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Crystal Lake is located in Otter Tail County, Minnesota. This lake is 1,412 acres in size. It is approximately 55 feet deep at its deepest point. When fishing, anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Bluegill, Largemouth Bass and Walleye.
NOTE: This list may not be all inclusive of all speices present in Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake is a 1,317-acre mesotrophic (moderately fertile) lake located in northwestern Otter Tail County approximately six miles northeast of Pelican Rapids, MN. Crystal Lake is part of the Otter Tail River Watershed. The immediate watershed is composed primarily of agricultural land interspersed with hardwood woodlots. Crystal Lake is connected to Lizzie Lake by a navigable culvert under County Road 31. The maximum depth is 55 feet; however, 51% of the lake is 15 feet or less in depth. The secchi disk reading during the 2006 lake survey was 6.8 feet. Previous secchi disk readings have ranged from 5.3 to 10.0 feet. The MN DNR has classified Minnesotas lakes into 43 different lake classes based on physical and chemical characteristics. Crystal Lake is included in lake class 27; other area lakes in this same classification include Lizzie, Pelican, West Battle, Little McDonald, and Pickerel. The northwest, south, and east shorelines of Crystal Lake have been extensively developed with homes and cabins. A DNR owned concrete public water access is located along the west shoreline. Shoal water substrates consist primarly of sand and gravel with muck being the dominant substrate in the bays. Large stands of hardstem bulrush are scattered throughout the lake. Emergent aquatic plants such as bulrush provide valuable fish and wildlife habitat, and are critical for maintaining good water quality. They protect shorelines and lake bottoms, and can actually absorb and break down polluting chemicals. Emergent plants provide spawning areas for fish such as northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. They also serve as important nursery areas for all species of fish. Because of their ecological value, emergent plants may not be removed without a DNR permit. Crystal Lake can be ecologically classified as a walleye-centrachid type of lake and this is reflected in the assemblage of the fish community. Walleye, northern pike, black crappie, and bluegill are the dominant gamefish species. Walleye is a primary management species in this lake. The walleye test-net catch rate was within the expected range for similar lakes. Walleye test-net catch rates have consistently been within the normal range. Walleye ranged in length from 12.4 to 25.3 inches with an average length and weight of 17.4 inches and 1.8 pounds. Data from recent test-netting assessments indicates that limited walleye natural reproduction is occurring in Crystal Lake. To supplement the population produced from natural reproduction, the DNR stocks 674,000 walleye fry on a biennial basis. The northern pike test-net catch rate exceeded the expected range for similar lakes. Length data indicate that pike reproduction is consistently good. Pike ranged in length from 9.8 to 34.5 inches with an average length and weight of 18.7 inches and 1.4 pounds. Data from recent surveys indicate that black crappie abundance and size distribution is good. Black crappie in the spring trapnetting assessment ranged in length from 6.8 to 11.7 inches. Sixty-six percent of the black crappie sample was at least 10.0 inches in length. Bluegill test-net catch rates have remained stable over the recent series of surveys. Sixteen percent of the bluegill sample was 7.0 inches or greater in length. The DNR does not stock any fish species other than walleye in Crystal Lake. The other species present are able to sustain their levels at or above management goals without stocking. This is an indication of the quality of fish habitat that is available. To maintain the excellent angling and water quality this lake has to offer, it is imperative to preserve the quality of the aquatic habitat. In 1998, the DNR constructed and placed forty smallmouth bass half-log nesting structures in Crystal Lake. These structures increased the availability of suitable nesting habitat for smallmouth bass. Anglers can maintain the quality of fishing in Crystal Lake by practicing selective harvest. Selective harvest encourages the release of medium to large size fish while allowing the harvest of more abundant smaller fish for table fare. Releasing the medium to large fish will ensure that the lake will have enough spawning age fish on an annual basis and will provide anglers with more opportunities to catch more large fish in the future.
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