Fond du Lac Fisheries Department
The Fisheries Department is responsible for collecting data to manage fisheries
resources within the 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories. We collect and analyze field data that is used to gain
further insight into the dynamics of fish populations. Since 1994, Fond du Lac has regularly conducted spring and fall electrofishing
surveys, targeting adult and age-0 walleyes.
Spring surveys target adult walleye with the goal of
calculating a population estimate and to be able to compare that estimate
with MN DNR gill net catch data. Fall electrofishing surveys target age-0 and age-1 walleyes. The data is used to help biologists and managers gauge the success or
failure of walleye spawning success, and to gain insight into the dynamics
of walleye populations in the future.
In addition to working with game fish, Fond du Lac also conducts many non-game
fish surveys. The Fond du Lac Fisheries Department cooperates with local area offices of the MN DNR in an
effort to complete surveys that are no longer done on a regular basis. In 1998, Fond du Lac and the
1854 Authority completed an extensive 3-year survey of the lower
Cloquet River, from the Island Lake Dam to the St. Louis River. Information collected included data on habitat features,
substrate types, aquatic plants, aquatic invertebrates, and, of course,
fish. A copy of the report is available, contact our office to
request a copy in the mail.
In July 2000, Fond du Lac and the 1854 Authority began preliminary work on three
other rivers. Preliminary work focused on identifying and marking habitat features, including: pools,
riffles, runs, and rapids; tributaries, drainages, and adjacent wetlands;
erosion sites; and evidence of beaver activity. The three rivers investigated were the Pike and Sandy Rivers, that
both eventually flow into Lake Vermillion, and a portion of the upper
Cloquet River, from Indian Lake to Island Lake. We established sampling
stations on the upper Cloquet River, and began detailed assessment activity
during the summer of 2001.
The Fond du Lac Fisheries Section also cooperates with the Fond du Lac
Environmental Program, assisting with stream surveys on the Fond du Lac
Reservation. These surveys are used to establish base-line data on the fish and aquatic invertebrate
communities present in each stream system. Fish and invertebrate communities can be monitored through time to
determine whether these communities are changing, and indicating changes in
The Fond du Lac Fisheries Department works with other agencies in cooperative
efforts to manage the fisheries resources. One such project is on the Dark River near Chisolm, MN.
Here, Fond du Lac has teamed up with the MN DNR, Potlatch
Corp., the U.S. Forest Service, and Trout Unlimited to manage a brook trout
fishery through the removal of a high-density beaver population. The beavers are being removed not
only through physical trapping, but also by changing the surrounding riparian forest type. Tree species
preferred by beaver, notably aspen, have been physically
removed by Potlatch foresters up to 300 feet from the river bank. The area has been replanted with
tree species not generally preferred by beaver, notably red pine and white spruce. The goal is to deter
beaver from this portion of the Dark River. Find out more about this project at the
American Tree Farms web site, under the “Flagship” Projects in the
Shared Streams Section. Click on the Dark River, MN.
In addition to collecting field data, the we are also
responsible for managing harvest activities for the Band, particularly
intensive harvest in the 1837 Ceded Territory. Netting
and spearing activities by the Band are actively managed and
monitored each spring, with harvest numbers reported daily to the State of
Minnesota. A lot more work goes into managing Tribal fishing than most people are aware of.
Associated Off-Site Links
American Tree Farms
For more information, contact:
Inland Fisheries Biologist
Fond du Lac Resource Management
1720 Big Lake Rd.
Cloquet, MN 55720
Cell: (218) 391-2185
Fax: (218) 879-4854