NEW
Presidents Letter 8-21-17
​MN DNR Fish Survey 7/16/17

Sand Lake Property Owners Association
2     5           Y     E     A     R     S           &           C     O     U     N     T     I     N     G

Welcome
From the birds & bees to the lakes and the trees...”
Nestled in Itasca county in Northern Minnesota and deep within the Chjippewa National Forest, Sand Lake is home to many and a welcome retreat for others. We boast friendly people, a rich history and premier walleye fishing.

The Sand Lake Property Owner’s Association is a tax-exempt non-profit association whose two main goals are to improve fish management and water quality in our lakes. Our association is managed 100% by Lake Owner volunteers. There are no salaries. We operate completely on Dues and Donations.
Sand Lake is located in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest in the well-known Bowstring Chain of lakes. Sand Lake is a 4,328-acre naturally fed lake with direct access to Bowstring Lake, Little Sand Lake, the Bowstring River, Rice Lake, Birds’ Eye Lake, Portage Lake, Dora Lake and the Bigfork River. It is eight miles long and four miles wide with a maximum depth of 70 feet, a median depth of 17 feet, and 19.9 miles of beautiful shoreline. It holds an abundance of fish such as Walleye, Northern Pike, Large & Small Mouth Bass, Jumbo Perch, Crappies and Pan Fish.


                Carole Olson, President

The 2016-17 Sand Lake Property Owners Board (Left to Right)
Victor Warnement, Chuck Baker, Gary Weaver, Myron Hahn, Stafford King

Pat Sievertson, Carole Olson

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sand Lake Property Owners AssociationBoard of Directors, Officers & Volunteers 2016/17


President: Carole Olson
Phone: 218- 659-4757,  Email: cncolson7@yahoo.com 


Vice President: Gary Weaver
Phone: 218-659-2707, Email: gkweaver@paulbunyan.net


Treasurer: Chuck Baker
Phone: 218-659-2955 , Email: cbaker@paulbunyan.net


Secretary: Pat Sievertson
 Phone: 218-659-2157, Email: garden_queen2004@yahoo.com


Directors:

 Myron Hahn 
Phone 218-659-2668, Email: myron@paulbunyan.net


Stafford King 
Phone 218-659-2146, Email: sking@paulbunyan.net
    

Immdeiate Past President: Victor Warnement
Phone:218-659-4788, Email: maxievic@paulbunyan.net


Volunteers
John Perkins: Sand Paper Editor & Web: 

 Phone:  218-659-4754 or 828-698-5897
​​
Sand Lake Property Owners Association Mission Statement:

Protecting the environment of Sand, Little Sand, Portage, and Birds Eye Lakes and surrounding area. This includes a program to prevent aquatic invasive species (AIS) from entering or leaving the lakes, catch and release emphasis, Adopt-a-Highway, new lake resident's orientation, and ongoing public education. All of this is coordinated with association members and the MN Dept of Natural Resources. 

8-21-2017

A big THANK YOU to all who attended and made this year's annual meeting a great success.
 We were fortunate to once again enjoy a catered lunch from Sportsman's Cafe in Deer River. Lunch included ham, rolls, potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans,  soda, water with cake and coffee to finish off a perfect meal. 

Lunch was followed by a presentation from our friend Dave Weitzel from the DNR. He explained the results of the summer netting and electro shocking and explained the process, touching on the northern, walleye, bass and pan fish numbers. He covered water clarity and its effects on the fish and lake habitat.  A survey was distributed regarding the Northern limits and we were invited to attend a public meeting on September 28,2017, 7pm at Sand Lake Community Center to discuss future  Northern Pike regulations.  This was followed with a question and answer period.  Thanks again to all who participated in this discussion it was informative for all.

