DNR certifies new catch-and-release state record muskie out of Vermilion

Lake Vermilion catch has special meaning for angler at his family cabin
An angler on Lake Vermilion caught and released Minnesota’s new state record muskellunge, a 57 1/4 inch fish that he called a “true giant.”
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources certified the state catch-and-release record fish on Oct. 11. The 57 1/4 inch fish had a 25 1/2 inch girth with an estimated weight of about 47 pounds. The previous record was a 56 7/8 inch fish caught on Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County in 2016.
The record catch took on special meaning for new record-holder Corey Kitzmann of Davenport, Iowa. While alone on Aug. 6 at his family cabin on Lake Vermilion, Kitzmann was sitting at the table tying a homemade bucktail lure. Then he received a phone call relaying bad news – one of his best friends had passed away from a medical condition at age 40.
With nobody around to grieve with, Kitzmann went fishing.


DNR: Whitefish, tullibee sport-netting to open on select Tower area lakes

Dates have been set for recreational netting for whitefish and tullibee (cisco) on seven lakes in the Tower fisheries work area.
These lakes are Schedule I Lakes, which are more susceptible to sudden changes that impact water temperatures, and are opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses, other public places, and the DNR website.
Schedule I Lakes (48 hour notice)
• Vermilion, Basswood, Fall and Newton lakes, open to netting Friday, Oct. 25 through Wednesday, Nov. 13. (Minimum 3.5 inch mesh size for Vermilion and Newton lakes. Minimum 1.75 inch mesh size for Basswood and Fall lakes.)
• Shagawa, open to netting Friday, Nov. 1 through Monday, Nov. 25, 2018 (Minimum 3.5 inch mesh size)
• Bear Island & Ojibway lakes, open to netting Friday, Nov. 22 through Monday, Dec. 23, 2018 (Minimum 1.75 inch mesh size)


What’s your shack story?

In northern Minnesota, people’s lives and summer vacations are centered around “the Cabin.” The cabin is the scene of summer dreams, walks in the woods and interaction with water.
Families gather, bond, mark the growth of each family member. And when they head home, the cabin is closed up and secured for the next year and other visits.
But what of the “Shack”? Once the domain of males only during hunting season, it appears to have evolved into something else. Year round it appeals to a different inner spirit. It’s a refuge. The ultimate (man) cave, no matter who enjoys it.
The Echo would like to delve into that mystique. We’d like to find out if any part of the shack experience can be isolated in words.
This doesn’t have to be fancy words. Not even perfect sentences. We’ll accept answers that are a bit on the rustic, backwoods style of those folks who are plain speaking and plain writing. Throw in a bunch of bragging and whatever else needed.


Dock removal slated for state public water accesses

Late fall can be a great time to fish in Minnesota and you may even have your favorite fishing spot to yourself. It’s also a time for seasonal dock removal at many public water accesses.
Seasonal dock removal at DNR-managed public water accesses generally begins after the third weekend of October and is usually completed by early November. Late season anglers may want to bring along a pair of hip boots or waders to stay dry when launching their boats, if the dock at their access point has been removed for winter.
“We do try to leave some of the more frequently used docks in place as long as we can, but we also need to manage that work across a large geographic area, and get it all done before the water begins to freeze,” said Ward Wallin, DNR Parks and Trails Two Harbors area assistant supervisor.


DNR Conservation Officer weekly report for the week ending October 7

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent the week checking anglers and hunters. He taught an ATV safety class at the Cook County middle school. Time was also spent assisting with an ATV work detail along the North Shore.

CO Sean Williams (Ely) attended a work crew with officers from around the state focusing on ATV recreation and small-game hunting south of Ely in areas of the Superior National Forest. Hunter success was fair with most hunters reporting seeing birds. Violations included hunting without a license in possession and failure to display current ATV registration.

CO Don Murray (Two Harbors) worked angling and small-game activity during the week. Salmon have begun to move into area streams but recent rainfall has made for challenging fishing conditions on North Shore streams. Murray took a water-quality complaint on Lake Superior that is under investigation and continued big-game baiting investigations.


Local students participate in boreal forest field day event

Sixth grade students from Ely, Tower-Soudan and North Woods all gathered at Bear Head Lake State Park on Sept. 26, to take part in a fun filled day of learning.
The program, in its fifth year, is organized by James Pointer, Interpretive Supervisor at Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park.
During the event the students rotate through seven interesting stations that relate to aspects of our boreal forest.
The stations included topics of mammals, watersheds, forestry, fisheries, water quality, bird banding, and Great Lakes Worm Watch.
The program is made possible by the many volunteers that assist with the program.
This year there were representatives from the Forest Service, DNR forestry, DNR fisheries, Vermilion Community College forestry and water clubs, and St. Louis Country Soil and Water Conservation.


Vermilion River ATV Bridge officially opens

The sun was shining bright on a new bridge over the Vermilion River and on over 300 ATV riders attending its official opening on Friday, Sept. 20. Standing on the bridge with riders from across the state, in the area for the annual convention of the ATV Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), were over a dozen elected officials and representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).
Set in place just a week earlier, the 185-foot bridge was built by the Voyageur Country ATV. It is the largest bridge ever built by a Minnesota ATV club. The $1.26 million project includes a picnic area near the bridge, and 16 miles of trail that connect Elephant Lake and Echo Lake. The project funding came from the IRRRB and from ATV user fees.


Ribbon cutting for new bike trails

RIBBON CUTTING for new bike trails at Hidden Valley, with mayor Chuck Novak and Scott Anderson holding the scissors on Sept. 12. Photo by Tom Coombe.


Bear harvest up so far

The Minnestoa DNR reports bear hunters have had good luck during the first three days of the 2019 season.
Preliminary bear harvest registration through Tuesday Sept. 3 showed a total registration of 1018 bears based on electronic licensing. This is about 40% higher than last season harvest to date, but similar to 2017.
Statewide numbers showed 58 percent males with similar numbers in zones in the Ely area. In bear zone 24, 65 percent of the harvest was males; in 25 is was 59 percent males and in 31 it was 60 percent. All numbers are preliminary. The season ends on Oct. 13.


Hunters asked not to shoot ear-tagged and radio-collared research bears

The Minnesota bear hunting season opens Saturday, Sept. 1, and the Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to avoid shooting marked research bears. These bears are marked with distinctively large, colorful ear tags and have radio collars.
Researchers with the DNR are monitoring about 30 radio collared black bears across the state, especially in zones 27, 25 and 45, and in parts of the no-quota zone. Most of them are in or near the Chippewa National Forest between Grand Rapids and Bigfork.
Others are farther north, near Orr or Voyageurs National Park. Some collared bears are also around Camp Ripley, and in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and Plummer.
“We’re asking hunters to watch out for these valuable research bears, and avoid shooting them. These collared bears are providing much of the data that is being used in bear management,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research scientist.


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