Holly Lake is currently managed for walleye and northern pike. The long range goal for walleye (from the 2013 lake management plan) is a minimum gill net catch of 4.0 fish/set, with some fish over 20 inches present. The goal for northern pike is a minimum gill net catch of 6.0 fish/set, with some fish over 25 inches present. This was the first of two standard surveys scheduled in the 2013 plan to determine whether walleye stocking in this lake is needed or desirable, and whether stocking would be required to restore the northern pike population. The second survey will be done in 2018.
Fair numbers of walleye were taken in the 2015 survey. Although the catch fell short of the long range goal for the lake, the size goal was met by the presence of a few fish over 20 inches in length. Most of the walleye taken appeared to have been produced naturally; of the years in which stocking was done, only 2009 appeared to have contributed a few fish to the catch. Sampling with small-mesh trap nets, done as part of this survey, indicated another natural year class was produced in 2015. Walleye growth rates had been about average for the area, with fish reaching a mean length of 15.4 inches by the end of their fifth year.
After three surveys between 1999 and 2007 with low (or zero) northern pike gill net catches, the catch rebounded in 2015. The long range catch goal from the 2013 plan was nearly met, and the size goal was achieved. It was clear that stocking of northern pike would not be needed. Only four year classes contributed to the 2015 catch, and although no fish older than four years were collected, good growth rates resulted in a few fish exceeding 25 inches in length.
Despite an apparent resurgence in northern pike abundance, the yellow perch gill net catch remained high in 2015. Although yellow perch provided an excellent forage base for walleye and northern pike, most were too small to have been of much interest to anglers.
The pumpkinseed sunfish catch in 0.75-in-mesh trap nets was lower than catches observed in 2003 and 2007, both of which had been above normal for a lake of this type. With abundance apparently down, and the small size of the fish that were collected, Holly Lake offered only very limited panfishing opportunities in 2015. Bluegill have been found on rare occasions in this lake in the past, and a few were probably still present in 2015, despite their absence from the survey catch.
The 2015 white sucker gill net catch was the lowest ever seen in this lake, but remained within the normal range for a lake of this type. Many of the white sucker collected were small enough to have provided forage for the larger northern pike seen.