At home in Hubert: Both smallmouths and largemouths are plentiful there
By Glen Schmitt
Prior to the 2005 fishing season, the Minnesota DNR implemented a special bass regulation on Hubert Lake in Crow Wing County that remains in place today. It requires that all bass – largemouth and smallmouth – over 12 inches in length be released. The intent of the regulation was to enhance the size structure and overall numbers of both bass species.
Fast-forward 17 years, and every indication is that the regulation seems to be meeting its objectives. Hubert Lake, all 1,288 acres of it, is now a solid bass-fishing destination in terms of both quality and numbers of largemouth and smallmouth bass.
“Hubert has always been a good bass lake, but that regulation has been especially beneficial to the size of those fish,” said John Stolski, a member of the Nisswa Guides League. “Eighteen-inch largemouths and smallmouths are pretty common.”
Hubert is one of those rare lakes that holds suitable habitat for both bass species. Submerged vegetation (both shallow and deep) along with large stands of bulrushes provide what’s necessary for producing largemouth bass, while an abundance of rock and boulder benefits its smallmouth population.
Beyond reports from anglers, electrofishing work by the DNR in 2019 confirmed just how healthy Hubert’s bass population really is. Smallmouth bass averaged 15 inches, and largemouths averaged just over 14 inches in length. Numbers of both were strong, and bass up to 20 inches were sampled.
“It’s a great catch-and-release lake for bass,” Stolski added. “You know you’re going to catch nice bass.”
Hubert also is well known for its crappie fishing because it consistently kicks out good-sized fish. Almost a quarter of the crappies sampled by the DNR in 2019 were over 12 inches long, and fish up to 15 inches were in the mix.
That quality has come to be expected from Hubert. Crappies can be tough to find during the summer months as they spread out, but Stolski said the spring and winter months provide excellent opportunities to cash in on Hubert’s sizable fish.
Hubert’s bluegills don’t run as big. The occasional ‘gill over 9 inches isn’t out of the question, but don’t plan to catch 8- to 9-inch fish with any consistency. There’s a five-fish limit for both panfish species on the lake.
“The lake has beautiful crappies. I’d say 11- to 12-inchers are pretty average, and you’ll catch crappies over 13 inches regularly when you find them,” Stolski said. “I’ve caught a few 10-inch bluegills out there, but no numbers of nice fish. I’d target crappies more than bluegills.”
Walleye fingerlings are stocked by the DNR – as are a few yearlings by private groups – every three years into Hubert. Despite some decent spawning habitat, natural reproduction of walleyes is limited in Hubert.
It’s a decent walleye-fishing lake that seems to have windows of better fishing opportunities. Stolski tends to catch better numbers of walleyes from Hubert during the fall.
The one constant with its walleyes is that they typically are quality fish. DNR gill nets averaged seven walleyes per lift in 2019, and all of them were over 13 inches long with an average length of just more than 18 inches in length.
“It’s a sporadically good walleye lake, but you can expect to catch nice fish on it,” Stolski said. “If you catch a walleye on Hubert, it’s probably going to be over 20 inches long.”
Northern pike are not overly abundant, and they averaged 18 inches in length during the 2019 survey. Hubert will produce some eating-size pike, but it isn’t considered a targeted pike fishery.
Surface area…………..1,288 acres
Maximum depth………….83 feet
Shore length…………………6 miles
Water clarity………………….15 feet
AIS present……….Zebra mussel
Fish species present:
Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, walleye, northern pike, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, bullhead, rock bass, white sucker, bowfin (dogfish).
DNR area fisheries office (218) 203-4301, the DNR website http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind or Nisswa Guides League (218) 829-7010.