Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

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Lake George, Hubbard County

Fishermen travel from afar to visit Hubbard’s George

By Glen Schmitt
Staff Writer

Hubbard County’s Lake George sits smack in the middle of a small town by the same name. This 826-acre fishery is one of the area’s primary attractions and often draws anglers from larger towns within driving distance – towns such as Bemidji, Park Rapids, and Walker.

But the approximate 30-minute drive from any of the aforementioned locations is often worth it. Most anglers come for the lake’s walleye and largemouth bass fishing opportunities. But also, its northern pike have gotten bigger in recent years, and there are enough keeping-size panfish to make them worth the effort.

George’s walleye population is maintained through fingerling stocking during even-numbered years, along with some limited natural reproduction. But it’s the stocked fish that have built solid walleye numbers over the years – a trend that seems to be ongoing.

“George is a popular fishing lake with good numbers of walleyes in the eater-size category,” said Calub Shavlik, DNR assistant fisheries supervisor in Park Rapids. “Those stocked fish carry the day, and we’ve seen very consistent (walleye) numbers over the last 15 to 20 years.”

The most recent DNR survey of Lake George was conducted in 2019, and it revealed results similar to previous years. Walleyes from 14 to 18 inches in length dominated the catch, with some walleyes over 20 inches in the mix.

Will Wicks, of Delaney’s Sporting Goods in Park Rapids, pointed out that he sees plenty of anglers in his bait shop who make the trip north to Lake George, many of whom are heading there to fish for walleyes.

Wicks suggests working the sand on the north end or the established weedlines throughout the lake for walleyes, and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is.

“It’s pretty consistent year-round, even during the winter, for eating-size walleyes,” he said. “The lake is pretty much a bowl with weedlines, and those fish tend to hang around them.”

An abundance of vegetation above and below the surface benefits the lake’s largemouth bass as well. There’s also been a slot in place since 2015 that protects bass from 14 to 20 inches in length, which has allowed the bigger fish to remain in the lake.

According to Shavlik, anglers should expect an abundance of bass from 12 to 15 inches long. But he notes that there are strong numbers of bigger largemouths to be caught, along with plenty of places to find them.

“George has a really good plant community. It has it all – deep and shallow weeds, lily pads, and reeds,” he said. “The lake has strong (bass) numbers and good size structure. There’s really nice bass in there. We’ve sampled fish up to 19 inches.”

George also has a 24- to 36-inch protected slot in place for northern pike, a regulation implemented in 2003. Once dominated by high numbers of small pike, the current pike population consists of more quality fish, which is attributable to the regulation.

In the 2019 survey, pike were sampled in “moderate” numbers, and they averaged a little more than 3 pounds. Pike over 28 inches long have become more numerous in recent years.

“It looks like the needle has moved, because we’re now seeing better numbers of fish over 30 inches,” Shavlik said. “That slot has played a pretty good role in improving the size structure of the lake’s northern pike.”

George is a popular panfish fishery, with bluegills, crappies, and pumpkinseeds available in good numbers.

Its bluegills tend to draw more attention than do its crappies, with most ‘gills running between 6 and 8 inches long, although crappies over 10 inches are caught, too.  

Lake George

Nearest town……..Lake George

Surface area………………826 acres

Maximum depth………….29 feet

Shore length…………………6 miles

Water clarity………………….15 feet

AIS present………….Faucet snail

Fish species present:

Walleye, largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, black crappie, pumpkinseed, hybrid sunfish, green sunfish, yellow perch, yellow bullhead, brown bullhead, rock bass, white sucker. 

For information:

DNR area fisheries office (218) 552-2317, the DNR website http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind or Delaney’s Sporting Goods (218) 732-4281.

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