Winter's one big bite

kabetogama,walleye,voyaguers national park,snowmobileLet me make one thing clear: Russ Lane is not a wimp. The 6-foot, 3-inch veteran Bassmaster Elite Series angler was a standout athlete at Huntingdon College in his home state of Alabama and pitched for the Richmond Roosters minor league baseball team before becoming a professional angler.
Source: Bass

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January 2018 Ice Report

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Updated: January 18, 2018

All snowmobile trails in the park are now open, staked, and groomed. The Rainy Lake Ice Road is plowed and open from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center boat ramp to the Black Bay Ski Trail system and to Rainy Lake City. The Black Bay Ski Trail system is open, packed, and tracked on all trails. The Kabetogama Lake Ice Road is open from the Kabetogama Lake Boat Launch to the Ash River Boat Launch. The sledding hill is also open.

Please be advised that trail conditions along the lake surfaces can be rough due to wind-blown snow. Several pressure ridges have formed on Kabetogama Lake and Black Bay. These pressure ridges have been marked and are safe to cross at designated crossings along the trail system. Trail users are advised to use caution when travelling across frozen lake surfaces at this time. 

Snowmobile Trails

International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) - Open and groomed
Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) - Open and groomed
Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) - Open and groomed
Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) – Open and groomed
Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) - Open and groomed
East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) – Open and groomed
Rudder Bay (Orange Trail) - Open and groomed

***Please remember the snowmobile speed limit within the park is 45 mph on frozen lake surfaces and 25 mph on all overland portages. Speed limit signs are posted at trail heads and overland portages.

Ice Roads

Rainy Lake Ice Road- Open to the Black Bay Ski Trail system and to Rainy Lake City
Kabetogama Lake Ice Road- Open from the Kabetogama Lake Boat Launch to the Ash River Boat Launch
Kabetogama Lake Ice Road West and East Spur Roads- Not Open

 

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Body Found Near Lake Kabetogama

A body has been discovered in a remote area near Lake Kabetogama, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office reported Thursday.

A wildlife technician doing research discovered the remains a little after 1 p.m. Friday in a wooded area about four miles southwest of Lake Kabetogama near the Canadian border.

 The severely decomposed remains appeared to be an adult male, according to the Sheriff's Office.

No name was released, but the Sheriff's Office concluded the remains were those of an adult man reported missing to another Minnesota law enforcement agency in May.

 Foul play is not suspected.

Remains have been sent to the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office where an autopsy was to be conducted to determine the cause of death and establish positive identification.

If you are missing a body you're asked to call the St. Louis County Sheriff or Greg House.

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Darkhouse Spearfishing Workshop Scheduled Feb. 3

Lake Kabetogama anglers interested in darkhouse spearfishing can sign up for a workshop offered Feb. 3 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Rocky Ledge Bar. Participants will learn about ice safety(yeah right), the tradition of the sport, hiding the big ones from the DNR, what beer and cocktails go best with spearing and assorted other useful info.  Buying a Bud Lite for the instructors may earn you extended private lessons.  BYOS(Bring Your Own Spear)
Amundson & House Outdoor Educational Services

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Lake Kabetogama Walleye Through The Ice

Whether it's summer or winter, walleye are generally found within a couple feet of the bottom. And not just any bottom, normally walleye hang close to some sort of lake structure like points, breaks, rock piles and humps. Kabetogama has an abundance of this type of structure. Walleye also like fast access to deep water so check out the steep breaks around points and bars.

During early ice walleye can be found in the same places they were just before ice up. Look for them in shallow water near points and shoreline bars. Combine these with other structure, like inside turns and rock piles, and it's even better.

As winter progresses walleye move out toward mid-lake humps. Center Reef is a good example of this as is the areas around Cuculus Island.  Mouth of the Ash River can be outstanding all winter long.

As spring nears walleye begin moving shallower again into pre-spawn areas. Besides shoreline points and breaks, look for them near river mouths like the Ash River and up in Tom Cod Bay.

Before we switch gears and talk about presentation, remember locating the fish is half the battle. Don't just drill one hole in 10 ft of water next to a point. Instead drill several holes in varying depths and find the fish.

Using modern electronics can also help you find fish faster. Depth, fish and structure can all be seen using a flasher (Vexilar or Marcum)

The most effective ice fishing presentation is jigging. Jigging is basically raising your rod tip about a foot, then dropping it back down to its starting position. Since Walleye are close to the bottom, insure you're jigging within a couple feet of the bottom.

Don't be afraid to touch bottom. Often this will stir up the bottom and attract fish. Don't overdue it though. You'll catch more fish by keeping your lure slightly above them rather than on the bottom of the lake .

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Jigging attracts fish but unless they're very active, a Walleye won't take your bait/lure until it stops. So a very effective method is to raise and drop the tip, wait 3-10 seconds and repeat the raise/drop. Vary the amount of time you let you jig remain still.

Another jigging technique made popular by the pro ice fisherman Dave Genz is pounding the jig. Pounding a jig is basically jiggling your rod tip up and down just an inch or two very quickly.

Now that you've got the hang of jigging, lets look at the lure/bait you're using. There are two main types of lures jigged while ice fishing for Walleyes. Flash spoons and swimming lures.

Swimming lures are great for more aggressive Walleye. Usually I put a minnow head on one of the treble hook barbs and start by fishing with one of these.

Northland Tackle and Lindy make lead head swimming jigs which can also be very effective.

