Buck Lake is a 492-acre lake located 10 miles north of Nashwauk, MN in the Mississippi River watershed. The lake has a maximum depth of 31 feet and 180 littoral acres. There is a concrete-ramp public access on the southwest shore off Hwy. 65. Buck Lake is in Ecological Lake Class 31. Other area lakes in this class include Lower Balsam and Snowball Lakes.
Historically, net catches for Black Crappie have fluctuated considerably in Buck Lake. The gill-net catch for Black Crappie was 6.0/net in 2013. This is above the expected range for this lake class but similar to the long-term average for Buck Lake. The Black Crappie trap-net catch was similar to the lake class median at 2.2/net. Size structure was good; fish in the gill-net sample ranged from 4.3 to 13.0 inches with a mean length of 9.1 inches. Fish from 10 to 11 inches made up 41% of the sample. Ages 1 to 10 were represented, with 47% of the sample older than age 7. Growth was slower than the lake class average with fish reaching 9.6 inches at age 6.
Natural reproduction has maintained a modest Walleye population in Buck Lake since they were last stocked in 1985. Gill-net catches were within the expected range in the previous three assessments, but declined to 1.1/net in 2013. The 2013 sample was composed of large fish from 19.8 to 28.5 inches, with a mean length of 24.7 inches and a mean weight of 4.9 pounds. Only one fish was less than 10 years old. Growth of Walleye was similar to the statewide average with fish reaching 18.1 inches at age 5.
The 2013 Northern Pike gill-net catch was above the expected range at 10.6/net. As in previous assessments, Northern Pike size structure was fairly poor with very few fish over 24 inches. Sampled fish ranged from 14.6 to 34.2 inches with a mean length of 19.5 inches and a mean weight of 1.6 pounds. Ages 2 thru 6 and 8 were represented, but age 2 and 3 fish dominated the sample. Growth was similar to the statewide average, with fish reaching 18.1 inches at age 3.
Night electrofishing sampled Largemouth Bass at a rate of 51.2/hour of on-time. This is a moderately high catch rate compared to other area lakes. Size structure was modest and similar to the previous assessment with few fish over 15 inches. Sampled fish ranged from 5.6 to 18.3 inches with a mean length of 11.0 inches. Recruitment appeared consistent with ages 1 to 11 represented in the sample. Growth was slower than the statewide average for ages 1 to 4 and similar to the statewide average for all other ages. Largemouth Bass averaged 11.4 inches at age 5.
The trap-net catch rate for Bluegill was similar to the lake class median at 25.3/net. As in other recent assessments, size structure was poor. Sampled fish ranged from 3.2 to 7.9 inches with a mean length of 4.5 inches. Very few Bluegill over 8 inches have ever been sampled from Buck Lake. Age analysis showed ages 3 to 7 were represented. Growth was slower than the lake class average for all ages, with fish reaching 5.1 inches at age 5.
Other species sampled in test nets included Yellow Perch, White Sucker, Brown Bullhead, Pumpkinseed Sunfish and Hybrid Sunfish.