Big Trout Lake is the only lake in the Brainerd management area that is stocked with lake trout. Big Trout covers 1,342 Acres, and is 128 feet deep. The littoral area, less than 15 ft deep, covers 27% of the lake. Water clarity is good with a secchi depth of 18 ft. A public boat access is located on the eastern shore, or boaters can access through a channel from Whitefish Lake. The lake is heavily developed with 237 homes, 2 resorts, and 2 youth camps along its 8.5 miles of shoreline. A 2010 survey of the plant community found 41 native species, and one invasive plant (curlyleaf pondweed). Protection of aquatic vegetation, especially emergent vegetation, is important for maintaining good water quality. Also vegetation is critical for fish spawning areas as well as providing cover for fish.
Northern pike were captured at the highest rate to date at 7.2/gillnet. Average length was 20.6 inches and weighing 2.1 lbs. Northern pike up to 34.4 inches were captured. Northern pike over 24 inches made up 19% of catch.
Walleyes are not stocked directly into Big Trout, but are stocked into connecting Whitefish Lake annually as fry, and every other year as fingerlings. The walleye gillnet catch of 0.7/net was low, but the average size was nice at 22.1 inches and weight at 4.2 lbs. Walleye up to 28.4 inches were caught.
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are present in Big Trout. Largemouth bass were sampled throughout the Whitefish Chain, including Big Trout, by a spring electrofishing survey. They were caught at a rate of 112.5/hr. More data can be found in the Whitefish lake report.
Bluegill numbers were above average, but their size leaves something to be desired. Average length was 4.9 inches, and only 5% were over 7 inches. The black crappie gillnet catch was average. All black crappies from gillnets were over 9 inches. All crappies captured in trapnets were from the 2010 year class and were less than 4 inches in length.
Tullibee (Cisco) numbers at 12.5/gillnet were well above average. Nearly all (98%) of tullibee (cisco) were between 6 and 8 inches in length. At this size they are a valuable forage species for walleye, northern pike, and lake trout. Lake whitefish were also caught at above average numbers at a rate of 1.9/ gillnet. They averaged 1.7 lbs, and would be of interest to anglers.
No lake trout were sampled in this survey, though they are present in the lake and are stocked into Big trout every other year. Other fish species present in this survey included smallmouth bass, rock bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, hybrid sunfish, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, bowfin, greater redhorse, and green sunfish.
- Zebra Mussel
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.