Fish Lake is a 435-acre eutrophic (fertile) lake located in southeastern Otter Tail County, approximately three miles southwest of Parkers Prairie, MN. The immediate watershed consists primarily of agricultural land interspersed with hardwood woodlots. The maximum depth is 17 feet; however, 98% of the lake is 15 feet or less in depth. The secchi disk reading during the 2012 lake survey was 9.1 feet. Previous secchi disk readings have ranged from 3.5 to 13.5 feet.
Shoreline development is very limited. A DNR owned public water access is located along the east shoreline. Areas of hardstem bulrush, common cattail, and wild rice are prevalent throughout the lake. Emergent aquatic plants 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.
Fish Lake is subject to periodic winterkills; therefore, fish populations can fluctuate widely dependent on the frequency and extent of winterkill events. The most recent partial winterkill occurred in the winter of 1996-97.
Fish Lake can be ecologically classified as a bass-panfish type of lake and this is reflected in the assemblage of the fish community. Northern pike, largemouth bass, black crappie, and bluegill are the dominant gamefish species.
A moderate-density northern pike population exists. Age data indicate that northern pike reproduction is consistently good. Pike ranged in length from 14.5 to 32.7 inches with an average length and weight of 23.9 inches and 3.4 pounds. Pike attain an average length of 26.5 inches at four years of age.
A balanced largemouth bass population is present in Fish Lake. Bass ranged in length from 5.4 to 19.6 inches with an average length and weight of 12.7 inches and 1.3 pounds. Bass attain an average length of 14.7 inches at five years of age.
A high-density black crappie population is present. The 2008 and 2009 year classes are very strong and should provide excellent crappie angling for several years. Crappies attain an average length of 8.3 inches at four years of age.
A quality bluegill fishery exists in Fish Lake. Ninety percent of the bluegills in the trap net sample were 7.0 inches or greater in length. Bluegill growth is fast with an average length of 7.7 inches at four years of age.
Anglers can maintain the quality of angling 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 large fish in the future.