Crookneck is a small, shallow lake located between three of the largest lakes in Morrison County: Shamineau, Fish Trap, and Alexander. The lake is landlocked and has a relatively small watershed of 510 acres resulting in widely fluctuating water levels. A steep hill runs along the north side of the lake and most landowners have built on top of the bluff, thus leaving the lakeshore more natural looking. Water clarity was good at the time of the survey (mid-June) with a secchi disk reading of 12 feet. By mid-July, however the secchi disk reading had decreased to 4 feet due to an algae bloom. Sand was found to be the most abundant shallow water substrate around the lake. The lake has a diverse plant community with coontail and southern naiad being the most abundant submergent plant species, growing to a depth of 18 feet. Much of the shoreline that is suitable has already been developed. Most anglers on the lake seek northern pike, largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill.
The lake historically has had a high northern pike population. Despite the abundance, a fair number of pike over 24 inches are present, however, the average size observed in the survey was just over 2 pounds. Bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish were also abundant in the survey and most of the fish were small, under 6 inches in length. All of the black crappie caught in the survey were also small, under 8 inches in length. One fish species that may interest some anglers is largemouth bass. Crookneck Lake has shown that it can produce quality fish with bass over 19 inches present. Many of the bass in the spring electrofishing were more than 16 inches in length. Although walleye numbers are low, anglers have an opportunity to catch a quality size fish. Yellow perch numbers continue to be low which could be due to the high pike numbers. Perch can be an important food source for gamefish and have also been found to instrumental in helping maintain a well balanced bluegill population with fast growing, quality individuals.
There were two species of bullhead caught in the survey, black bullhead and brown bullhead. Some of the brown bullheads were up to 12 inches in length and were the more numerous of the two species. There were also two additional panfish species sampled in the survey, hybrid sunfish and rock bass.
Landowners on Crookneck Lake are encouraged to adopt good shoreline practices around the lake to help the water quality. Anglers are encouraged to harvest small northern pike under 24 inches and release the larger pike along with limiting harvest of larger bluegills to work toward a more balanced fish community. Anglers and other boaters should be aware that Crookneck Lake has curled pondweed and they need to diligently clean their boats and trailers upon exiting the water to avoid spreading the plant to other waters.