This was the first of three standard surveys scheduled in the 2014 lake management plan to determine whether long range goals for walleye and northern pike had been met, and to determine the contribution of stocking to the walleye population. The long range goal for walleye in this lake, in place since 1991, is a minimum gill net catch of 5.0 fish/set. It was last met in 2006. The goal for northern pike is a minimum gill net catch of 0.7 fish/set, with some fish over 30 inches present. It was first established in 1997, and has rarely been fully met since.
In 2015 walleye numbers were low for this lake, and most of the fish present were small. Although some walleye had been produced naturally, only one moderately strong natural year class was sampled (2012). Stocked 2011 and 2013 year classes together accounted for 48 of the 70 walleye taken in this survey (69% of the total catch). Walleye growth had been quite slow; fish reached a mean length of just 9.8 inches by the end of their fourth year, compared to an area average of 14.4 inches.
Northern pike numbers also appeared to have been low in 2015, and no fish over 30 inches were taken. No northern pike older than four years were seen. Growth rates had been a little slower than average; four-year-old fish reached a mean length of 22.6 inches by the end of their fourth year. At that rate, fish would have to survive for at least six years to reach a length of 30 inches.
Smallmouth bass appeared to have been abundant and large in Devil Track Lake in 2015. The gill net catch and the mean weight for smallmouth bass taken in gill nets were similar to values observed in most surveys of this lake done since 1996. Smallmouth bass abundance in this lake surged after the late 1980s. Since that time the lake has maintained fairly high smallmouth bass numbers, and a fairly high-quality population. in 2015 over two-thirds of the smallmouth bass collected were over 12 inches in length - a fairly high number for a lake in this area.
Yellow perch have been an important part of the forage base for walleye and northern pike in this lake; however, the 2015 yellow perch gill net catch was the lowest seen since 1952 (when none were taken). Although no yellow perch were aged, their lengths suggested at least three year classes (all weak) contributed to the 2015 catch.
Lake whitefish in Devil Track Lake support fall sport-netting and summer fly-fishing fisheries, and provide some high-quality coldwater forage for northern pike. Although the 2015 gill net catch fell below the normal range for a lake of this type, it was similar to catches seen in this lake since 1987. The mean weight for whitefish taken in gill nets was high, both for a lake of this type, and for this lake historically.
No fish species new to Devil Track Lake were collected in the 2015 survey. The lake does not support any panfish, other than a few green sunfish. Devil Track Lake is infested with spiny waterflea.
- Spiny Waterflea
Recreational activities such as recreational boating, angling, waterfowl hunting, and diving may spread aquatic invasive species. Some aquatic invasive species can attach to boats, while others can become tangled on propellers, anchor lines, or boat trailers. Many species can survive in bilge water, ballast tanks, and motors or may hide in dirt or sand that clings to nets, buckets, anchors, and waders. Fortunately, completing simple steps can prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species.