Gull Lake in Northern Minnesota.

  • Gull Lake information:

    Provided by DNR - Survey Date: 07/12/2004 - Inventory Number: 04-0120-00 

    Name: GILSTAD - Nearest Town: TENSTRIKE - Primary County: Beltrami

     

    Public Access Information
    Ownership Type Description
    Minnesota DNR Concrete State owned access on southwest side of lake, T. 148, R. 32, S. 4, Concrete ramp with approx 8 unit parking
     

     

    Lake Characteristics
    Lake Area (acres): 2,243.00
    Littoral Area (acres): 1,869.00
    Maximum Depth (ft): 23.00
    Water Clarity (ft): 7.50
    Dominant Bottom Substrate: N/A
    Abundance of Aquatic Plants: N/A
    Maximum Depth of Plant Growth (ft): N/A
    Did you know? The state operates 17 hatcheries: 5 for trout and salmon and 12 for coolwater species.
     


     

    Fish Sampled for the 2004 Survey Year

    Number of fish per net
    Species Gear Used Caught Normal Range Average Fish Weight (lbs) Average Fish Weight (lbs)
    Black Bullhead Gill net
    Trap net
    0.1
    trace
    0.5 - 2.7
    0.5 - 11.3
    0.52
    0.30
    0.2 - 0.4
    0.3 - 0.8
    Black Crappie Gill net 0.1 1.0 - 10.5 0.21 0.2 - 0.3
    Bluegill Gill net 
    Trap net
    0.1
    23.7
    N/A - N/A
    4.0 - 28.1
    0.11
    0.10
    N/A - N/A
    0.1 - 0.3
    Brown Bullhead Gill net 
    Trap net
    2.9
    4.4
    0.7 - 4.5
    0.5 - 4.3
    0.74
    0.99
    0.5 - 0.9
    0.1 - 2.4
    Burbot Gill net 0.2 0.1 - 0.2 2.08 0.1 - 2.4
    Hybrid Sunfish Trap net 0.3 N/A - N/A 0.38 N/A - N/A
    Largemouth Bass Trap net 0.7 0.2 - 0.6 1.18 0.2 - 1.0
    Northern Pike Gill net 
    Trap net
    14.3
    0.9
    3.6 - 11.0
    N/A - N/A
    2.04
    2.38
    1.3 - 2.3
    N/A - N/A
    Pumpkinseed Sunfish Gill net 
    Trap net
    1.3
    12.0
    N/A - N/A
    1.5 - 6.8
    0.09
    0.09
    N/A - N/A
    0.1 - 0.3
    Rock Bass Gill net
    Trap net
    1.5
    0.8
    0.2 - 1.4
    0.3 - 1.0
    0.45
    0.23
    0.3 - 0.6
    0.3 - 0.6
    Walleye Trap net
    Gill net
    0.4
    2.1
    0.3 - 1.1
    1.0 - 3.2
    1.46
    1.52
    1.2 - 3.4
    1.0 - 2.1
    White Sucker Gill net 1.5 0.7 - 3.5 2.47 1.5 - 2.4
    Yellow Bullhead Gill net
    Trap net
    5.5
    12.1
    0.6 - 7.0
    1.4 - 5.0
    0.6 - 7.0
    0.50
    0.3 - 0.7
    0.4 - 0.8
    Yellow Perch Gill net
    Trap net
    23.1
    10.0
    3.8 - 22.8
    0.5 - 3.3
    0.10
    0.08
    0.1 - 0.2
    0.1 - 0.2
     
    Normal Ranges represent typical catches for lakes with similar physical and chemical characteristics.
     
     
    Length of Selected Species Sampled for All Gear for the 2004 Survey Year
     

    Number of fish caught in each category (inches)

    Species 0-5 6-8 9-11 12-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 >29 Total
    Black Bullhead 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
    Black Crappie 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
    Bluegill 277 78 2 0 0 0 0 0 357
    Brown Bullhead 0 24 37 48 1 0 0 0 110
    Hybrid Sunfish 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
    Largemouth Bass 0 5 3 00 3 0 0 0 11
    Northern Pike 0 0 0 1 64 151 12 1 229
    Pumpkinseed Sunfish 179 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 200
    Rock Bass 17 5 12 0 0 0 0 0 34
    Walleye 0 4 3 6 21 4 0 0 38
    yellow bullhead 2 132 117 13 0 0 0 0 264
    Yellow Perch 344 151 1 0 0 0 0 0 496
     

    For the record, the largest Greater Redhorse taken in Minnesota weighed 11 lbs., 13 oz. and was 

    caught by:

    Who: Mitch Kunde, Brainerd, MN
    Where: Upper South Long Lake, Crow Wing County
    When: 5/18/95.
    Statistics: 29" length, 17 7/8" girth


     

     
    Fish Stocked by Species for the Last Five Years
    Year Species Age Number
    2003 Walleye Fly 1,710,000
    2003 Walleye Fly 1,900,000
    2005 Walleye Fly 1,900,000
     


