Hammal Lake is a moderate sized lake located a few miles southwest of the City of Aitkin. The lake has diverse habitat including shallow vegetated bays, submerged points, and deep holes. Residential development ranging from seasonal cabins to year-round homes occurs around much of the shoreline. There is a public access located in the southeast corner of the lake.
Anglers will be greeted with an abundant largemouth bass population with a variety of sizes. While traditional survey gear captured only average numbers, additional spring night electrofishing collected 99 fish in one hour of sampling. These fish averaged 12.6 inches with 13% over 14 inches and fish up to 19 inches observed in the sample.
Walleye fingerlings have been stocked in alternate years since 2001. The walleye catch of 0.2 per gill net was well below the goal listed in the current management plan of 2-3 per gill net. The current fingerling stocking strategy does not appear to be producing significant returns.
The northern pike catch of 5.5 per gill net was the lowest observed catch since 1970, and was within the normal range for similar lakes. However, size was not favorable. Pike captured in gill nets ranged from 10.9 to 20.9 inches and averaged just 16.4 inches and 1.0 pound. Growth was similar to previous surveys, and slow compared to county and state averages.
Panfish anglers should have opportunities to catch respectable sunfish and black crappie. Bluegill abundance was normal for this type of lake at 15.3 per trap net. Size averaged 6.4 inches with 29% greater than 7 inches. Fish grew slow compared to county and state averages, but similar to previous assessments. Although black crappie abundance was below the normal range for similar lakes for the first time in nine surveys to date at 0.8 per gill net, growth improved from the previous survey and was similar to county averages.