Half Moon Lake is a 169-acre lake with a maximum depth of 40 feet located five miles south of Eveleth off of state highway 53 in central St. Louis County. The watershed that drains into Half Moon is 1572 acres in size. This gives over nine acres of watershed draining into the lake for every acre of lake. The watershed is mainly composed of forest (47%), wetlands (29%), and residential (12%). Most of the shoreline on Half Moon Lake is owned by Minneapolis YMCA and is mostly forested with bog. There is no public access on the lake.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified Minnesota's lakes into 43 different types based on physical and chemical characteristics. Half Moon is in lake class 10. With 46 lakes in this class, this is the most abundant lake class in the Tower Fisheries Area. Lakes in this class are typically small in size with greater than 50% of the lake less than 15 feet in depth. Lakes have soft water and are moderately clear.
Half Moon Lake has an abundant bluegill population. The bluegill trap net catch rate of 107 bluegill/net is well above the range typical for this lake class and well above what was found in the past. Bluegill ranged in length from 3.5 inches to 8.4 inches with only 5% greater than or equal to 7 inches. Bluegill grew slowly. At age four, a typical Half Moon bluegill were only 3.4 inches long.
Another member of the sunfish that anglers can have success catching is black crappie. Crappie ranged from 5.3 inches to 12.9 inches. Over a third of them were longer than 8 inches. Other members of the sunfish family that were captured in 2011 include pumpkinseed and largemouth bass.
Northern pike were more abundant in Half Moon than typical for this lake class. Pike ranged in length from 10.7 inches to 33.9 inches with an average length and weight of 20.0 inches and 2.1 pounds. Nine different year classes were identified indicating excellent natural reproduction.
Half Moon Lake was selected for fish index of biotic integrity (IBI) sampling. This index is designed to help determine the overall health of the biological fish community of the lake. This type of sampling will typically capture the non-game species and young-of-year game species. Eleven different species were identified. Central mudminnow, golden shiner, and tadpole madtom were non-game species sampled. Bluegill, largemouth bass, and yellow perch young-of-year were also sampled. One yellow bullhead was also sampled.
In 2011, an aquatic plant survey was conducted on Half Moon Lake for the first time since 1975. Forty-five plant species were identified with watershield and Robbins pondweed rated as abundant. Aquatic plants are very important for the overall health of the aquatic community. Development pressure is increasing around the shorelines and within the watersheds of many Minnesota lakes. This development can degrade water quality and impact valuable shoreline habitat. Native shoreline vegetation provides habitat for fish and wildlife, filters harmful nutrients, and protects against shoreline erosion. Lakeshore owners can minimize their impact on the shoreline and maintain a more natural setting while actually decreasing annual maintenance. For more information on how to accomplish this, contact the nearest Area Fisheries office or visit www.mndnr.gov and look up shoreland management.