DNR biologist recommends more northerns for Lily Lake to improve bluegill size

Public domain photo by Briandykes

Public domain photo by Briandykes

Additional stocking of northern pike is being recommended for Lily Lake by a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources official.

But those pike aren’t needed to boost the population of that species as much as to create additional predators for bluegills, which show a poor size structure in the lake based on the findings of a survey conducted in 2002 and again in 2013.

DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist Luke S. Roffler recently summarized his findings concerning Lily Lake this way:

A few things are apparent right away. First, we don’t get out on Lilly (or many of our smaller lakes) very often. Also, when we do, we don’t catch a ton of fish. Given all that, I’m hesitant to make confident statements about the fish community. Based on just what we’ve caught, it looks like the bluegill on Lilly Lake exhibit the small size structure that seems to be common in many area lakes. Due to this, I’ve added Lilly as a reference lake (no regulation change) to the recent panfish regulation change proposal. So we will monitor Lilly for any changes to the bluegill size structure during the same timeframe as those that will have a panfish regulation change. We also had a relatively low catch rate for largemouth bass during our surveys on Lilly. Those we did catch seemed to exhibit good size structure in comparison to other lakes in the area, though I’d like to see a larger sample size to confirm. Given these results, I intend to continue stocking large fingerling northern pike at the maximum allowable rate (174 scheduled for this year). If possible, the association could consider a proposal to supplement our pike stocking or stock additional bass. Establishing a strong top predator presence in the lake should help improve the bluegill size structure over time.


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