Fish Lake is a 267-acre mesotrophic (moderately fertile) lake located in northwest Otter Tail County nine miles northeast of Pelican Rapids, MN. A portion of Fish Lake is also referred to as Bass Lake. Fish Lake is connected to Pelican Lake by a navigable channel. The immediate watershed is composed of mixed hardwood forest. The maximum depth is 69 feet; however, 30% of the lake is 15 feet or less in depth. The secchi disk reading was 13.5 feet, indicating good water clarity. Previous secchi disk readings ranged from 8.9 to 11.3 feet.
Shoalwater substrates consist primarily of sand and gravel. Hardstem bulrush and common cattail are prevalent along the shorelines of the lake. These emergent plants provide valuable fish and wildlife habitat and are critical in maintaining good water quality. Emergent plants also provide critical spawning habitat for several species of fish including northern pike, largemouth bass, and panfish. They also serve as important nursery areas for many species of fish. Because of their ecological value, emergent plants cannot be removed without a DNR permit.
Since Fish Lake is connected to Pelican Lake, population dynamics of the fish community tend to reflect those in Pelican Lake.
The northern pike test-net catch rate exceeded the normal range for this class of lake. Age data indicate that pike reproduction is consistently good. Pike ranged in length from 10.9 to 33.7 inches with an average length and weight of 19.6 inches and 1.8 pounds. Seventeen percent of the northern pike were 24.0 inches or greater in length. Pike attain an average length of 21.9 inches at five years of age.
The walleye test-net catch rate was within the normal range for this class of lake. The 2002 and 2006 year classes are strong. These year classes are also strong in Pelican Lake. Walleyes ranged in length from 10.0 to 22.6 inches with an average length and weight of 15.3 inches and 1.3 pounds. Walleye attain an average length of 14.1 inches at four years of age.
The bluegill test-net catch rate was within the normal range for this class of lake. Bluegill size structure is very good. The average length of bluegill was 6.9 inches. Sixty-five percent of the bluegills were 7.0 inches or greater in length. Bluegills attain an average length of 7.5 inches at five 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
- Zebra Mussel
Recreational activities such as recreational boating, angling, waterfowl hunting, and diving may spread aquatic invasive species. Some aquatic invasive species can attach to boats, while others can become tangled on propellers, anchor lines, or boat trailers. Many species can survive in bilge water, ballast tanks, and motors or may hide in dirt or sand that clings to nets, buckets, anchors, and waders. Fortunately, completing simple steps can prevent the transport of aquatic invasive species.