Beauty Lake is a typical bass/panfish lake in central Minnesota that provides a diversity of angling opportunities. The lake has a reputation for producing good seasonal fishing for walleye, northern pike, bluegill, and black crappie. Bluegills are the primary summer target while black crappies typically provide a winter fishery. The lake has development on most of the south half of the lake which includes a bible camp on the west shore. With the north end being mostly marsh, development is set back further from the lakeshore or absent. Summer water clarity was excellent for a lake in this area of the State, as the lake has a watershed comprised mainly of forest, grasslands, and marsh.
Northern pike numbers increased significantly since the last survey in 2008 but average size was about the same at 20 inches or 1.8 pounds. Several fish exceeding 30 inches were observed in the 2012 summer survey. Anglers should consider keeping northern pike less than 24 inches as a harvestable surplus of small fish exists. Reducing the population of small northern pike could be beneficial to the entire fish community. Walleye management in particular would benefit from lower pike numbers. Yellow perch numbers continue to be below normal levels when compared to similar type lakes and have been for the last three surveys which could be a result of high pike numbers and walleye stocking. Perch can be an important prey species for both the northern pike and walleye. They can also be instrumental in helping maintain a well-balanced bluegill population with fast growing, quality size individuals.
The walleye population in the lake has been sustained through fingerling stocking in odd years and abundance was within the normal range when compared to similar type lakes. A wide range of sizes were apparent in the walleye catch. Walleye ranged from 7 to 25 inches with the average size being 18 inches or about 2 pounds. Fish up to 27 inches have been documented in past surveys. Anglers on the lake during the survey reported good walleye fishing this year.
Beauty Lake supports a good largemouth bass population although residents reported poor bass fishing this year. Spring electrofishing was used to evaluate the largemouth bass population. Average size in the electrofishing catch was 14 inches which was higher than many lakes with fish up to 19 inches observed. Many of the summer fishermen were seeking bluegills while black crappies seem to be more popular in the winter. Some nice size bluegills over 8 inches were caught during the survey. Few crappies were seen in the survey which is not that unusual as they can be a difficult species to catch in nets. Most of the crappies in the summer survey were less than 9 inches in length.
Other fish species that are present in the lake include bowfin or dogfish, brown bullhead, white sucker, and yellow bullhead. Yellow bullheads were the most abundant on the two species of bullheads. The single brown bullhead was over 14 inches while the average yellow bullhead was over 11 inches in length.
Neascus or black spot was common on the northern pike and yellow perch. Neascus is a trematode or parasite that is usually found in the skin of the fish. The life cycle of the parasite also includes snails and fish-eating birds, such as herons and bitterns. Skinning the fish removes most of the parasites and cooking will kill the rest. Humans cannot be infested.
Protecting the water quality in Beauty Lake has been and should be a high priority of the lake association and landowners around the lake. Preservation of the emergent vegetation beds can improve water quality, reduce shoreline erosion, and protect valuable fish habitat. Buffer strips along inlets and lakeshore property are encouraged to reduce nutrients entering the water. Maintaining adequate septic systems, keeping grass clippings and raked leaves out of the lake, and the common sense use of lawn fertilizer will also help reduce nutrient loading, thus slowing algae and excess weed growth.