Elk Lake is a 207-acre lake located two miles north of Hoffman in Grant County. Maximum depth is 29.0 feet. Average depth is estimated at 15.0 feet. It's a very popular recreational lake that fully supports fishing and swimming. City-owned beach and campground facilities are located on the south shore next to the public access. Water clarity is relatively good compared to other lakes in Grant County, with average transparency measurements approaching 7.0 feet during summer months. The lake can become busy, particularly on weekends.
Primary fish management emphasis is directed at sustaining a Walleye fishery. Walleye fingerlings are stocked in even-numbered years to supplement the population. Walleye catches during the 2015 survey averaged 4.7-fish/gill net. Captures averaged 15.0 inches in length. The largest Walleye measured during the survey was 26.1 inches.
Elk Lake does not support many Northern Pike. Only one capture was documented in 2015. This fish measured 24.5 inches.
Largemouth Bass currently offer the best angling opportunities in Elk Lake. Electrofishing catch rates in the spring of 2015 were 50/hour. Age distribution of captures extended to age 12. Due to fast growth, 57% of captures were 15.0 inches and larger. The largest bass caught measured 18.9 inches.
Other sunfishes captured during the survey included Black Crappies, Bluegills, Green Sunfish, and Hybrid Sunfishes. Fishing quality at time of the 2015 survey was degraded by the lack of older sunfishes. Bluegill catches were good at 20.1-fish/trap net, but none of the captures exceeded age 4. Most of the catch was comprised of two-year-old Bluegill. One 8.5-inch Bluegill was measured, but average size of the population sample was 5.8 inches. Black Crappie catches were modest and young. Age distribution of the crappie catch did not extend beyond age 2. Only one 9.0-inch crappie was measured. Sunfishes grow fast in Elk Lake, so fishing quality should improve with additional recruitment and a broader age distribution.
Yellow Perch catches were good. This important prey population supports good growth of predator gamefishes, but most perch are too small to contribute to the fishery. Average size captured in gill nets was 6.3 inches.
Very few Black, Yellow, or Brown Bullheads were captured in 2015. No Common Carp have been captured during the two most recent surveys.
- 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.