Minnesota Lake

Gilstad Lake


From the Minnesota DNR:

Gilstad (249 acres) and Little Gilstad (40 acres) are recognized by the Division of Waters inventory as individual lakes. For fish management purposes, they were surveyed as one. All following references to Gilstad Lake refer to both basins combined. Gilstad Lake is located about 4 miles south of Blackduck, Minnesota and east of county road 39 (Scenic Highway). A public access owned by the U.S. Forest Service is on the south end of the lake. The boat ramp is of concrete logs, and there are parking facilities for about ten car/trailer fishing rigs. A disabled accessible fishing pier is also located at the access. Log cribs designed to attract fish to the area are situated near the pier to improve shore fishing success. Fish populations are compared with other similar lakes including Big Moose, Pimushe, Turtle River, Beltrami and Movil Lakes in the Bemidji area. Primary management is for largemouth bass, northern pike and bluegill with secondary species listed as walleye and black crappie. The Gilstad Lake fish community consists of a variety of centrarchid species. Largemouth bass are difficult to sample with standard assessment nets. None were captured in 1998, but they are present. Past assessments have captured bass to 18.5 inches. Bluegill were not as abundant as in past assessments but the catch rate was within the range found in comparable lakes. Unusually cool temperatures during normal spawning periods in 1992 and 1993 limited reproduction of bluegill and may be responsible for the current low abundance. Better spawning success in recent years has resulted in numerous young fish with a smaller average size than normal. The mean length of bluegill measured was 6.2 inches and the largest was 8.7 inches. Black crappie catch rate was within the normal range found in comparable lakes. All year classes since 1992 were sampled. The largest crappie sampled was 10.9 inches long and the average length was 7.1 inches. Rock bass were small averaging 5.4 inches long, and abundance was comparable to other lakes. Pumpkinseed sunfish were present but not common. They ranged from 3.4-7.5 inches long. Northern pike are commonly sought by anglers on Gilstad Lake, and they are generally large enough to be acceptable to anglers. The mean length of pike in 1998 was 22.5 inches and the largest was more than 38 inches long. Nearly half the pike examined had Neascus (black spot), a common fish parasite that is not harmful to humans. Walleye abundance may be at its lowest level since 1970. Only a few small fish, probably resulting from the 1996 stocking, were sampled. It appears that there is little contribution from natural reproduction. Yellow perch are common but with an average length of 5.8 inches and a maximum of 6.7 inches few of them are acceptable to anglers. Yellow grub and Neascus are present but their incidence is low. Tullibee are abundant but not readily caught by anglers. Fall netting for them is authorized but the extent of their harvest is not known. They are good forage for northern pike. Bullheads are not abundant but some larger ones (10-13 inches) may be acceptable to anglers. White suckers and dogfish (bowfin) are also present.

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