     

    Status of the Fishery (as of 07/12/2004)


    Gull Lake is 2243-acre lake with a maximum depth of 23 feet. The lake is located next to the town of Tenstrike in central Beltrami County. There is a DNR concrete public access on the west end of the lake off of county road 23. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has classified Minnesota's lakes into 43 different lake classes based on physical and chemical characteristics. Gull Lake is in lake class 35. Other lakes in the same lake class include Big Bass, Larson, Moose (4-326), Rabideau and Stump Lakes. Typically lakes in this class vary in size, have high amounts of littoral area (less than 15 feet in depth) and are irregular in shape. The DNR manages the lake for walleye, bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass and northern pike. The stocking history of Gull Lake is long and varied and includes the stocking of northern pike (1951 - 1971), black crappie (1945), bluegill (1945 and 1984), largemouth bass (1963) and walleye (1945 - 2003). 

    Typically lakes in class 35 are not known as exceptional walleye fisheries. Many are not managed for walleye at all, and normal abundance for this class ranges between 1.0 and 3.2 walleye per gill net. An aggressive stocking program on Gull Lake has maintained considerably higher abundance ranging from 3.2 to 9.4 walleye per experimental gill net in seven previous assessments. The 2004 population assessment yielded a disappointing catch of only 2.1 walleye per net. While this is well within the normal range for other class 35 lakes, it represents a decline in what anglers have come to expect on Gull Lake. Size distribution of the walleye sampled shows a significant decline in young fish, under 15 inches, indicating poor recruitment from recent fry stocking. This fishery is still producing some quality fishing for larger walleye, but will need some successful year classes soon to replenish the population. Fry stocking has a history of producing excellent recruitment of young walleye in the past, but success can be variable. Special sampling is warranted to monitor the success or failure of fry stocking early so adjustments can be made if necessary. 

    The most abundant predator fish in Gull Lake is northern pike. A direct contrast with walleye, natural recruitment of young pike appears to be more than compensating for angler harvest. Small size and high abundance of pike has long been a problem on Gull Lake. An experimental regulation was implemented in 1988 that allowed anglers to harvest six pike per day with only one fish greater than 24 inches. It was hoped that this would improve the size of pike by harvesting the more abundant smaller pike and providing some protection to the larger pike. Creel survey of anglers showed that few anglers were taking advantage of this expanged bag and allowing one over 24 in the daily bag resulted in little protection for large pike. The regulation proved to be ineffective and was discontinued. . 

    In 2004 northern pike abundance was the highest recorded. The 2004 average length and weight of pike was 21.3 inches and 2.0 pounds and was somewhat better than any of the previous three surveys. Gull Lake pike growth rates are slightly slower than other area class 35 lakes, another indicator of the high density of this population. It is certainly possible that this density of small northern pike may be contributing to poor recruitment of young walleye. 

    Bluegill have been another important species in the Gull Lake fish community. It is uncertain if they were native to Gull Lake, but the first survey in 1951 confirmed a low density population of exceptional quality. The 28 bluegill sampled had an incredible average weight of 1.11 pounds. Bluegill have also exhibited considerable recruitment variability over the period of assessments. Population abundance peaked in the late 1980's. A creel survey conducted in 1988 documented 19% of anglers seeking bluegill, third behind walleye and northern pike. Bluegill declined in th 1990s following a number of successive years of poor recruitment and considerable targeted angling pressure. The 2004 assessment reveals good news for bluegill fishing in the near future. Catch rates have rebounded dramatically to levels near the all time high recorded in 1991. The size distribution of the 2004 sample documents the majority of the population between 3-7 inches, the result of successful reproduction in 2001 and 2002. With normal growth, these fish will provide some good fishing in the next few years. Since this population tends to be cyclic, and quality bluegill fisheries attract considerable angling pressure, steps are being taken to implement more conservative sunfish bag limits to protect this developing fishery from excessive exploitation when it does become established. 

    Yellow perch are the main forage for predators such as northern pike and walleye. In 2004 perch abundance was the lowest since 1972, possibly another indication of excessive northern pike density. Perch ranged in length from 4.7 to 9.1 inches with an average length of 6.0 inches. Only 4% of the sample was greater than 8 inches. 

    Other species sampled were black crappie, bullheads, burbot (eelpout), pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, white sucker and largemouth bass. Crappie and bass are important game fish species as well on Gull Lake but specific data on their population status would require special sampling measures.

    As with many lakes in the Bemidji area, shoreline development and alterations within the watershed have likely impacted fish habitat and water quality. Shoreline areas are critical areas for fish production and water quality. Overdeveloped shorelines can not support the fish, wildlife and clean water that is associated with natural undeveloped lakes. The combined effects of all lakeshore owners developing their shoreline can greatly affect a lake's ability to produce fish and protect water quality. Lakeshore owners can minimize their impact on shoreline and maintain a more natural setting. 

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