Diamond Lake Area 
Recreational Association
Atwater, Minnesota

 Diamond Lake News
Memorial Day Edition 2023
Missile Lane
40th Newsletter Anniversary!

Annual Meeting, 9 am, June 17, Community Park. Speakers are being arranged (Dan Coughlin, new watershed administrator; Corey Smith, Sewer District guy) but always including YOU.

In the works, a Diamond Lake Weed Fest (not that kind of weed, you naughty kittens, and now you shall have no pie), possibly July 22 at Community Park. The idea is to exhibit the variety of weeds, good and bad, in Diamond Lake, and to have different booths showcasing wares of interest, however tenuous, to Diamond Lakers. We hope to attract a licensed beverage dispenser and a food truck. If you have ideas or want to be showcaser yourself, please contact Anita Hagen, Tim Groshens or Tom Hayden (in the list of Directors). 

If you are not concerned about having your personal information scraped don’t forget to log into our Facebook website at www.daimondlakemn.com for additional lake information.

Not too late to pay your dues. Please send to DLARA, PO Box 307, Atwater, MN 56209. This is also an opportunity to grouse, pose questions, or make suggestions. Remember, the Association is an educational and advisory organization at best, without any political authority. 

According to Diamond Laker Richard Philips, the lake iced over on 12/8/22 and left us on 4/26/23. Not sure of his definition of in/out. With apologies to the sensitivities of cat owners, there are many ways to skin that cat.

Another Laker, Larry Stranberg, is circulating a petition to rebuild the east side lake road:
“This document is a humble request to Kandiyohi County to please rebuild Kandiyohi County Road #137 from the inlet bridge to County Road 28. The road is in need of repair and we are also requesting a walking path on the east side of the road. Many residents and their guests in this area enjoy walking with the children and pets, and because there is no walking path or shoulder it creates a very dangerous situation both for the walkers and the drivers using the roadway.” 
The petition can be found at the Diamond Lake Resort on the southeast side, and the store at Kandiyohi County Park #3 on the west side. The more signatures the stronger the petition. BTW, the County Park Store has great ice cream.

Reading the Coahran
by David Coahran
Area Fisheries Supervisor/Fish and Wildlife
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
168 Co Rd 8 NE
Spicer, MN 56288

The Diamond Lake 2022 Walleye Year-Class looks Promising – A night electrofishing survey conducted in the fall of 2022 by the Spicer Fisheries Crew assessed the abundance of what we call “young-of-year” walleye and it produced an excellent number indicating a successful year for either natural reproduction and/or fry stocking. We netted 71 walleye per hour that were in their first year with the average size being 6.4 inches. If survival continues to be good for another couple years, anglers will definitely notice. The 2020 and 2021 fall electrofishing catches of young walleye were only 0.5 and 4.5 per hour which prompted a supplemental stocking of fingerling walleye in 2021 (935 pounds at 5 fish to the pound). The 2019 fall electrofishing catch was 110 per hour. You have to go all the way back to 2011 though before we had similar success (105 per hour).

In 2023, fisheries will conduct it’s routine fish population netting assessment in August which has typically been done every 5 years. The last fish population assessment in 2018 was very good for walleye (28 per gillnet, all sizes; the Lake Goal is 15+ per gillnet); but was also very good for crappie and northern pike. Abundance of bluegill at least 6 inches long was near the lake average and yellow perch numbers were very high mostly comprised of small fish. Walleye angling success can be very difficult when their favorite forage, yellow perch, are at a high abundance.

As you know the possession limit for sunfish was dropped to 5 in Diamond Lake starting with the 2021 season to enhance Diamond’s historical ability to produce quality size bluegill 9-10+ inches long which is uncommon for most lakes. To enhance our evaluation of this regulation change, we are adding spring trapnet samples periodically for the next 10 years. The initial spring sample was conducted in mid-May 2022 with 90 bluegill caught in 12 trapnet sets (32 were 7-8 inches, 14 were 8-9 inches, 2 were 9+ inches). Future samples will hopefully yield more quality sized bluegill indicating the reduced bag limit is working. Sidenote – we caught many. many 6.5-8 inch crappie in those nets which bodes well for the crappie angling in Diamond for at least a few more years.

A very brief/quick summary of the creel survey that was conducted in the summer of 2020 and the winter of 2020-21 is as follows (note – creel surveys estimate angler catches and fishing pressure).

Summer of 2020 (May thru October): Angling pressure was estimated at 33,619 hours which is about 21 angler hour per acre which is moderate. An estimated 32,090 sunfish were caught with 5,996 harvested; crappie catch was 4,353 with 1,626 harvested; largemouth bass catch was 5,056 with 250 harvested; northern pike catch was 6,980 with 1,344 harvested; yellow perch catch was 2,656 with 22 harvested; walleye catch was 2,051 with 1,393 harvested. It took a boat angler targeting walleye and average of 3.2 hours to catch a walleye and 4.8 hours to harvest a walleye.

