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OK, Lake Access can't tell you where the fish are, but we can give you a good idea of where they're not (that's half the battle). Many of the metro lakes become depleted in oxygen over the course of the summer. The figure above shows a year of oxygen data for Halsteds Bay. The zone of depleted oxygen (less than 2 ppm) in shown in black, and zones with adequate oxygen in shown in green.

RUSS can give you daily updates on the thermocline!

For a color graph showing where the thermocline is pick a lake below then click on Color Mapper. These graphs are updated daily.

Lake Minnetonka:
Halsteds Bay
West Upper Bay

Medicine Lake

Clearly, for most of the summer (including the present time), trolling around below 25 feet (8 meters) in Halsteds Bay is not likely to land you any fish! Notice also that during the fall and through the winter, lake turnover restores oxygen through the water column.

You can call up the oxygen profiles of West Upper Lake in Lake Minnetonka and Lake Independence through our Lake Data page. You can also find information on lake temperature there (including the location of the thermocline - the depth that marks the transition between the warm surface waters and the cold waters below), as well as information on lake turbidity. Will these help you catch fish? Let us know!

You can learn a lot more about fishing in the Metro area and the Year 2000 Fishing Regulations from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fishing Page.

You may be able to use othe RUSS data in other ways to help find those fish. Here are some preferred conditions for the most popular game fish found in Lakes Independence and Minnetonka. Again, we offer no guarantee you'll find 'em.

For an on-line fish key try Fishes of Wisconsin.

March/April, 42 to 50 F
March/April, 39 to 52 F
March/April, 39 to 52 F
May/June, 63 to 68 F
prefererred light conditions
low light
sight feeders, prefer clearer water
sight feeders, prefer clearer water
sight feeders, prefer clearer water
minimum DO for adults
2 to 4 mg/L
optimal > 6.0 mg/L
optimal > 8 mg/L
peak feeding secchi (m)
1 to 2 m
> 1 m
pH range
temperature range (adults)
68 to 75 F
73 to 78 F

epilimnion temperature

75 to 90 F
81 to 86 F
86 to 91 F
86 to 97 F

Fish Consumption Advisories-
There are advisories for Lake Minnetonka. If you'd like to search for advisories on another Minnesota lake go to the MN DNR

Of course, there are many more fish in a lake than what you catch on your hook and line. Take Lake Independence for example. Lake Independence fish were sampled by the DNR in 1998. The most sought after large game fish, such as walleye, muskellunge, and northern pike were found, of course, but so were many additional species of fish. Other fish included black crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, white crappie, bowfin (dogfish), common carp, golden shiner, hybrid sunfish, white sucker, and yellow perch. The fish were sampled using techniques that would not necessarily catch small species that occur near shore such as small minnows. Take a look at the following table and you will see that the large fish we most like to catch are certainly not the ones in greatest supply. In fact, the large game fish rely on a large and diverse community of fish species occupying many different habitats in a lake and consuming many different sources of food. Taking good care of the "game" species in a lake is much easier if you take the time to learn about the "nongame" species as well.


Lake Independence Fish Survey Results Minnesota DNR, 7/27/1998
Fish Species Total Caught
Black crappie
Yellow perch
Pumpkinseed sunfish
Northern pike
Hybrid sunfish
Yellow bullhead
Largemouth bass
Black bullhead
White crappie


Wait, there's more! We have some maps of the lakes here as well. Click on a lake for a contour map:
More detailed maps can be found on the DNR's lakefinder page.

Fishing Downtown
Fish Base 99
Fishes of Iowa
Native Fish Conservancy
The Bell Museum

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