Fish Consumption Advisory
No fish consumption information is available for this lake. For more information, see the "Fish Consumption Advice
" pages at the Minnesota Department of Health
Status of the Fishery (as of 06/21/2004)
Gilstad and Little Gilstad Lakes are considered one lake for fisheries management purposes. The channel between the two lakes allows free movement of fish and can be navigated by boats. Gilstad Lake is located three miles south of Blackduck in southeast Beltrami County. There is a US Forest Service concrete public access on the south end of the lake. Both lakes total 294 acres with a maximum depth of 55 feet (on Gilstad Lake). The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified Minnesota's lakes into 43 different lake classes based on physical and chemical characteristics. Gilstad Lake is in lake class 25. Other area lakes in the same lake class include Turtle River, Itasca, Long Lost, Balm, Beltrami, Big Buzzle, Big Moose and Pimushe Lakes. Typically lakes in this class are clear, deep, hardwater lakes with irregular shaped shorelines. The lake is within the Chippewa National Forest. There is a DNR disability accessible fishing pier at the public access. Also, within casting distance of the fishing pier are fish cribs that were installed by the USFS. DNR Fisheries manages the lake for black crappie, bluegill, walleye and northern pike.
If anglers are looking for a small quiet lake with a multitude of species to fish for, Gilstad Lake would be a good choice. Northern pike are abundant and have the potential to be quite large in the lake. Pike sampled in 2004 ranged in length from 16 to 36 inches with an average length and weight of 23 inches and 3.3 pounds. Anglers can expect to catch numerous pike in the 20 - 24 inch range. Pike feed mainly on yellow perch, white sucker and tullibee. Ages 1 -7 were present with ages 3 an 4 comprising 55% of the sample. Growth of pike is above average. At three years old, pike were 21 inches.
Even though walleye fingerling have been stocked on a two out of three year rotation in Gilstad Lake, they are not abundant. There does not appear to be any dominant size range, just a scattering of fish over a wide range of lengths. Walleye sampled in 2004 were 8 to 26 inches in length.
Historically black crappie have always been abundant in Gilstad Lake, and the 2004 assessment had the highest catch rates ever. Crappie sampled in 2004 ranged from 4 to 10.4 inches long with an average length of 8 inches. The reason crappie are so abundant in Gilstad Lake is because of the consistent production of young crappies. Five consecutive year classes were sampled in 2004.
Yellow perch are also abundant but small in Gilstad Lake. Only one perch was sampled that was greater than 8 inches long. They are, however, excellent forage for predator fish such as northern pike and walleye.
Bluegill is another species that anglers can do well fishing for. With the many small bays and irregular shoreline, anglers have many areas to check out when fishing for bluegill. Bluegill sampled in 2004 ranged in length from 3 to 8.4 inches with an average length of 5.6 inches. Approximately 30% of the sampled bluegill were greater than 7 inches long.
Quality-sized bluegill are disappearing from many of our lakes due to excessive harvest by anglers. If we are going to maintain some quality in our bluegill populations, anglers will need to show some voluntary restraint when bluegill are really biting. By practicing selective harvest, anglers could harvest the smaller more abundant bluegill for eating, and release some of the medium to large fish. This would help maintain balance in the population and ensure the opportunity to catch large bluegill in the future.
Other fish sampled in 2004 include pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, bullheads, largemouth bass and bowfin (dogfish)