DNR Lake Surveys
2018 Fish Survey
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) did a fish survey of Magician Lake February/March 2018. It was a large survey where DNR employees actually collected in nets 985 fish (and released them). The purpose was to survey varieties and relative quantity of species and to do fin-ray samples to determine the age and growth of our fish. This helps them make a judgement as to the health of the lake’s fish population and assists with decisions on future stocking and regulation changes. Their survey lists 17 named fishes, their length in inches, and the number in the survey. Of the total, bluegills were 35%, rock bass were 15%, yellow perch were 9%, and walleyes, largemouth bass, northern pike, gar, and bullheads were each about 5%. But this is only 8 of the 17 varieties in the lake. The largest caught was 33", and of the Walleyes, there were 72.20” or longer.
The first fishery survey of Magician Lake was conducted in 1887. The lake at that time contained a typical warm water fish community with bluegill, yellow perch, rock bass, bullheads, and crappie. Note that larger species of pike, walleye, and large and smallmouth bass are not mentioned. These species are noted later.
Records on fish stocking at Magician Lake go back to 1934. Between 1934 and 1945, various combinations of bluegill, large and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and walleye were stocked. In 1972, some anglers on the lake complained to the DNR that fishing success had declined. Based on the 1972 survey and the perceived suitability of the lake for walleye, walleye stocking was initiated in 1975, and from then to today, walleyes have been stocked exclusively. The relative population of other species seems to be self-sustaining.
From 1975 to 2017, 6,950,000 walleyes have been stocked in our lake. Yes, that’s over 6 million. Most of the stocking were of fry (which are typically between 3 and 5 days old). These fish are distributed soon after hatching while the yolk sac is being absorbed. The bulk of the other were fingerlings which are 1-3” in length. Not many survive of these numbers, as many die or become food for larger fish.