Sometimes  these events can be bitter sweet. As new members are elected to the Board of Directors, those who have spent much time and energy serving our members move off the board,  sometimes temporarily sometimes permanently. I looked over my records and since 1989, approximately 65 different  individuals  have  served on the board. Many served several times and in different capacities. That says a lot for the dedication of this association and its members.
 With that said this year both Pat Sievertson  and Vic Warnement came off the board, Pat's last position as secretary and Vic's last position  was as Past President. They both have worked very hard and have been very instrumental in strengthening our association.  We have been fortunate to have them working in these leadership roles,  we look forward to their continued participation in the association.

I would now like to welcome Bernie Troje to the board he will be taking over the responsibilities  of  board  secretary. Bernie is a long time resident  of  Sand Lake we look forward to getting to know him better. I will remain as President this next year, Gary Weaver continues as Vice President, Chuck Baker Treasurer and Myron Hahn and Staff King as Directors.

I would personally like to thank  you all for the opportunity to serve on the SLPOA Board. Working hand in hand with you, the rest of the board, the DNR, and the County to make Sand Lake and our Association stronger and better. A special thanks to those who shared  their thoughts and ideas at the meeting. We will work at better communication with the membership. Please keep an eye on the website for upcoming meetings and events along with minutes from meetings. I appreciate your input and ideas  on what you would like to see the association accomplish.  If we work together and everyone gives their ideas, time and energy we may be able to make some of these ideas  a reality.

​In your service...

Carole Olson 

Carole Olson
President's Letter

DNR Fish Survey On Sand Lake 7/16/17

(Brief Summary)
  
Sand Lake continues to support a healthy fish community.

Northern Pike
The biggest changes… a decrease in pike numbers associated with improved overall size… catch fell to within the normal range for the first time since 1992. Lengths in 2017 ranged from 13.5 to 32.4 inches and averaged 19.3 inches

Small Mouth Bass
Increase in smallmouth bass numbers. Size structure was good as bass ranged from 9.4 to 19.3 inches and averaged 15.4 inches.

Walleye
Walleye were sampled at a rate of 4.9 per gill net, a typical number when compared to lakes with similar habitats and within the normal range for Sand Lake.  The catch was down from the last three surveys, however, and fell short of the goal of 9.0/net.  

The 2017 size structure was similar to past surveys, as few sampled fish exceeded 20 inches.  Lengths ranged from 7.8 to 23.7 inches with an average length of 14.3 inches.  The 17 - 26 inch protected slot is expected to result in improved size quality and increase numbers of spawning-aged fish.  

The 2014 year class may be strong, the 2011 weak, and the rest average.   

I know that fishing has been tough for Walleye, but given our net catch, it appears that the increased water clarity and associated changes in fish behavior are having more of an impact on fishing than walleye recruitment or abundance changes.
(Full Report)

Greetings,
 
As you may know, the DNR fisheries crew completed a fish survey on Sand Lake last week and I wanted to take this opportunity to send out a quick update.  Please note that the attached report is preliminary data and subject to change.  Also, you may still see us out and about on the lake, as we are also doing some near shore sampling for a separate IBI assessment.
  
All in all, Sand Lake continues to support a healthy fish community-but the lake is going through a period of change, largely due to water clarity changes caused by the abundant zebra mussels. Water clarity averaged 8.1 feet in nine surveys from 1975 to 2011.  Water clarity increased to 15 feet in 2017.  Increased water clarity changes sampling conditions in the lake and may make survey nets less effective for some species.  As such, results from the 2017 survey should not be directly compared to past surveys. 
 
The biggest changes appear to be a decrease in pike numbers associated with improved overall size, and an increase in smallmouth bass numbers.  We are currently reviewing the experimental pike regulation and will hold a public input meeting this fall to help reach a decision as to keep, drop, or modify the regulation.  There is a lot of good news to share on the pike fishery.  The pike catch fell to within the normal range for similar lakes for the first time since 1992, which is desirable because high pike densities result in slow growth, poor size, and may negatively impact other fish.  In general, the size quality failed to achieve the goals outlined in the original regulation proposal, but significant improvements were observed.  Past surveys caught fewer than 0.6 pike exceeding 26 inches per gill net, the 2017 survey netted 0.4 per gill net.  The percentage of pike over 26 inches increased from a typical catch of 2% to almost 8%, the highest percentage ever observed. Lengths in 2017 ranged from 13.5 to 32.4 inches and averaged 19.3 inches, the highest average length ever recorded. Good pike angling opportunities appear to exist, given the current catch rate and size distribution. 
 
