Gilstad Lake (04-0024-00) is a 256-acre lake with a maximum depth of 55 feet located 5 miles south of the city of Blackduck in Beltrami County. There is a U.S. Forest Service public water access with a concrete ramp and parking for about 10 trucks/trailers on the south shore of the lake off of HWY 39. Gilstad Lake is managed for Bluegill, Black Crappie, Walleye and Northern Pike. Statewide fishing regulations apply to all species.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified Minnesota lakes based on similarities in lake basin (depth, size) and water chemistry (alkalinity, water clarity). Gilstad Lake is in lake class 25. The following discussion makes comparisons between Gilstad Lake and other class 25 lakes in the state. Other Bemidji area lakes in this class include Turtle River Lake, Movil Lake and Pimushe Lake.
The 2016 Bluegill catch rate was 9.58/trap net. Bluegill had a good average size of 6.83 inches and 0.29 lbs/fish. Sixteen percent of the catch exceeded 8 inches, and the largest Bluegill captured measured 9.17 inches in length.
The 2016 Black Crappie catch rate of 2.75/trap net was near the top end of the range found in similar lakes (0.75/trap net - 3.18/trap net). However, the average size of Black Crappie was small at 8.60 inches in length and averaging about 1/3 of a pound.
The 2016 Northern Pike catch rate of 10.67/gill net is up considerably from levels recorded in the past several assessments. Northern Pike captured had an average size of 21.63 inches in length and 2.32 lbs/fish. The largest Northern Pike captured in the 2016 assessment measured 32.48 inches in length.
The 2016 Walleye catch rate of 0.17/gill net was very low compared to previous surveys of Gilstad Lake, and disappointing for a fingerling stocked lake. Only one Walleye was captured in this assessment, although anglers encountered during this assessment reported good success for Walleye recently in Gilstad Lake.
A Largemouth Bass night electrofishing assessment was also conducted in late May of 2016 to evaluate the bass population on Gilstad Lake. During the two hours of electrofishing, 44 bass were captured, measured, and released. Lengths ranged from 7.1 to 20.5 inches and averaged 15.7 inches. Of the 44 fish captured, 68% were over 15 inches indicating a quality population.
Other species of fish captured during the 2016 assessment were Pumpkinseed, Bowfin, Yellow Perch, White Sucker, and Bullhead species.