Staff sampled Baker Lake May 4-5 to evaluate the fishery using two methods: three mini fyke nets and two standard fyke nets. The mini fykes are used to capture young fish and small bodies fish (fathead minnows) and the standard fyke nets capture adult and large bodied fish. In brief, sampling was very effective, all the fish species stocked are still present, no surprise species were found, the young-of-year perch and crappie that naturally hatched last year are still present and growing well, and the adult fish stocked are also growing very well. Another huge reality, and one of the major goals desired from the lake rehabilitation, is no evidence of a fish winterkill for at least the first winter!
The first picture shows a very respectable 12 inch black crappie on the right and a 15.5 inch white crappie on the left. This is one of the larger white crappie our staff have ever seen, it weighed 2.64 pounds! The second picture above is what a standard fyke net looks like while its fishing, they have a 50 foot lead that runs from shore to the 4 foot tall by 5 foot wide rectangular hoops followed by 3 round hoops.
Fish stocking or wild fish transfers in 2020 included: two wild fish transfers of walleye from the Yellowstone River at Intake in April (see table below summarizing number and size of fish) and the Miles City hatchery will stock 10,000 fingerling walleye in mid-June.
Call if you have any questions about this information. We will sample Baker Lake again in the fall to further everyone’s understanding of how the fishery evolves during the second year at large.