairie lakes is naturally higher than
in the deeper, less productive lakes of the forested regions, human
activities in the forested regions of Minnesota have often tipped
the scale to favor nongame fish.
I am concerned
about fish populations decreasing due to spearing, fishing contests, and/or
over-harvesting on my lake. What can be done?
in water quality and the loss of habitat and spawning sites for game
species are often the primary mechanisms that create opportunities
for less popular fish species. The best way to avoid this
is to protect habitat where game fish spawn and rear their young.
Restoring natural habitat to shorelines is a great way for individuals
to do their part. Promoting good stewardship practices in the entire
watershed is absolutely essential to maintaining or improving water
quality in our lakes and streams.
fisheries management is to work closely with local units of government,
lake associations, sporting groups, and concerned citizens to formulate
lake management plans. Fisheries managers periodically review current
and historical information, inventory fish stocks and consider changing
lake conditions before recommending changes to the plan. The Minnesota
Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) sets regulations that address
the pressures facing Minnesota fish stocks. Spearing, fishing contests,
and harvest limits are set based on scientific research and citizen
input. If you have questions about your individual lake management
plan, contact your local MDNR Area Fisheries office to obtain a copy
or discuss the plan with the area fisheries manager.
I find out what fish have been stocked in my lake?
are two ways to obtain this information. If you have Internet access,
contact the MDNR website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us. At the left-hand
side of the homepage you will find a Lake Finder button. Enter the
name of your lake to access survey information or click on the interactive
map. If you dont have Internet access, call your MDNR Area Fisheries
office or the MDNR information center in St Paul (888-MINN-DNR) to
request a copy of your lake survey. Also, the MDNR building at the
Minnesota State Fair has a lake data booth where you can get information
about your lake.
is the best fish habitat for game species?
habitat needs for each species are different, there are some generalizations
that can be made. Good water quality, available spawning sites, and
aquatic vegetation are all important in the life cycle of Minnesotas
game fish. Adequate zones of vegetation are important for spawning
sites, cover and protection for young fish, and production of aquatic
insects and forage fish that are necessary for game species to be
successful. Large woody debris like fallen trees provide shade, cover,
and food for many species. This shaded zone also offers refuge of
cooler water during the summer. It is important to remember that lakes
in different ecoregions of Minnesota offer different potential for
certain game fish species.
I find out if my lake has been surveyed for fish?
Data Survey available from the MDNR website and Area Fisheries offices
will give you information on the last survey conducted on your lake.
Most lakes in Minnesota are surveyed every 10th year. However, Minnesotas
more popular lakes and lakes that are undergoing intensive management
through stocking or special regulations are surveyed more frequently.
I call if I have questions or a problem related to fish management?
Check your local telephone
listing, the Who to Contact
section of the Minnesota Shoreland Management Resource Guide Web site,
or the Web sites listed below for:
are some additional resources related to fish management?
The First Lake Maintenance Handbook. 1983. S. McComas. Terrene
Institute, Washington D.C.
Waters Edge. 1998. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Minnesotas Fish. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources