Island Lake is noted primarily for its walleye fishing although the fish community is diverse enough to support angling for northern pike, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, and both largemouth and smallmouth bass. For a 1,142-acre lake, it receives a substantial amount of fishing activity when fishing is good. In addition to the adjacent homes and cabins and the public access, Island Lake receives fishing pressure from four resorts. Based on data reported by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Island Lake is mesotrophic. Moderate algal blooms have been observed during several recent summers.
The lake is well suited to walleye natural reproduction and test net catches remained high in 2012 at 16 walleyes per set. There has been no stocking of walleye in Island Lake since 1985. Walleyes attributed to 12 different year classes were found in 2012. Sampled walleyes averaged 14.5 inches in length and just over a pound each. In addition, fall sampling of fingerling walleyes during 10 of the past 12 years has shown frequent, strong levels of natural walleye reproduction-especially in 2006 and 2011 (ages six and one).
Historically, Island Lake's northern pike have been neither abundant nor large in size. That was also the case in 2012. The gill net catch rate was 3.1 pike per set and the average length of pike was 21.6 inches. However, for the first time since assessments began in 1960, a pike larger than 30 inches was sampled.
Although there was a wide range of sizes present in the bluegill and crappie populations, young fish dominated the age frequencies. This bodes well for future angling opportunites for both species. Bluegills over nine inches and crappies over 12 inches in length were also sampled.
Good numbers of smallmouth bass and moderate numbers of largemouth bass were sampled in 2012. Both populations showed a wide range of sizes but smallmouth bass were larger and older than largemouth bass.
Lakeshore and watershed property owners can help to slow the aging process in Island Lake by using best management practices on their land. Properly operating septic systems, shoreline buffer zones of native vegetation, and protection of existing bulrush and cattail stands can all help.