Outdoors

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.

Fri
12
Feb

St. Louis County board approves funding projects to combat aquatic invasive species

The St. Louis County Board has approved the distribution of $654,530 of state funds for eight projects that will prevent the introduction and limit the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in lakes and rivers in St. Louis County. Commissioners unanimously approved the list of projects during their meeting Tuesday in Virginia.
The approved projects and funding include:
$398,600 to the North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District to manage watercraft inspections, decontaminations and public education on Bear Island, Birch, Burntside, Crane, Ely, Gilbert-Pit, Johnson, Kabetogama, One Pine, Pelican, Shagawa, and Vermilion Lakes.
$98,000 to Wildlife Forever for marketing efforts for their Clean Drain Dry Initiative campaign aimed at public awareness and education, and behavioral change.

Fri
12
Feb

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO 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.

Fri
05
Feb

Winter Severity Index good news for deer

We’re at the mid-winter point and so far it’s been a mild one.
Tom Rush, the DNR area wildlife manager, sent in the numbers for the Winter Severity Index (WSI).
The Winter Severity Index (WSI) is a general measure of winter conditions.
In Minnesota the WSI is calculated by accumulating one point for each day with an ambient temperature = 15 inches. End-of-season values = 120 indicate a severe winter.
The Tower area Winter Severity Index for the winter of 2020-21 is “mild” at the mid-point of winter.
Both Tower and Eveleth have zero Snow Points with less than 15 inches of snow on the ground. Both stations have fewer than 20 days below zero degrees.
Rush reported the entire state is in the mild category as of Feb. 1.
The northern St Louis County snow depth is 12-14” across the area as of Feb 1.
The northern Lake County snow depth is 16-20” following the weekend snowfall as of Feb 1.

Fri
22
Jan

Forest Service announces changes to BWCA quota permits for 2021 season

The Forest Service has updated the quota permit issuance process for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for the 2021 season. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the USDA Forest Service will offer alternatives to issuing permits in-person and will conduct a “virtual” Leave No Trace (LNT) education program.
BWCAW quota permit reservations for the 2021 season will be available beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.
Last season saw unprecedented visitation to the BWCA and along with that an unacceptably high amount of resource damage, including cutting of live trees, human waste not being properly disposed, trash left in campfire rings, disruptive and oversized groups and campfires left unattended.
To ensure visitors new to wilderness understand and follow BWCA regulations and Leave No Trace Principles, the Forest Service has adopted new methods of delivering this information.

Fri
22
Jan

DNR unveils pollinator license plate to help preserve critical habitat

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen unveiled the design of Minnesota’s newest critical habitat license plate, featuring native pollinators including a bee and butterflies. The new license plate is available now online and at deputy registrar and driver’s license offices statewide.
There is no need to wait for current license plate tabs to expire, as the license fee is prorated when a critical habitat license plate is purchased.
The $30 annual contribution to the Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Critical Habitat Program helps to preserve important wildlife habitat and plant communities such as wetlands, prairies, old growth forests and endangered orchid sites. Contributions over $30 go toward buying and managing important natural habitats, which are preserved as public lands. These lands are open to compatible public use, like hunting, hiking and wildlife watching.

Fri
22
Jan

DNR Conservation Officer weekly reports

District 6 - Two Harbors
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports snowmobile trail conditions continued to get worse after another week of moderate use and no additional snowfall. Trout-fishing activity inside the BWCA continued to be high and success was overall good on several lakes checked. Violations included no fishing license in possession, failure to display current snowmobile registration and possession of motorized equipment inside the BWCA.

CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and a few snowmobile riders this past week. Fishing has been slow, with slush on most area lakes. Velsvaag also followed up on litter complaints and snowmobile complaints.

CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the past week checking trout anglers in the BWCA. Anglers who ventured through the slush were rewarded with some nice lake trout in the bag. Enforcement action was taken for angling and snowmobile violations.

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