On May 3rd, 2021 the DNR performed an electrofishing shock survey on Lake Orono to help determine the fish population post-dredge. There were over 14 different species collected and the majority of the sport fish present were Yellow Perch, Crappie and Northern.
To supplement the current fisheries, the DNR approved stocking the lake with Bluegill Sunfish, Crappies, Yellow Perch, Walleye and Bass. They also offered to stock walleye fingerlings depending on availability of the fish at no charge. If we stock per their recommendations we will likely reach our target goal of replenishing the fish population in 3 to 5 years.
The supplier that was chosen to stock the fish has over 30 years of experience and previously stocked Lake Orono after the dredge in 1998. The fish stocking is funded directly through the Lake Orono Restoration and Enhancement (LORE) project with the logistics assistance of the OLID Board.
By the end of May the fish were stocked at staggered dates, due to timing of fish spawn, availability of adult fish and to transition them into the lake successfully. The majority of these fish were large enough to have the ability to spawn for the spring season. There have been several reports from all areas of the lake of spawning beds and thousands of baby fish that have hatched. Future stocking quantities of fish are estimated numbers.
Links to videos of stocking:
Stocked May 2021
1,500 Bluegill Sunfish (4-6”)
200 Adult Bluegill Sunfish
100 Adult Crappie
20 Adult Large Mouth Bass
(Possible addition of Walleye fingerlings from DNR)
1,000 Bluegill Sunfish
Catch and Release
In order to ensure success of the stocking, the OLID was given permission from the DNR and City of Elk River to post signs requesting that anglers practice voluntary catch-and-release while the stocking occurs. Our goal is to educate anglers so the new fish have a better chance at survival and spawning.
Successful Catch-and-Release per the DNR’s website:
Responsible catch-and-release fishing can help ensure continued quality fishing opportunities. Anglers can boost the odds of fish surviving catch and release by using methods that avoid internal damage caused by hooks, stress and being pulled from deep water.
- Fish hooked in the mouth almost always survive. Set the hook quickly to avoid hooking a fish deeply. Jigs, circle hooks and active baits like crankbaits are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth.
- Use some restraint when fish are really biting, and it is a good idea to avoid deep water when planning to catch and release fish.
- Have pliers ready that work well for taking hooks out. Cutting the line and leaving the hook in the fish is also a good option.
- Quickly land a fish to minimize a fish’s time out of water.
- Handle the fish firmly but carefully. Wet your hands before touching a fish to prevent removal of their protective slime coating. Rubberized nets help, too.
- Unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water, if possible, and support its weight with both hands or with a net when removed from the water. Never lift them vertically from the water.
- Do not place fish you plan to release on a stringer or in a live well.
- Revive a fish by cradling it under the belly and gently moving it forward in the water until it swims away.
- Do not release a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding heavily or can’t right itself.
Alert: Invasive Zebra Mussels confirmed in Lake Orono
In 2020 after the drawdown for dredging, there were two separate instances of possible zebra mussels found in Lake Orono and the DNR, SWCD and City were been notified.
They range from 1/4 in. to 1-1/2 in in size; adults are usually fingernail-sized. They have a D-shaped hinged shell and usually have alternating yellow and brownish stripes, but as you can see in the pictures you may not be able to see the stripes.
Zebra mussels usually attach to hard surfaces (rocks, docks, boats, motors, etc.) below the water’s surface.
If you find any, DO NOT throw in the lake — leave them where they are. Please take a photo, note the location and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the information.
Alert: Eurasian Watermilfoil confirmed
in Lake Orono
In 2020, Eurasian Watermilfoil was found in Guardian Angels bay. This area was treated on Wed., Aug. 5th.
Remember to Clean, Drain and Dry. Click here for more information.
Lake vegetation management
Contract with external consultant(s) expertise to assist in additional surveys, other data collections, effectively analyzing and addressing invasive plants (AIS), native plant overgrowth and algae proliferation and/or meet MN DNR requirements for an AIS permit with a variance (as needed).
2020 – Initial meeting with consultant and Sherburne SWCD. Vegetation plan will be a section in the 2021-2024 Lake Management Plan and water quality, fisheries and future sedimentation control will also be addressed. Funds will be utilized over multiple years to support new plan development.
Increased water quality testing and analysis
Improve water clarity and quality in both Upper and Lower Lake Orono by further pinpointing harm sources and implementing a reduction plan.
Budget: $500 – Actual $735
2019 – Volunteer bi-weekly collection of dissolved oxygen and water temperature data; completed. Analysis by the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) determined that these were not factors causing reduced water clarity in Lower Lake Orono. The recommendation was to consider adding True color, Total Suspended Solids and/or Zooplankton testing. Zooplankton testing has been costed.
2020 – True color and Total Suspended Solids chemical water sample collections were added and analysis of the results was completed. Analysis by the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) again determined that these were not factors causing reduced water clarity in Lower Lake Orono. The recommendation was to consider adding Zooplankton testing and further examine stormwater inputs to the south basin. Both recommendations are being explored by the Lake Orono Water Quality Committee (LOWQC).
2020 Curly-leaf pondweed control
Herbicide or mechanical treatment of public waters.
Budget: $6,555 – Actual $6,555
2020 – DNR approved 25.5 acres for herbicide treatment. Additional funds provided by a LOIA ($1,468.57), a Sherburne SWCD grant ($2,000), the City of Elk River ($333.33) and a previous year credit ($786.60).
Web licensing and maintenance
OLID membership communication, official document repository, director nomination forms, absentee election ballots, etc.
Budget: $375 – Actual $200
2020 – The public release of our website oronolid.org was on July 31, 2020 .