A resurvey of Elkhorn Lake was conducted in Mid-June of 2013. Elkhorn is a small lake (87 acres) with low productivity located in Kandiyohi County. The maximum depth is 41 feet. Water quality and clarity are excellent for Elkhorn. Water clarity was 9.9 feet deep in June 10, 2013. Dissolved oxygen was less than 1.00 ppm below 20 feet on June 10, 2013. Total phosphorus (0.018 ppm) was low in Elkhorn during June of 2013. Water levels were normal during the 2013 resurvey. Residential development (41 homes) has occurred around the entire lake with the exception of the northwest shore area. Hardwoods are present in moderate numbers along the east and north shoreline areas. There are six small inlets/springs that periodically flow into Elkhorn. Direct agricultural row crop drainage into the lake is limited by upstream buffers and wetlands. Emergent vegetation (i.e. hardstem bulrush) is limited to the shallow outlet bay. Submergent vegetation species (i.e. clasping-leaf pondweed, northern milfoil, sago pondweed, coontail, muskgrass, filamentous algae, etc.) are frequently occurring in the littoral areas and especially in the shallow outlet bay area. Shoalwater substrates are mostly sand, silt, rubble and boulder. Elkhorn is known for good largemouth bass, bluegill and northern pike fishing.
Largemouth bass numbers were abundant (161.25 fish/hour), but the average size was small (0.54 pounds and 9.64 inches) in the 2013 spring electrofishing. The Elkhorn historical average catch rate and weight is 93.80 fish/hour and 1.14 pounds respectively. The 2013 catch rate of larger (>15 inches) largemouth bass was low (2.78 fish/hour). Largemouth bass growth rates were below the Spicer Area normal ranges for ages 1-8. The 2011 year class comprised 26% of the 2013 total largemouth bass spring electrofishing catch. Other moderate largemouth bass year classes captured in the 2013 spring electrofishing included 2010 (19%), 2009 (21%) and 2008 (21%).
Black crappie numbers were low in 2013 (2.00 fish/trapnet) compared to area lakes, but within the normal range for similar state wide lakes. The black crappie historical average catch rate is 1.93 fish/trapnet. The black crappie average size was moderately large (0.55 pounds and 9.34 inches). The 2008 black crappie year class accounted for 50% of the 2013 black crappie catch. Black crappie adults (480 fish, 120 pounds) were recently stocked into Elkhorn during 2010.
Northern pike numbers were moderately abundant in 2013 (6.50 fish/gillnet) and within the normal range of similar lakes. The Elkhorn historical average catch rate is 6.05 fish/gillnet. The 2013 northern pike average size was moderately large (3.90 pounds and 25.12) from gillnets. The northern pike historical average weight is 3.03 pounds from gillnets. The 2013 catch rate of larger (>28 inches) northern pike was high (2.50 fish/gillnet). Northern pike growth rates were generally near or above the Spicer Area normal ranges for ages 1-8. Approximately 31% of the northern pike captured in the 2013 nets were from the 2010 year class.
Yellow perch numbers were low in 2013 (2.50 fish/gillnet) compared to the historical average catch rate (19.30 fish/gillnet). The yellow perch average size was moderate (6.25 inches and 0.10 pounds) during 2013. The yellow perch historical average length is 5.74 inches for Elkhorn. Yellow perch growth rates were below the Spicer Area normal ranges for ages 1-5. The 2009 year class comprised 67% of the 2013 yellow perch catch.
Walleye were not captured in gillnets or trapnets during 2013. The walleye historical catch rates are 0.39 fish/trapnet and 1.08 fish/gillnet. Recent walleye stockings include 2004 (1,956 yearlings, 163 pounds), 2006 (44 adults, 50 pounds; 150 yearlings, 75 pounds), 2008 (110 yearlings, 11 pounds), 2010 (91 yearlings, 100 pounds) and 2013 (400 yearlings, 206 pounds).
Bluegill numbers were abundant in 2013 (76.00 fish/trapnet) compared to the normal range of similar lakes. The 2013 bluegill average size was moderate (0.19 pounds and 6.02 inches) from trapnets. The bluegill historical average weight is 0.11 pounds from trapnets. The 2013 catch rate of moderate sized (>6 inches) bluegill was good (37.50 fish/trapnet). Bluegill growth rates were below the Spicer Area normal ranges for ages 1-6, but and within the normal ranges for ages 7-8. The 2006 and 2008 year classes comprised 29% and 23% respectively of the 2013 total bluegill catch.
Other sunfish species captured included abundant numbers of hybrid sunfish (23.50 fish/trapnet), pumpkinseed sunfish (10.50 fish/trapnet) and green sunfish (3.50 fish/trapnet). The 2013 average lengths were 6.87 inches, 5.89 inches and 6.11 inches for hybrid, pumpkinseed and green sunfish respectively.
Black bullhead numbers were abundant in 2013 (6.00 fish/trapnet) compared to the normal range of similar lakes. The 2013 black bullhead average size was large (1.37 pounds and 13.02 inches) from trapnets. The black bullhead historical average weight is 0.63 pounds from trapnets.
Other fish species of special interest captured in the 2013 trapnets included low numbers of carp (0.50 fish/trapnet) and moderate numbers of yellow bullhead (4.00 fish/trapnet). The Elkhorn historical average catch rates are 0.65 carp/trapnet and 1.58 yellow bullhead/trapnet. The 2013 average weights are 11.58 pounds and 0.73 pounds for carp and yellow bullhead respectively.
Current fish management activities on Elkhorn Lake include monitoring the fish population on a periodic basis, protecting native aquatic vegetation through the permit process, preventing and educating about the spread of invasive species, habitat enhancement through bulrush planting, and stocking various fish species as warranted. The Elkhorn Lake fishery is scheduled for resurvey in the 2018 spring and summer for all fish species.
- Eurasian Watermilfoil
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.