Goodners Lake is a popular panfish lake located five miles northwest of Kimball in southeastern Stearns County. The lake is 150 acres and has a maximum depth of 24 feet. It has a watershed that is primarily agricultural and this is reflected in the lower water clarity (4.2 foot average in summer). The lake has a fringe of cattails that surrounds over 60 percent of the shoreline. It also has large beds of yellow water lilies and scattered patches of bulrush and wild rice. Curly-leaf pondweed can grow to nuisance levels in the spring in some near shore areas; however a survey in June, 2015 found less than one percent of the lakes surface area covered with curly-leaf pondweed beds. A point intercept plant survey was conducted in mid summer and found 15 species of aquatic plants that grew to maximum depth of 14 feet with coontail, star duckweed, yellow waterlily, and chara being the most common.
Although Bluegill and Black Crappie are the main draw for anglers, the lake also supports other fish species that may attract anglers. Such as Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike which are the primary managed species for Goodners Lake. Although few Largemouth Bass were captured during the spring electrofishing survey, most of the bass observed were greater than 12 inches and anglers have a chance at catching quality size fish as bass up to 18 inches have been observed in previous surveys.
The Northern Pike population is dominated by smaller fish as few fish over 30 inches have been documented in any of the surveys done on the lake. The 2015 gill net catch was above management goals, and also above the normal range when compared to similar lakes. Anglers are encouraged to harvest the surplus of fish under 22 inches and release the larger pike. This would help maintain a healthy predator/prey balance within the fish community.
Black Crappie provide a popular spring and winter fishery and high numbers of crappie were sampled in the summer assessment, but few over eight inches were sampled. Anglers looking for Bluegill have a chance to find some "keepers" as fish over seven inches were common in the summer assessment.
Walleye were last stocked in Goodners Lake by the DNR in 1987. Goodners Lake has few Yellow Perch present and an abundance of Northern Pike making it difficult to establish a Walleye population. Stocking was discontinued due to poor returns and no Walleye have been sampled since 1994.
All three species of bullhead, yellow, brown, and black, can be found in Goodners Lake. Yellow Bullhead are the most abundant of the three species. Quality size fish over eleven inches were caught of all three species with some individuals up to 14 inches being measured. Other fish sampled in the survey included Bowfin, Hybrid Sunfish, Pumpkinseed Sunfish and Golden Shiner.
Proper land use practices are encouraged within the watershed and by the lakeshore owners to improve the water quality and fish habitat in Goodners Lake. Protecting the fish habitat is important to help sustain the quality and balance of the fish community.