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Rat Lake Pannies

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I am heading up to Larson's Barn on Rat Lake for a music and camping weekend!! I am debating bringing up my canoe and have had no prior experience with this lake. What are the odds of hooking into a few fish. Maybe just a catch and release for fun. Any help and or info would be greatly appreciated!! Looking forward to any response!!!

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It used to be a great lake for panfish, but has been heavily fished during the winter the last couple of years. I think you will do alright with numbers but size will not impress you.

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Here's what the DRN says...

Status of the Fishery (as of 07/01/2002)

Rat Lake is a shallow, bog stained lake located in east central Aitkin County. Rat Lake has a history of occasional winterkill but it has not suffered a known winterkill since 1977. Northern pike, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish have all increased in abundance since the last survey. With this increase in the abundance the bluegill have shown a slower growth rate and a smaller average size than seen in past surveys. While the average length sampled decreased there were still several bluegill over nine inches in length sampled in this survey.

Black crappie abundance was similar to the index of 1997, but the average size was smaller. This appears to be the result primarily of age class distribution. One-third of the fish sampled in this survey were from one year class, three year old fish, while in 1997 the age class distribution showed that there were four year classes of almost equal strength supporting the fishery.

The northern pike gill net catch index increased since the last survey (1992) but unlike that survey, several fish were sampled that were larger than 23 inches. The influence of these larger individuals increased the average length almost three inches and the average weight increased almost one pound. Even though their growth rates are slower than normal, Rat Lake does have the potential to produce some trophy sized northern pike.

Walleye abundance is similar to the 1997 sample, and is still within the normal range for this lake class. Age class distribution indicates that there is little, if any, natural reproduction of walleye in Rat Lake as all of the walleye sampled were from year classes supplemented with walleye fry stocking. Growth rate is good and the average sampled walleye was over seventeen inches in length.

Yellow perch, while not overly abundant, are within the normal range for this lake class. While there was still a wide range of sizes sampled the numbers of larger individuals appears to be decreasing which is consistent with an increasing abundance of northern pike.

Bullhead populations were low. Both brown and yellow bullhead are below their normal range for this lake class.

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Keith,

What is your take on Rat Lake?

I haven't been there in years. We used to dance at the barn back when I lived in Palisade.

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the lake had a good year or two back a few years for crappies and gills. but the size has gone down hill, mostly from over fishing. it will come back, but it will be a year or two.

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I have fished this lake every opener and Mem weekend and then some for the last 20 years. The size of the crappies is way below average from a few years back. Sunnies are all over. I can catch em that size in the cities. With the overfishing for such a small lake, it will be years before it recovers. Please keep all snakes if you would. No one ever ice fished the lake. Now they do and it has ruined a great panfish lake. Not to mention all the little northerns that eat all the panfish. It also did not help that Wileys bait put this lake in the outdoor news a few years ago. Way to go. They could not mention another bigger body of water in the area? frown.gifmad.gif

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Wiley's did that to Waukenabo too.

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