This assessment was scheduled in the 2009 lake management plan to better determine whether Gaskin Lake supported a resident lake trout population. Seven previous attempts to complete this assessment were all canceled due to a lack of staff, funding, or time. No lake trout were taken in Gaskin Lake in the only previous survey (1990), but anglers have reported catching the species there.
A temperature-oxygen profile measured on 6 August 2012 found conditions suitable for lake trout (water temperature < 55 F, oxygen > 5 ppm) at depths of 23 to 36 ft. Although conditions would have deteriorated as the summer progressed, it's likely they would have remained tolerable for lake trout in a narrow range of depths through the end of summer.
The 2012 assessment of Gaskin Lake used a combination of four deep and four shallow gill net sets. Deep sets targeted cold-water species (including lake trout), while shallow sets targeted warm- and cool-water species. In DNR Lakefinder reports, catches in those nets have been combined. No lake trout were taken in deep or shallow gill net sets in 2012. The failure to collect lake trout in Gaskin Lake in 2012 does not mean the species was not present. However, because two assessments have now failed to find lake trout, the odds they are present are reduced. If they are present, their abundance is probably low.
Coldwater species found in Gaskin Lake in the 1990 survey included cisco, lake whitefish, and burbot. Only lake whitefish and burbot were found in 2012. The 2012 lake whitefish catch in deep gill net sets (3.25 fish/set) fell within the normal range (1.31-8.54 fish/set) for that gear in this area. Lake whitefish taken in 2012 were small, with a mean weight of 0.93 lb/fish, which was below the normal range (1.30-2.57 lb/fish) for fish taken in deep gill net sets in this area. The burbot catch in deep gill net sets (1.25 fish/set) was within the normal range for the gear (0.42-1.50 fish/set), and the mean weight for burbot (0.93 lb/fish) was also within the normal range (0.89-1.52 lb/fish).
Fair numbers of walleye were present in Gaskin Lake in 2012. The walleye catch in shallow gill net sets (2.50 fish/set) was close to the median for the gear (2.33 fish/set), and the mean weight for walleye collected in those nets was within the normal range for the gear (1.13-2.32 lb/fish). Five year classes, all naturally produced, were represented in the walleye catch. Walleye growth had been about average, despite the lack of warmwater forage fish.
Gaskin Lake was capable of supporting a relatively high-quality northern pike fishery in 2012. The northern pike catch in shallow gill net sets (1.50 fish/set), and the mean weight for fish taken in those sets (3.55 lb/fish), were within normal ranges (0.50-1.78 fish/set and 2.04-5.02 lb/fish, respectively) for the gear. Although warmwater forage species were scarce, the presence of coldwater forage (lake whitefish, and probably cisco), coupled with abundant cool-water refuge areas, gave the lake the potential to produce some trophy fish. Northern pike as old as five years were collected in this assessment, and it appeared from the relatively low numbers of younger fish that recruitment might have been limited.
A few smallmouth bass were collected during this assessment. The catch in shallow gill net sets (0.75 fish/set) was within the normal range for that gear (0.50-1.50 fish/set), and their mean weight (1.17 lb/fish) also fell within the normal range (0.50-1.39 lb/fish).