Otter Lake, Chippewa County 2014

Lake Description and Management:

Otter Lake is a 602 acre lake located in the township of Colburn in eastern Chippewa County. The Department of Natural Resources surveyed Otter Lake to obtain baseline fisheries data to determine the status and health of the fishery. This report combines data from surveys conducted from April 22 nd to the 26th, and on May 28th, 2014.


Gamefish Collected:

The most common gamefish species found were largemouth bass (n=398), followed by walleye (n=300) and northern pike (n=61). Walleye ranged from 5.2 to 28.1 inches and averaged 16.7 inches in length. Largemouth bass ranged from 3.5 to 22.0 inches and averaged 13 inches. Northern pike ranged from 15.5 to 38.8 and averaged 23.0 inches.


Panfish Collected:

The most common panfish collected were bluegill, (n=2575) followed by yellow perch (n=458), black crappie (n=308), and pumpkinseed (n=6). Bluegill ranged from 2.4 to 9.8 inches and averaged 6.8 inches. Black crappie ranged from 4.0 to 10.3 inches and averaged 6.7 inches. Yellow perch ranged from 3.3 to 11.3 inches and averaged 6.1 inches. And pumpkinseed ranged from 4.7 to 9.7 and averaged 6.8 inches in length.


Other Species:

Other species collected included: black bullhead, central mudminnow, golden shiner, tadpole madtom, white sucker, and yellow bullhead.



Otter Lake possesses a quality largemouth bass population, with potential for memorable or even trophy sized fish. While only 34 percent (n=136) of the largemouth bass collected were over the 14 inch size limit, 10 fish collected were over 18 inches (2.5%), and four fish (1%) collected were over 20 inches long with the largest being 22 inches.

Of the 300 walleye captured in the 2014 survey, 222 walleye (74%) were over the 15 inch minimum size limit. A walleye population estimate was completed as a result of the survey and there were an estimated 1,692 adult walleye in Otter Lake which equates to 2.6 per acre. Despite the moderately strong walleye population, no natural reproduction of walleye has been documented in Otter Lake. It is hypothesized, of the small percentage of walleye that successfully spawn in Otter Lake, predation of juvenile walleye (fry and small fingerlings) by the robust populations of largemouth bass and bluegill is the primary driver for the lack of walleye recruitment. Due to the lack of natural reproduction, the walleye population in Otter Lake is maintained through stocking. In 2013 Otter Lake was selected to participate in the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative (WWI), a program designed to promote stocking larger numbers of extended growth walleye. As a result or the WWI, extended growth walleye, or large fingerlings, are stocked are stock biannually by DNR at a rate of 10 per acre. Extended growth walleye, which average approximately 6.5 inches, have a much higher survival rate than stocked small fingerlings or fry especially where large populations of largemouth bass and bluegill are present.

Bluegill were the most abundant panfish species captured in 2014. Of the 1,571 fish that were measured, 59% (n=921) were over 7 inches long, and 17% (n=268) were over 8 inches long. The size structure of black crappie was not as impressive as bluegill. A total of 294 black crappie were measured, only 10% were over 9 inches long (n=30), and only 3 fish topped the 10 inch mark (1%). Yellow Perch numbers produced about the similar results, 11% (n=30) were over 8 inches, and 1% (n=3) topped the 10 inch mark.

For more information on Otter Lake, contact: Prepared by:

Joseph Gerbyshak, Fisheries Biologist                                        Jason Meacham

Wisconsin DNR                                                                        Fisheries Technician

1300 Clairemont Avenue                                                          Wisconsin DNR

Eau Claire, WI 54701                                                               1300 W. Clairemont Ave

(715) 839-2877                                                                       Eau Claire, WI 54701

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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