With the onset of cooler weather in late September our fish became more aggressive on Lake Somerset. Catches of Walleye and Pike improved as the water temperatures cooled. They are not as active in warmer water like other species such as bass and sunfish that were preparing for winter by feeding more. For those who stop fishing by Labor Day, you are missing out on some of the best fishing of the year!
Early in December some "brave souls" were out there on the early ice. I can report that good numbers of Red Ear Sunfish and Bluegills were taken. The ice season will be a long one this year unless we get some unusual warm weather.
Walleye -- This is a popular fish that we frequently stock. These fish represent a true put and take fishery as they are unlikely to successfully spawn in Lake Somerset. In October 2013 we stocked 2030 fingerlings. They were healthy looking 1-2 year old fish. Given the stocking program I anticipate; the Walleye fishing will be good for those who know how to find them in 2014. Remember Walleye season is closed from March 15 - April 26th 2014. The minimum size limit for keeping Walleye is 15 inches.
Northern Pike -- Another popular sport fish for some anglers. This fish is the second most stocked fish in our lake. We were able to stock 800 fingerlings in June 2013 and will attempt to stock again in 2014. Northern Pike fishing is closed at the same time as Walleye in 2014 and the minimum size limit for keeping a Pike is 24" with a daily bag limit of 2. I catch most of my pike fishing for Bass or Walleye. The best lures include spinner baits, spoons, and any minnow-imitation type lures.
Largemouth Bass -- This is most common predator fish in our lake system. The Bass fishing seemed to recover somewhat from the large fish kill we had in 2011. I saw lots of midsized fish in the 10-14" range caught. Remember Bass season is closes on December 31, 2013. When the season opens the size limit is 14 inches. The daily bag limit is 5 in combination with Walleye and Pike.
Sunfish including Bluegill, Red Ear and Pumpkinseed -- These fish are doing well on the lake, reproduce very well and in some case may spawn multiple times in the summer. Look for these fish to be found in the shallows when the ice melts. They will move into the channels and back bays where the water is the warmest. These fish can sustain the highest harvest rate in our lake and are some of the best eating. Suggested lures for Sunfish are small jigs, natural baits, and small artificial flies. There is no closed season or size limit on these fish. The daily bag limit is 25.
Black Crappie -- Still my personal favorite fish in Lake Somerset. You will find them early in the year in the shallows next to docks and submerged wood. As the water warms they move deeper and will suspend next to the weed edge in 8-15' of water. There is no closed season or size limit on Crappie and the daily bag limit is 25 in combination with sunfish. The best lures for Crappie in Lake Somerset are small jigs and minnows.
Channel Catfish -- Are some of the longest lived fish in our lake. It is not unusual to have a Catfish live to be 25 years old in a lake like ours. While people are catching catfish, I do not see many small cats so I believe the spawning success is poor. We may look at stocking more in the future if there is interest. Catfish are typically found in less than 10' of water. The best baits are natural baits like worms or dead baits like meat and cut fish.
Dredging -- Thank you to all that voted to support the Dredging program I am looking forward to addressing our fish structure issues in 2015 after we see how the lake looks after this program is complete. I think we will see much improvement in spawning habitat for 2015 when we have removed areas of deep muck and exposed gravel, and stone bottoms.
Fishing Survey Results: I conducted an online survey of our fishermen in 2013 and the consolidated results are shown below.
|Fishing Survey Results:||Percent|
|Number of people who eat fish from the lake||69|
|Number of people who support our current Stocking plan||84|
|Number of people who support stocking Catfish||45|
How often do you fish Lake Somerset? |
|Couple times a year||22.58|
Favorite Lake Somerset Fish? |
Sunfish (Bluegill, Redear)
Quality of fishing by species? |
Largemouth Bass, Good to Excellent
|Walleye, Poor to Fair||81|
|Pike, Poor to Fair||65|
|Sunfish, Good to Excellent||88|
|Crappie, Fair to Good||77|
I will rerun a survey in 2015 to see if anything has changed.
Boat Parade 2014
A revival of the annual 4th of July boat parade is highly anticipated for 2014.
Click on the link below for a previous fishing report.
A map furnished by George Rausch showing Lake Somerset with depths indicated.
A chart furnished by George Rausch showing the history of fish stocking in Lake Somerset since 1984 is available as an Adobe PDF.
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