East Twin Lake is located south of the town of Florence in Lyon County. East Twin has a surface area of 352 acres, a maximum depth of 23.6 feet, and a mid-summer water clarity of 5.3 feet in 2016. East Twin is a deeper southwest Minnesota lake (Minnesota Lake classification system number 38). The lake has no outlet, and water levels have steadily risen since the 1980's to a historical high during the summer of 2012. In 2016, the lake level was down 0.3 feet from the 2012 level. A new county owned public access was completed in the fall of 2010 to replace the former DNR access which was submerged.
East Twin Lake is managed for Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, and Yellow Perch. Smallmouth Bass are best sampled with night electrofishing while Walleye and Yellow Perch are best sampled with gill nets. A fish population assessment utilizing 3 gill nets, 8 trap nets, and night electrofishing was conducted during the summer of 2016.
108 Smallmouth Bass were caught in 1 hour of night electrofishing. This is the highest ever electrofishing catch of Smallmouth Bass. The Bass ranged in length from 6.5 to just over 19 inches with a mean length of 10.5 inches. Size structure of Smallmouth Bass was balanced with good numbers of all sizes. Additionally, the overall health of the Smallmouth Bass is excellent. Overall, the Smallmouth Bass are doing well on East Twin Lake with many fish less than 14 inches that could dominate the fishery over the next 4 years. However, a trophy Smallmouth Bass is not out of the question in East Twin Lake with fish over 19 inches!
The Walleye population in East Twin Lake can be characterized as a young population with lots of potential to produce good numbers of 15 to 16 inch Walleye over the next several years given continued growth and survival. Walleye were caught at a rate of 16.0 per gill net and 4.3 per trap net. Both of these catch rates exceeded the normal range for East Twin Lake. Additionally, the gill net and trap net catch rates are the second highest on record. Walleye in the gill nets ranged in length from 8.5 to 24.5 inches with a mean length of just under 18 inches. Walleye in the trap net had a similar size distribution but had a mean length of only 11.5 inches. Overall, most Walleye in the gill net and trap net sample were less than 12 inches, but some larger fish were present. The health of the Walleye in the net samples was typical for East Twin Lake.
Yellow Perch in East Twin Lake are more of a forage base than a booming fishery. With that said, there are some Yellow Perch larger than 10 inches that will contribute to the fishery as a bonus when fishing for Walleye and Smallmouth Bass. The Yellow Perch catch rates for both gill nets and trap nets were within the normal ranges for East Twin Lake. Yellow Perch ranged in length from 7 to just under 11 inches with a mean length of 9 inches in gill nets and trap nets. Overall, both the size structure and the overall body condition of the Yellow Perch were good.
Other species sampled in the gill nets not mentioned above were Black Bullhead, Black Crappie, and White Sucker. The catch rates of Black Bullhead and Black Crappie were below the normal range for East Twin Lake. The White Sucker catch rate was above the normal range for East Twin Lake.
Other species sampled in the trap nets not mentioned above were Black Bullhead, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Common Carp, and White Sucker. The catch rates of Black Bullhead, Common Carp, and White Sucker were within the normal range for East Twin Lake. The catch rates of Black Crappie and Bluegill were less than the normal range for East Twin Lake. However, the Bluegill catch rate was more than the long-term average of just over 1 per trap net. All Bluegill in the sample ranged in length from 6 to just over 8.5 inches. The Bluegill fishery is on the verge of becoming a go to spot. Some fish should be harvestable size, but most are usually a good candidate for catch-and-release.