Bass is a small, deep lake west of Swanville. The lake has moderate summer water clarity with a secchi disk reading of 12.5 feet. The township owns an access on the southwest side of the lake with limited parking on top of the hill. Most of the development has occurred on the west side of the lake. Fishing structures include steep drop-offs, weedlines, and a sunken island. The lake has a reputation of producing trophy size fish which led to the implementation of conservation limits to manage for a balanced community with large predators. The regulation allows two walleye, one bass, and one northern pike over 40 inches.
Both the summer survey and a spring assessment in 2010 documented the presence of trophy size fish. Walleye up to 30 inches and northern pike over 40 inches were measured as well as largemouth bass up to 21 inches. The 2010 northern pike summer gill net catch was a record high for the lake, largely due to a strong 2007 year class. Despite the increased numbers, the pike average size in the summer survey was 2.7 pounds. The 2010 summer walleye gill net catch was below management goals with medium to larger walleye dominating both the summer and spring samples. Walleye fingerling had been stocked every third year and that along with natural reproduction sustained the population. Fingerling stocking, however, will be increased to every other year. Bass Lake has an abundant largemouth bass population with a wide range of sizes available to anglers. Average size in the summer survey was about 13 inches, however, bass up to 21 inches were recorded in the 2010 spring assessment.
Panfish species include black crappie, bluegill, hybrid sunfish, and pumpkinseed. Black crappie were first documented in Bass Lake in 1998 and since then have become abundant. Average size for the crappie in all the 2010 sampling methods was about nine inches, although, there were some measured up to eleven inches. Bluegill up to seven inches were measured, but most of the fish were from five to six inches as were the other species of sunfish.
Yellow bullhead was the only roughfish species sampled in the summer survey, while both yellow bullhead and white sucker were caught in the 2010 spring assessment. Net catches for the bullhead suggest an abundant population. Anglers have an opportunity to catch some quality bullhead in Bass Lake as the average size was almost eleven inches with some measured over thirteen inches.
Anglers have a rare opportunity in this part of Minnesota to catch trophy size fish. Some of these fish attain their size because they have been recycled (caught and released). Please handle the fish with care when catching them and pass the fishing experience on to another. Fishermen and recreational boaters are reminded that they need to be diligent about cleaning both their boats and trailers when going between lakes to prevent the spread of exotic species. Bass Lake has a small watershed and water quality in the lake can be easily influenced by actions of landowners. Being a responsible lakeshore owner by maintaining home septic systems and keeping shoreline buffer zones will help to slow algae and excess weed growth.