Crow Wing is a shallow, fertile lake south of Brainerd, MN. Fish numbers were down from the previous survey for pretty much everything except black crappie. It is currently stocked with walleye fingerlings in odd numbered years.
The walleye catch was average (2.7/gill net) in 2016. Average length was 19.4" and all of the fish were over 13". A large number of walleye (49.0/hr.) were also caught while bass electrofishing in the spring. These walleyes averaged 7.8" indicating good overwinter survival of fingerlings stocked in 2015.
Northern pike numbers dropped quite a bit from the 2010 survey; they went from 12.1/gill net to 2.2/gill net. Average length was 22.3" and 20% were 24" or larger. Most of these fish (85%) were from the 2014 year class and were fast growing.
Largemouth bass looked like they should provide some good angling opportunities. They were sampled by night electrofishing on May 17, 2016, resulting in a catch rate of 47.1/hr. Average length was 13.9" and 78% were 12" or larger, with fish up to 20.4" captured.
Black crappie numbers skyrocketed to their highest catches to date and were dominated by young fish. Both gill net numbers (67.3/net) and trap net numbers (5.4/net) were above average, but contained different sizes of fish. The gill nets were dominated by small fish (average size of 6.0"), while the trap net fish were a little larger (average size of 7.9"). Only 4% of the total catch was 8" or larger and 81% of the fish were from the 2014 year class.
Bluegill numbers were average (24.1/trap net), with a mean length of 5.4". Only 7% of the fish were 7" or larger, likely due to angler harvest.
Efforts should be made to protect the emergent vegetation in the west basin and on each side of the point on the south side. Emergent plants, like bulrush, cattail and wild rice, are important for shoreline protection, regulating nutrient levels, and they provide essential spawning habitat for northern pike, bass and panfish.