DNR seeks comment on Tower area lake management plans

Anglers and others interested in learning about Minnesota Department of Natural Resources strategies for managing lakes and streams in the Tower area are invited to comment on several lake management plans through Monday, March 30.
Lake management plans describe the past, present and desired future conditions of the fishery. The plans identify specific management activities planned for designated lakes over the next 5 to 20 years. They include background information such as water chemistry characteristics, water temperature information, and species presence.
Comments and suggestions from the public are crucial for planning and determining management success. For anglers, this is the best opportunity to influence how these lakes are managed.
Every year, DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake management plans for several waters in each management area. In the Tower area, plans for the following lakes will be reviewed.


DNR’s annual aerial survey shows Minnesota’s moose population stable

For the ninth year in a row, Minnesota’s moose population remains relatively stable, but reproductive success – one of the factors that has the greatest impact on moose survival over time – remains low.
This winter, the DNR estimated the moose population to be 3,150 animals (between a range of 2,400 and 4,320). Due to the variance in this type of annual population estimate, this year’s estimate does not suggest a decline from last year’s estimate of 4,180 moose.
This year 308 moose were observed on 39 (75%) of the 52 plots surveyed (a total 723 square miles), less than the 429 moose observed on 43 of 52 plots during the 2019 survey. This year’s 308 observed moose included 131 bulls, 138 cows, 37 calves, and 2 unclassified adults


DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending March 3

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) focused on snowmobile speed enforcement over the past week. The violation rate was found to be high over the weekend with several citations issued. There has also been a recent rash of people attempting to drive cars and trucks on snowmobile trails and becoming very stuck. Visitors are asked to be observant of snow-covered roads they are unfamiliar with and to keep an eye out for snowmobile trail markers.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked anglers and snowmobilers this past week. He also assisted the U.S. Border Patrol on a snowmobile work detail. Fishing has been slow on area lakes and Velsvaag continues to get questions on pike regulations and border lakes fishing laws.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) spent time in the BWCAW checking anglers. A detail with area officers was worked along the U.S./Canada border. Enforcement action was taken for angling, snowmobile and BWCAW violations.


Time to buy new fishing and hunting licenses

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 2019 expire Saturday, Feb. 29.
Licenses for 2020 are now available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236.
All 2020 fishing licenses become effective Sunday, March 1.
New licenses are required for 2020 hunting and fishing seasons that continue past Feb. 29.
Ice shelter licenses, though, are valid through Thursday, April 30. Anyone who wants to start fishing or hunting can visit the DNR’s learn to fish and learn to hunt pages.


Snowmobile safety training class held in Ely for 20 youth

Twenty youth from the Ely area and beyond participated in a full day of Snowmobile Safety Training on Feb. 8 at Vermilion Community College.
These avid young snowmobilers arrived in the morning and were led through classroom instruction by Conservation Officer Sean Williams and Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club members Dave Marshall and Mike Banovetz. Also assisting with the class was Ely Police Officer Adam Borchert.
After a Sir G’s pizza lunch provided by the Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club, the group headed outside to take part in the field portion of the course involving a pre-trip check of a snowmobile and operation of a snowmobile through a driving course.
Volunteers assisting in this portion of the training included Ely Igloo Snowmobile Club members Alan White, Dave Johnson, and groomer operator Corey Keene.
Ely firefighters Scott Polyner and Jay Poshak also helped set the course and guide students through it.


DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending February 10

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CCO Sean Williams (Ely #1) continued to focus on angler and snowmobile activity through the week. Fewer anglers were seen as success continued to slow and many lakes patrolled had few or no people. Violations included failure to display current snowmobile registration and no angling license in possession.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) attended training at Camp Ripley during the week. He also worked angling and snowmobile activity.
CO Tom Wahlstrom (Grand Marais #1) attended annual training at Camp Ripley. Trout lakes and snowmobilers were worked throughout the week. Enforcement action was taken for multiple snowmobile and angling violations.


Northland 300 becomes $5 million snowmobile ride

On Jan. 25 when Janel Vorel read the figures for the 2020 Northland 300 she also announced that the 32nd annual Northland 300 passed $5,076,411 as the accumulative total for this event. This year 76 participants raised $187,304.
The Baker’s Dozen (Top 13 Fundraisers) consisted of:
Jim Reger $14,572
Rick Tysk $11,877
Janel Vorel $8,375
Tarry Trout $8,230
Marc Williams $7,540
Diane Reger $5,887
Dave Gerlach $5,180
Pooker Meister $4,625
Jason Reinsch $4,520
Deb Campbell $4, 022
Lauren Patrin $3,945
Dean Townsend $3,820
Tom Babin $3,555
Total raised by Baker’s Dozen $86,148.
Special Awards were awarded as follows:
John Marschall Tough Luck Award – Jens Selin
Tom Patterson Northlander of the Year Award – Dean Townsend
Steve Jaeger Spitit Award – Turquoise 2 Team
CJ Ramstad Unsung Hero Award – Diane Reger
Billy Meister “Newbie” Award – Adam and Kayla Zechman


DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending January 28

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports the annual area snowmobile fun run was well attended. Warm weather and nicely groomed trails made for very comfortable travel, although on some lakes slush was again becoming a problem. Violations included excessive snowmobile speed, failure to display current snowmobile registration, and taking trout with no stamp in possession.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout anglers this past week. He also received questions on injured animals, slot-size restrictions and complaints about litter left on the ice by trout anglers.
CO Thomas Wahlstrom (Grand Marais) checked anglers on remote trout lakes who were struggling with the slush and a few flowages that have opened with the warm weather. Snowmobile trails remain busy with all the fresh snow. Enforcement action was taken for snowmobile and fishing violations.


DNR Conservation Officer weekly report ending January 21

District 6 - Two Harbors area
CO Sean Williams (Ely #1) reports a good turnout for the regular inland trout opener. There were mild temperatures and generally very little slush. Success was also generally good, with some limits being checked. Violations included angling with extra lines, excessive snowmobile speed, and failure to display snowmobile registration.
CO John Velsvaag (Ely #2) checked trout anglers this past week. Fewer people were out in some locations due to snow and slush but slush conditions are improving. Fishing was average and some nice fish were caught.


32nd annual Northland 300 event in Ely this week

January 22-26 the 32nd annual Northland 300 will hold its annual snowmobile ride in Ely and hosted by Grand Ely Lodge. This Special Olympics signature event has included staying in Ely for 15 years. To date, over $4.8 million has been raised for the athletes of Special Olympics throughout the state of Minnesota.
The Opening Ceremony will be held on Thursday at 9 a.m. at Grand Ely Lodge. The Vintage Ride for snowmobiles 1999 and older will be held on Friday starting at 9 a.m. The cost is $25. Both events are open to the public.
Next year the event shifts to Grand Rapids.
Northland 300 snowmobilers hit the trails to ride over 300 miles in two days to show their support of the athletes of Special Olympics. Two athletes from the Roseville Flames, Steven Eull and Ashlea Karkula, will be carrying in the torch to light the flame of hope at the opening ceremony. The national anthem will be sung by a choir from Ely High School.


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