Outdoors

Fri
09
Apr

Minnesota’s fishing opener is May 15 this year

Fishing seasons open for walleye, bass, trout in lakes, and northern pike on Saturday, May 15, with this year’s date taking the prize for the latest possible opener under Minnesota statute.
“We know there is some confusion about this year’s opener date,” said Jon Hansen, fisheries program consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota statute sets the fishing opener as the Saturday two weeks prior to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. This year, with Memorial Day the latest it can be, on May 31, that puts the fishing opener on Saturday, May 15.
Also related to May fishing, there is an error in the printed version of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations book regarding the dates for the 2021 Take a Mom Fishing Weekend.

Fri
02
Apr

Prescribed fires to begin on Superior National Forest

The Superior National Forest is planning to conduct a series of prescribed fires across the forest to improve and maintain forest health and wildlife habitat, and reduce hazardous fuel build up and the risk of intense wildfire. T
he meadow and forest ecosystems in northeastern Minnesota are fire-dependent and rely on periodic fires to stay healthy. Prescribed fires are carefully planned and managed to meet natural resource objectives in a safe, effective manner.
Depending on the fuels and weather conditions, the prescribed fire units could be burned starting as early as March 29 and all the way until June or July.
Prescribed fires are conducted by trained fire management professionals who have studied fire behavior and fire control techniques. These fire professionals help ensure the safety of the burn crew, nearby residents, and property. The window of opportunity for prescribed burning is very small.

Thu
25
Mar

Talking deer with Tom

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites the public to talk with DNR staff about deer on Wednesday, March 31. From noon until 8 p.m. on that day, wildlife managers throughout the state will be available to discuss deer-related topics with anyone who gives them a call.
For hunters that prefer to call (versus on-line input) to discuss the 2021 deer season, population status, (their) permit areas and antlerless permits, Wednesday March 31 from noon to 8 PM is the designated day. Tower area wildlife manager Tom Rusch will be in the Tower office from noon-8 p.m. to take calls at 218-300-7861.
This is in lieu of an annual post-winter in-person meeting held at Tower or Mt Iron in recent years. Please leave your name and phone number and he will return calls in the order that they are received.

Thu
18
Mar

DNR reminds Minnesotans to not import live crayfish for dining or bait

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding Minnesotans that it is illegal to import any species of live crayfish into the state. Some people import live crayfish for dining, for aquariums or for fishing bait, without realizing Minnesota is one of at least nine states that prohibit live crayfish imports.
“Some nonnative crayfish pose serious risks to Minnesota fish, wildlife and infrastructure,” said, Chelsey Blanke, DNR aquatic invasive species analyst. “They can destroy aquatic plant beds, displace native species, compete with fish for prey and cause major declines in amphibian, invertebrate and waterfowl populations.” Once introduced, invasive species of crayfish are extremely difficult to remove because they burrow into shorelines, which can also be damaging to nearby infrastructure.
Minnesotans have been doing a good job of keeping the highly destructive red swamp crayfish out of state waters.

Fri
12
Mar

Some lawmakers don’t think blaze pink passes muster on hunters, look to change 2017 law

by Nate Gotlieb
Session Daily
DFL lawmakers want to overturn the provision in a 2017 state law allowing blaze pink hunting clothing, out of concern the color is less visible than blaze orange.
HF1562, sponsored by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), would only allow blaze gear — required during Minnesota’s deer-hunting season — to be orange.
As amended, the bill, which also contains a number of other environmental policy provisions, was approved along party lines Tuesday by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance and Policy Committee.
Its companion, SF1533, is sponsored by Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point) and awaits action by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee.
Blaze gear increases visibility and helps prevent hunting-related shooting accidents.

Fri
05
Mar

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports warmer weather and very little additional snow made for trail conditions that continued to deteriorate through the past week. In spite of those worsening conditions, trails were still passible but some spots have already worn down to bare ground. Violations included fishing without a license and snowmobile speed.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout anglers this past week. Snowmobile riders were out with good trail conditions, which did not last with the warm weather. Velsvaag also took phone calls about fish house removal and litter.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) worked a snowmobile detail with several officers in Cook County. The trails are starting to deteriorate quickly with the lack of snow and warm weather. Time was also spent armoring handguns at Camp Ripley. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile, ATV and fishing violations.

Fri
26
Feb

Time to buy new fishing and hunting licenses by March 1

It’s the time of year when hunters and anglers need to buy new fishing and hunting licenses.
Minnesota fishing, hunting and trapping licenses for 2020 expire Sunday, Feb. 28.
Licenses for 2021 are now available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236.
All 2021 fishing licenses become effective Monday, March 1.
New licenses are required for 2021 hunting and fishing seasons that continue past Feb. 28.
Current ice shelter licenses, though, are valid through Friday, April 30.
Anyone who wants to start fishing or hunting can visit the DNR’s learn to fish and learn to hunt pages.

Fri
26
Feb

DNR seeks comments on Finland area fisheries management plans

Anglers and others interested in management of fisheries resources in the Finland area are invited to comment on fisheries management plans for selected lakes in Lake County through Wednesday, March 31.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources uses fisheries management plans to identify specific management activities planned for designated lakes over the next five to 20 years. The plans include background information such as water chemistry characteristics, water temperature information, species presence, and historic catch rates from previous fisheries surveys.
Comments and suggestions from the public are important for planning and evaluating the success of activities laid out in management plans. The list of plans currently being reviewed includes Dragon, Greenwood, Johnson and Wilson lakes. Area staff are also seeking comments for the first formal fisheries management plan drafted for Highland Lake.

Fri
19
Feb

DNR adjusts how married anglers and hunters buy combination licenses

Both members of married couples who want to purchase a combination angling or hunting license in person will need to be present at the sales location as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will begin requiring both spouses to provide and verify their own complete customer records on file to purchase a combination license.
“These changes will bring the DNR into compliance with state and federal laws that require collecting this information for angling or hunting license sales,” said Steve Michaels, licensing program director. “The information helps prevent licenses being sold to people with violations or unpaid fines.”
Customers will continue to pay the same price for combination licenses, which are discounted compared with purchasing two individual licenses.

Fri
19
Feb

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CCO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports less activity in the Ely area as the coldest weather of the year has arrived. The weekend saw high temperatures making it only into the teens below zero, and wind chills as low as below-50 were reported.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) focused on angling and snowmobile activity. Recent snow helped improve the state and local trails. Wahlstrom worked a detail with the Border Patrol.

CO Mary Manning (Hovland) hit the ski trails checking ski passes and directing skijors to the correct trails. Anglers and snowmobilers were also checked. Manning is also following up on a report of anglers with unattended lines.

CO Anthony Bermel (Babbitt) worked primarily angling and snowmobile enforcement. A couple of traps were also checked. Enforcement action included fishing without a license, no shelter tag, under 21 consumption of alcohol, expired snowmobile registration, and loud/altered exhaust.

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