Cedar Lake is a small, mostly shallow basin located three miles southwest of Monticello in northern Wright County. The only access on this recreational development lake is user-developed and located off of Aetna Avenue NE. Most development has occurred on the north end of the lake. Because of shallowness and good water clarity, native aquatic plants grow in great diversity. No stocking has been done and management has been limited to periodic netting. The last survey was in 1991. For the first time the basin on the west side of Aetna Avenue, referred to as Little Cedar, was included as part of the survey.
Curled pondweed was assessed at the time of peak abundance on June 1, 2007. It grew near or to the surface over 2.5 acres or less than 1% of the entire basin. Coontail, flatstem pondweed and white waterlily were the most common aquatic plants in the lake. Submersed plants grew out to a depth of 14 feet. At the time the survey was conducted in the latter part of June oxygen was available to 22 feet.
Few changes in the fisheries are apparent between the 1991 and 2007 surveys. Northern pike may be somewhat more abundant and bluegill somewhat less abundant than in the past. Northern pike are on the high end of normal range but the average size northern pike was two and a half pounds. Forage species such as golden shiners and yellow perch were not abundant.
A primary management species for Cedar Lake is largemouth bass. Cedar Lake has an excellent bass population with a wide range of sizes available to anglers including fish up to 20 inches. Largemouth bass grow slowly in Cedar Lake, taking six years to reach 12 inches. The 2007 survey was the first opportunity to sample with night-time electrofishing.
Cedar Lake has a moderately abundant population of bluegills. However, few quality size bluegills can be found in the Lake. Only one fish larger than seven inches was captured with trap nets and the average size of the bluegills was about five inches. The bluegill in Cedar Lake grew slower than the statewide average. The oldest bluegill sampled was 11 years old and 6.4 inches in length.
Cedar Lake has a low population of black crappie with only three fish above nine inches captured with trap nets. Growth of black crappie was slightly less than the statewide average. Black crappie reached eight inches in six years.
Other species in the fish community include hybrid and pumpkinseed sunfish, bowfin and black, brown and yellow bullheads.
Maintaining the water quality in Cedar Lake should be a high priority of the county and landowners around the lake. Some effort may be needed to identify any sources of phosphorus and plans developed to reduce these sources. Buffer strips on inlets and lakeshore property are encouraged to reduce nutrients entering the lake. Maintaining adequate septics and keeping grass clippings and raked leaves out the lake will help reduce nutrients entering the lake, thus slowing algae and excess vegetation growth.