Lake Fourteen is located in St. Louis County near the town of Buhl. The lake has a surface area of 376 acres and a maximum depth of 15 feet (100% littoral). Due to the shallow nature of the lake, aquatic vegetation growth is extensive. Surveys dating back to 1955 mention the abundant vegetation. Northern pike, black crappie and bluegill are the primary management species.
Northern pike catches in Lake Fourteen have historically been high. The northern pike gill-net catch in 2010 was 10.7/net, up from 8.2/net in the previous survey (1998). This is above the lake management plan goal of 7.0/net and the expected range for this lake class. Northern pike size structure declined in the most recent assessment. Mean length declined from 23.6 inches in 1998 to 21.1 inches in 2010. Mean weight of gill-net sampled pike also decreased from 3.3 pounds to 2.3 pounds. Age analysis indicated consistent recruitment with fish ages 2 through 7, and 10 present in the sample. Mean length-at-age was below the statewide average for ages 1 and 2, and similar to the statewide average for all other ages. Northern pike grew to 22.7 inches in 5 years.
Net catches for black crappie were within the expected ranges at 1.7/gill net and 2.0/trap net. Size structure was relatively poor. Gill-net sampled crappie averaged 7.2 inches and trap-net sampled crappie averaged 6.8 inches. Recruitment appeared consistent with ages 3 through 8, and 10 present in the sample. Mean length-at-age was below the statewide average for all ages. Black crappie took 7 years to reach 9.6 inches.
Bluegill catches were above the expected range in the previous two assessments. The trap-net catch for bluegill increased again in 2010, to 36.8/net. Increased abundance of bluegill has been a common occurrence in many lakes in recent years. Size structure of bluegill was poor. Sampled fish ranged from 2.7 to 9.1 inches, with a mean length of 4.5 inches. Only 2% of bluegill exceeded 8 inches.
Low numbers of walleye have been sampled in previous assessments, and only two were captured in 2010. The fish were both aged at 4 years old and averaged 14.6 inches. The yellow perch gill-net catch remained below the expected range at 2.5/net.
Other species sampled in test nets included pumpkinseed, hybrid sunfish and golden shiner. Local residents mentioned that largemouth bass have become increasingly abundant in the lake, but none were sampled in this assessment. Near-shore IBI (Index of Biotic Integrity) sampling with a small-mesh seine and back-pack electrofishing was conducted in 2010 in an attempt to capture smaller fishes not normally encountered with standard sampling gear. Additional species captured in near-shore sampling included Iowa darter, Johnny darter and tadpole madtom.