Bloody Lake is shallow basin (maximum depth of 9 feet) that is 248 acres and is located in Murray County. Historically, Bloody Lake has been prone to partial winterkills; however, low oxygen was last observed in Feb. 2010. An aeration system was installed in 1993, with the intent to reduce the frequency and/or severity of winterkill. Bloody Lake is connected to Lake Shetek by a narrow channel, thus its fishery is influenced heavily by management activities on Lake Shetek. Bloody Lake is managed primarily for Walleye, and secondarily for Yellow Perch, Black Crappie, and Northern Pike. Bloody Lake was surveyed the week of July 5, 2016 to monitor fish populations using one gill net and nine trap nets.
The 2016 Walleye catch rate was 9.0 per gill net, which exceeds the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes. Lengths ranged from 11.0 to 23.9 inches and averaged 14.5 inches, with most being between 11.0 and 14.0 inches. In previous surveys, Walleye growth has been fast, as total length at age-3 averaged 15.3 inches; however, in 2016, average total length at age-3 was 12.2 inches, which is slow growth compared to similar lakes. The slow growth could be attributed to an abundant year class and/or limited prey availability. Sixty percent of the Walleye were age-3, corresponding to a strong year class in Lake Shetek.
In 2016, the Yellow Perch catch rate was 6.0 per gill net, which is within the expected range of catch rates for similar lakes, but below the average since 1996 (30.5 per gill net). Yellow Perch lengths ranged from 8.4 to 8.7 inches, indicating the presence of one year class and limited natural reproduction.
Black Crappie were sampled at a rate of 22.0 per gill net, which is higher than expected catch rates in similar lakes. Multiple year classes were present, with lengths ranging from 5.0 to 10.3 inches and averaging 8.4 inches, suggesting that the population is sustained through natural reproduction. Crappie fishing should be good in the spring when they are up shallow spawning. Try targeting downed trees in the water for best angling.
Northern Pike catch rates have not exceeded 0.6 per trap net and 0.0 per gill net since 1996. The 2016 catch rates were the highest observed catch rates at 1.2 per trap net and 2.0 per gill net. Lengths of Northern Pike ranged from 17.3 to 27.8 inches and averaged 23.7 inches. The operation of the Northern Pike rearing pond likely contributed to this slight increase in catch rates.
Black Bullhead catch rates in gill nets (29.0) and trap nets (0.7) remained below long term averages. Black bullheads ranged in length from 8.6 to 11.1 inches and averaged 10.1 inches. Channel Catfish abundance increased drastically from 1.5 per gill net in 2010 to 8.0 per gill net in 2016, which is similar to what was observed on Lake Shetek. Channel Catfish ranged from 11.7 to 25.7 inches and averaged 19.2 inches. Common Carp were sampled at a rate of 0.6 per trap net, which is below expected catch rates in similar lakes. Other species sampled included Bigmouth Buffalo, Bluegill, Orangespotted Sunfish, Quillback, White Crappie, and Yellow Bullhead.