Smallmouth Bass appear to have increased in Sand Lake in recent years.  Smallmouth Bass have been present since at least 1975, but were sampled infrequently until 2017.  The 2017 catch was high compared to lakes with similar habitats.  Size structure was good as bass ranged from 9.4 to 19.3 inches and averaged 15.4 inches.  Increased water clarity and recent climatic patterns may be benefiting Smallmouth Bass in Sand Lake, and they appear to be increasingly important component of the fishery.  Good angling opportunities appear to exist.
 
Walleye were sampled at a rate of 4.9 per gill net, a typical number when compared to lakes with similar habitats and within the normal range for Sand Lake.  The catch was down from the last three surveys, however, and fell short of the ambitious Sand Lake management plan goal of 9.0/net.  It is important to note that Walleye catches fluctuate in most lakes, so a downturn is not surprising as peak numbers are rarely maintained and 4.9 per net is well above average for Walleye lakes in the Grand Rapids area (in fact, it is in the top 25% for Walleye lakes in the Grand Rapids area).  The Walleye catch in Sand also appears to be influenced by water clarity, with higher catches associated with years with Secchi disk readings of less than eight feet.  This means that the 2017 catch rate may indicate a shift in sampling efficiency, more so than a significant population decline.  Poor size quality and low numbers of spawning age females have been identified as potential limiting factors in previous surveys and management plans.  The 2017 size structure was similar to past surveys, as few sampled fish exceeded 20 inches.  Lengths ranged from 7.8 to 23.7 inches with an average length of 14.3 inches.  A 17 to 26 inch protected slot limit was implemented in 2016 and is expected to result in improved size quality and increase numbers of spawning-aged fish.  We have not had a chance to determine age distribution yet, but the length distribution suggests that multiple year classes are present and that the number of fish under 5 years of age is similar to the 2011 survey.  The 2014 year class may be strong, the 2011 weak, and the rest average.  This is not a big surprise, considering that 2014 was a fry stocked year.  The good 2014 year class likely suppressed the 2015 fish, and 2016 was not stocked, producing average results.  Overall, fry stocking still appeared to contribute to the fishery, and natural reproduction is likely limited due to low female spawning stock.  Our fall electrofishing catches have been near zero for the last three years, but they do not seem to be telling us much, as the fish were present in the gill nets.  The discrepancy is likely due to the water clarity increase causing fish to avoid the shallows in the fall, making electrofishing ineffective.  We see this in other clear water lakes in the area and no longer try to sample them with electrofishing.  I know that fishing has been tough for Walleye, but given our net catch, it appears that the increased water clarity and associated changes in fish behavior are having more of an impact on fishing than walleye recruitment or abundance changes. 
We will continue to work on data analysis and will revise the lake management plan this fall.  Feel free to share the preliminary report with others and let us know if you have questions.
 
Dave
 
David L. Weitzel
Area Fisheries Supervisor
MN DNR Grand Rapids
218-328-8835
The walleye slot began in 2016 in an effort to make the excellent Sand Lake walleye fishing evfen better for years to come.
Fishing Regulations
Sand Lake has a walleye slot and
special northern pike regulations.

Sand Lake has an expanded posession limit of 9 northern pike instead of the usual 6 and a 22"-36" northern pike slot.

SLPOA
Newsletter

Click on the Sand Paper to see all 4 pages of the latest issue.

Ice Out & Ice In...

From Mike Stettler... Here's a historical recap of when Sand Lake iced up and when the ice went out.

Secci Readings, Lake Clarity...

Also from Mike Stettler... Here's the Sand Lake Secci readings chart. The plotted points represent the lowest depth at which a white disc is visible.