Winter of 2020 – 2021 (the COVID winter): Angling pressure was a whopping 170,140 hours and spearing pressure was 17,169 hours. An estimated 20,509 crappie were caught with 12,551 harvested; an estimated 2,001 northern pike were speared and harvested and an estimated 2,650 were caught with 733 harvested; 11,519 sunfish were caught with 2,477 harvested; a crazy number of yellow perch were caught at 103,002 with 1,522 harvested and a disappointing 397 walleye were caught with only 239 harvested.

As of this reading (written 04/17/2023, Diamond still mostly ice covered), our fisheries crews will have probably already taken some walleye eggs from Diamond and possibly a few northern pike eggs. Last year in 2022 we took 133 of our 300 quart area quota of walleye eggs from Diamond and 4 quarts of northern eggs (quota only about 10 quarts). Large framed Musky nets are used to temporarily capture male and female walleye during the spawning run. Eggs are carefully pressed out of the females and fertilized by the males by also gently pressing on their abdomens adding the milt. The adult walleye are promptly returned to Diamond Lake and the eggs are taken to the New London Hatchery to hatch in jars, taking 2-3 weeks. The resulting fry are stocked in various area locations including Diamond Lake.

Board Constraints

As a board we have little influence over governmental bodies, except perhaps to weigh in on the levy [and possibly lobby our cause at the State and County levels]. But here is a list of things we can do and have done:

*  Successfully lobbied county commissioners and the DNR to establish a no-wake zone in Dogfish Bay

*  Conducted an analysis, albeit 30 years ago, of where the nutrient loading of the water column was coming from

*  Worked with area farmers on Best Management Practices

*  Tried carp removal via professional (and voluntary) seining, organizing carp fishing tournaments, publishing recipes in the newsletter

*  Informed those in the watershed about best practices for fertilizing and mowing near the lake

*  Financially supported rain gardens

*  Kept watershed residents informed about lake matters in general

*  Held an annual meeting with expert speakers on lake matters

*  Financed an annual attack on curly leaf pondweed in certain areas

*  Put up roll offs at lake access entrances

*  Organized volunteer efforts to remove garbage from the ice at season’s end

Hubbard-Wheeler-Schultz Project Update

A H/W/S Project Advisory Team meeting was held on March 21, 2023 to review information related to the lake(s) project and make recommendations on how to proceed.

DNR shallow lakes surveys were conducted on Hubbard Lake, Wheeler Lake and Schultz Lake in 2022.  These survey reports are available by contacting DBR Shallow Lake Specialist Josh Kavanagh at Joshua.kavanagh@state.mn.us. In general, both Hubbard Lake and Schultz Lake were in good condition.  Surveys documented a diverse and healthy plant community, good water quality and increases in wildlife use.  Wheeler Lake on the other hand remained in a poor, turbid condition and provided less habitat value while offering little aquatic plant growth beyond curly-leaf pondweed.

Water levels were below normal in 2021 and 2022 due to drought conditions.  Currently, water levels are above the normal range due to Spring runoff.  There are no drawdowns planned for the H/W/S system at this time.  Water levels will be allowed to stabilize and both water quality and habitat conditions will continue to be monitored.

In the winder of 2022/2023, the DNR recorded extremely low dissolved oxygen levels in the H/W/S system.  Upon ice out the DNR observed lots of dead fish including common carp and black bullhead.  The NDR suspects a major fish winterkill event due to low water and heavy snow cover conditions this past winter.  Fish screens have been installed at the water control structure sites in an effort to limit fish migration back into the system.  Predator fish stocking will be pursued by the DNR as possible to help support a healthy fish community within the lakes system that will help favor clear water and healthy lake conditions.

The existing water control structures remain in good condition and should provide year of management opportunities.  The DNR will continue to monitor water levels and Crow River Watershed District will continue to monitor water quality.  And the H.W.S Project Advisory Team will continue to make recommendations on how to improve conditions both on the H.W.S chain of lakes but also in terms of improving water quality flowing downstream into Diamond Lake.

Moving forward the Project Advisory Team will be investigating additional measures for fish barriers and/or fish control within the system as well as opportunities too help control the curly-leaf pondweed issue in Wheeler Lake, particularly North Wheeler Lake.  The team feels this may be the primary driver contributing to poor water clarity/quality within North Wheeler Lake.

The DNR and partners will continue to monitor and assess lake conditions while promoting improved water quality and healthy lake habitat within the H/W/S chain of lakes.

For more information see Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District, www.mfcrow.org.

Party Time

Commander Brenda Negen will once again lead the 7th annual Boat Parade this year. Paraders will line up south of the swimming beach at Community Park on Saturday, July 1 (not July 4, so as not to run into swimmers at the music event on the southeast side) @ 1pm. The Commander notes that this is everyone, young and old, but: Be Respectful and Stay in Line until the end so everyone around the lake gets to see all the boats. For further information contact brendanegen1@gmail.com.