Stillwater artist wins trout and salmon stamp contest

Stillwater artist Nicholas Markell has won the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources trout and salmon stamp contest with a painting of a brown trout. The painting was selected by judges from among 14 submissions for the annual contest. 

2018 Trout and Salmon Stamp Competition
First Place: Nicholas Markell

Markell is now a two-time winner of the trout stamp contest, having previously won in 2012. Four entries advanced to the final stage of judging during the contest Aug. 3 at the DNR Central Office in St. Paul. Other finalists were Scott Wenner, second place; Ted Hansen, third place; and Richard Goodkind, fourth place.

The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. The following species will be eligible for the 2019 stamp: rainbow, brook, splake and lake trout, coho, pink, chinook and Atlantic salmon. Brown trout designs will not be eligible for the 2019 stamp.

The trout and salmon stamp validation is sold for $10 along with fishing licenses and is required for Minnesota residents age 18 to 64 and nonresidents older than age 18 and under age 65 to fish designated trout streams, trout lakes and Lake Superior and when in possession of trout or salmon. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible.

Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to trout and salmon management and habitat work. For more information on trout fishing license requirements, visit



Source: Mn DNR

DNR auction in Grand Rapids set for August 26

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will hold a public auction of surplus equipment Saturday, Aug. 26, at 9:30 a.m. in Grand Rapids at the DNR northeast regional office, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids.

More than 100 items will be sold including automobiles, trucks, ATVs, snowmobiles, tractors, boat packages, outboard motors, boats, trailers, office furniture, mowers, power tools, auto shop tools, tractor implements, dump trucks and other heavy equipment.

Photos and a listing of available items will be posted 10 days prior to the sale at On-site inspection of items will be available only on the day of the auction from 8 to 9:30 a.m.

To avoid standing in line the day of the sale, bidders are encouraged to preregister for the auction online at It provides access to information on other auctions conducted by the state of Minnesota.

The sale is being conducted by the state of Minnesota, Department of Administration, Fleet and Surplus Services Division and may include additional items from local municipalities. Benoit Auction Service of Dassel will be the auctioneer.

Source: Mn DNR

Walleye fishing re-opens on Mille Lacs Lake Friday, Aug. 11

Catch-and-release walleye fishing and use of live bait will return to Mille Lacs Lake effective at 6 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 11, and continuing through Monday, Sept. 4. 

“After an extended mid-season closure, we look forward to reopening the lake to catch-and-release walleye fishing,” said Don Pereira, fisheries section chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

A prohibition on night fishing will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30. Regulations do allow anglers to fish for muskie and northern pike at night, but they may only use artificial lures longer than 8 inches or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. Bowfishing for rough fish also is allowed at night but possession of angling equipment is not allowed and only rough fish may be in possession.

As of July 31, state anglers had harvested 47,899 pounds of walleye, out of the state’s conservation cap of 55,800 pounds. The DNR decided last month to dip into the conservation cap in order to extend the walleye season through Labor Day.

To learn more about Mille Lacs Lake and its many great fishing opportunities, To plan a visit to the Mille Lacs area, visit

Source: Mn DNR

Voyageurs National Park Winter Ice and Trail Conditions Report 12/14/2016



International Falls, MN: Due to the lack of safe ice at this time, all snowmobile and ski trails are closed with the exception of the Echo Bay Ski Trail, which has been packed, but not tracked. Snowshoe trails are open but not packed.

Park staff has started checking ice conditions and found there is not significant ice to stake trails.  Please remember to think twice during this time of thin ice, when in doubt, stay off the ice.  For more information on general ice thickness safety guidelines, please visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website at

This winter season, the most up-to-date information regarding Voyageurs’ ice and trail conditions will be posted each Wednesday to the park’s Facebook page (VoyageursNPS) and on the park’s website at

Future winter ice and trail condition press releases will be issued only during major changes in trail conditions.


Snowmobile Trails

International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) – Closed

Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) – Closed

Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) – Closed

Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) – Closed

Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) – Closed

East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) – Closed


Rainy Lake Ice Road – Closed

Kabetogama Lake Ice Road – Closed


Ski Trails

Echo Bay Ski Trail – Packed, not tracked

Black Bay Ski Trail – Not open

Tilson Connector Trail – Not open

KabAsh Trail – Not open



Snowshoe Trails

Black Bay Beaver Pond Trail – Closed

Blind Ash Bay Trail – Open, not packed

Oberholtzer Trail – Open, not packed

Sullivan Bay Trail – Open, not packed

Rainy Lake Recreation Trail – Open, not packed






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New Owners at the Gateway Store

New owners are Jason and Robyn from Park Point Resort

Gateway General Store

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Minnesota River listed for zebra mussels, invasive carp

Surveys by the Department of Natural Resources have confirmed zebra mussels in a western stretch of the Minnesota River. Because there is no significant natural or human-made barrier that could prevent downstream spread, the entire Minnesota River, to its confluence with the Mississippi River, will be added to the Infested Waters List. 

To reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species, activities like bait harvest, commercial fishing, and water use are managed differently in infested waters.

Based on individual captures in 2016 and 2017, the Minnesota River will also be added to the Infested Waters List for bighead carp and grass carp from Granite Falls to the confluence with the Mississippi River. The DNR has already been in contact with some of the businesses, such as commercial anglers and bait harvesters, who would be affected by this designation.

Changes in those regulated commercial activities on the Minnesota River will now match Mississippi River regulations. These designations and regulation changes are not unexpected.

“We consider these designations carefully, especially when they affect businesses and people,” said DNR invasive carp coordinator Nick Frohnauer. “The tipping point was the recent capture of a large bighead carp with eggs. Although it’s just a few individuals, both male and female fish have been captured. This designation is a precautionary tool to help minimize risks.”

Last September, the DNR confirmed zebra mussels in Lac qui Parle, a Minnesota River reservoir. Recent DNR surveys confirmed adult zebra mussels behind the Granite Falls Dam and zebra mussel larvae, called veligers (VEL-uh-jers) at four of seven sites on the Minnesota River, from Montevideo to near New Ulm. No veligers were detected at survey sites near St. Peter, Chaska, or Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Zebra mussels, bighead carp and grass carp are not native to Minnesota. Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes. Invasive carp can compete with native species for food, dramatically reduce aquatic vegetation and diminish water quality.

To protect the state’s waters from the spread of invasive species and the environmental, recreational and economic damage they cause, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to

  • Clean watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

More information is available on the aquatic invasive species page.

Source: Mn DNR

Grassland conservation a major topic at this year’s Game Fair

A push to conserve grasslands will be front and center at Game Fair, the annual celebration of the outdoors open to families, dogs on leashes and everyone eagerly awaiting fall hunting seasons. 

“Game Fair is about having fun. But before the fun of chasing roosters or deer through the grass, the work of making sure that grasslands are conserved and restored must be a priority,”  said Greg Hoch, prairie habitat team leader with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Minnesota has lost large amounts of grassland habitat in the last decade. The loss is mainly due to fewer acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP.”

The federal program pays farmers to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant grass and forb species that improve environmental health and quality.

“One of the issues with CRP is there’s been a national limit imposed on the total CRP acreage that can be added,” Hoch said. “This cap has been imposed in the last two Farm Bills, which set national farm policy. We want that changed in the upcoming Farm Bill.”

The next Farm Bill is due in 2018, lending urgency to everything grassland-related. Hunters, likewise, have a vested interest in CRP since pheasants, ducks, deer and many other species of wildlife are supported by grasslands.

Game Fair runs Aug. 11-13 and Aug. 18-20 in the city of Ramsey. There will be a discussion on CRP and the Farm Bill at the Outdoor News Seminar Tent at 1 p.m. each Saturday. The event will be attended by U.S. Reps. Tim Walz (Aug. 12) and Tom Emmer (Aug. 19); DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr; and leaders of Pheasants Forever, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Ducks Unlimited and the Minnesota Waterfowl Association.

“Grassland wildlife have declined dramatically since Minnesota’s peak CRP year in 2007,” Hoch said. “In that year the state had 1.83 million acres. Today, we have a little over a million acres with more acres set to expire this fall. Pheasant harvest fell 70 percent in the last decade as a direct result of the loss of grassland habitat.”

The Minnesota conservation community is advocating for the following foundational goals in the next Farm Bill:

  • A 40-million acre national CRP cap, which could translate into about 2 million acres for Minnesota.
  • A Working Lands program associated with CRP, allowing grazing and haying of some acres under a conservation plan.
  • Increased state input in determining where those acres should go to achieve the greatest benefits for landowners, wildlife, pollinators and clean water.

For more information from the DNR about CRP, visit Details about Game Fair are available at

Source: Mn DNR

Herbicide applications to help reforestation efforts in the Hibbing area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will begin herbicide applications on select state lands to improve reforestation efforts. Applications will begin around August 15th on 33 acres north of Shannon Lake in the Sturgeon River State Forest.

Herbicides are a way to control competing vegetation on newly established forests and help reforestation.

“Herbicides will be sprayed on the ground to reduce competing woody vegetation to Jack Pine seedlings on this site,” said Jon Splinter, DNR area program forester. “This allows the tree seedlings a better chance to grow and survive.”

Herbicides will not be applied within 100 feet of any water body, following DNR herbicide application guidelines.

Signs will be posted on all herbicide treatment sites. Adjacent landowners within a quarter mile of the treatment sites have been notified.

The DNR plants trees on state lands to reforest harvested areas, provide wildlife habitat, protect watersheds and maintain healthy state forests. Part of the reforestation process involves applying herbicides to the harvested areas prior to or following tree planting. DNR foresters determine the right tree species for the site and private contractors do the actual planting.

This past spring in the Hibbing area, the Division of Forestry planted more than 150,000 seedlings on more than 200 acres, and 128 acres were seeded. Statewide, more than 2.2 million seedlings were planted on state forest lands and more than 4,000 acres were seeded this year.

More information about the DNR’s Forestry Division can be found on the DNR website at

Source: Mn DNR

Cold and Snow

We had a temp of -22 last night and NOAA site says -24 tonight, great for making ice. Ice fishing is just beginning, and I’ll be out this morning around Bittersweet, Three Sisters and Pine Island. These have always been great early season walleye and sauger hotspots. Crappie can sometimes be good at Bittersweet right now. I have a new Otter Outdoors Pro XT1200 Cabin Ice Shelter that I can tow behind the Ranger or, when the snow gets deeper, the Ski-Doo Cross Country snow machine. I’ll post some pictures of todays catch later this evening.


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June Crappie’s

We were able to find some crappie yesterday, June 7th between the storms and wind.  We ducked in behind Cutover to get out of the wind and anchored just off Nagurski Point in the Rock Garden area.  We were fishing in about 20-25 with slip bobbers waiting for the weather to calm down and started catching crappies on a jig and fathead.  Another spot that has started is along the SW side of Bittersweet Island right at dark.  Try an Uncle Buck Crappie Killer and bobber right in close by the weeds.  Some nights are really good, with some occasional 14-15″ fish.  Bittersweet is real close to Woodfrog campground.


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