Flash spoons, or vertical spoons, like the Swedish Pimple and Acme Kastmaster, are a couple of my favorites. They are easily identified by their vertical fishing position and a treble hook on the bottom. Spoons are great for moderately active fish. Put a minnow head on one of the hooks and you've got a dangerous combination.

In most places while ice fishing you're allowed more than one rod. I usually set up either a tip up or a deadstick in either deeper or shallower water. Normally that set up just has a lead head jig and a sucker minnow on it while ice fishing for Walleye.

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Reminder: Late season deer hunt takes place in CWD zone

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A special late-season deer hunt will be Saturday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 14, to help control chronic wasting disease in southeastern Minnesota.

The hunt is open to Minnesota residents and nonresidents and takes place in an area that includes all of deer permit area 603 as well as the portion of permit area 345 south of Interstate 90, the southern portion of permit area 347 and the northern portion of permit area 348.

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Hunters will need to plan ahead because private land makes up most of the hunt area and hunters must have landowner permission. Public land in the area likely will be crowded. And hunting opportunities will be limited and available only by permit at Forestville State Park and Pin Oak Prairie Scientific and Natural Area; permits to both are sold out.

Participating hunters need to know the detailed hunt rules, available on the DNR’s website at mndnr.gov/603hunt.

Source: Mn DNR

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2017 was a great year for hunting, fishing and getting outdoors in Minnesota

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The year 2017 saw an increase in the number of Minnesotans getting outdoors and enjoying the state’s abundant natural resources, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

The DNR opened two new state campgrounds, added new resources to combat aquatic invasive species, connected more Minnesotans to information about the state’s natural resources, and engaged Minnesotans in the decision-making process on how to best plan for the future of the state’s natural resources.

“Minnesotans had more occasions in 2017 to engage with us on conservation decisions,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “I want to thank the outdoors-loving residents of this state for taking the time to share their ideas and opinions with us.”

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Outdoor highlights for the year include: Read more »

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DNR announces new special angling regulations

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Special fishing regulations will change March 1 on a number of Minnesota waters following an annual public input and review process, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

“Anglers need to know special regulations because they take precedence over statewide regulations,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the DNR. “We have special regulations to improve fish populations and make fishing better or more sustainable.”

Special regulations for individual waters are listed in a separate section of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet and at mndnr.gov/fishmn, and are posted at public accesses.

For this spring, new statewide northern pike zone regulations that take effect on inland waters will make it possible to do away with several previously existing special regulations that apply to individual waters and aim for similar outcomes as the zone regulations. The new statewide pike regulations go into effect in time for the fishing opener on Saturday, May 12.

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On waters that have a special fishing regulation, anglers are required to follow the special regulation and unless otherwise mentioned, all other regulations apply. Read more »

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Hunters register 161,057 deer through third weekend of season

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Harvest climbs 16 percent from 2016

Minnesota firearms hunters registered 161,057 deer through the third weekend of deer season, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

Preliminary results through the third weekend show that the number of deer registered was up 16 percent from 2016. Of the deer harvested, 53 percent were bucks, compared to 63 percent during the same period in 2016.

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In Zone 1, in northeastern Minnesota, total firearms harvest was up 36 percent. In Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state and runs from Canada to Iowa, harvest was up 10 percent and Zone 3, in southeastern Minnesota, was down 5 percent.

“The conditions were generally good for hunters participating in the last week of the Zone 1 season and for the start of the 3B season in the southeast,” said Erik Thorson, acting big game program leader, “which provided a boost to the statewide firearms harvest.”

Based upon the number of antlerless permits available and the number of permit areas that allow multiple deer to be taken, the DNR is projecting the 2017 total deer harvest to be around 200,000. The 2016 total harvest was 173,213 and to date firearms and archery hunters have harvested about 180,000 deer this year.

In much of Minnesota, the firearms deer season ended Nov. 12, and the northern rifle zone season ended Nov. 19. The late southeast firearms deer season is open through Sunday, Nov. 26. The muzzleloader season begins Saturday, Nov. 25, and continues through Sunday, Dec. 10. More information on deer management can be found at mndnr.gov/deer.

Source: Mn DNR

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7 deer test presumptive positive in southeast’s CWD management zone

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Final results for area 603 expected this week

Preliminary tests show that seven deer harvested in southeastern Minnesota’s disease management zone during the first firearms deer season may be infected with chronic wasting disease. 

Hunters harvested three of the seven suspect deer near Preston in deer permit area 603, where 11 other deer tested positive during last year’s CWD surveillance efforts. Three others were harvested in Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park, which is still within area 603 but west of the core disease area. The remaining deer was harvested east of Wykoff and north of the park.

Test results from deer permit areas surrounding 603 aren’t yet available and must be analyzed to assess the full extent of the disease and whether or not it has spread outside of the disease management zone.

Once all sampling is completed and test results received, the Department of Natural Resources will follow its CWD response plan and determine next steps, which may include boundary changes to area 603 and additional deer hunting opportunities for the public or landowners.

Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, said it isn’t clear whether the additional positives indicate a westward expansion of the disease or individual deer movements, given all the presumptive positive deer were adult males.

Testing continues on suspect deer and in 603

CWD testing is a two-step process.  The initial tissue sample is analyzed to determine if the animal is presumptive positive.  A final test is completed on all presumptive positive samples to confirm if the animal is infected with the disease.

The DNR expects final test results and disease confirmations for all seven deer soon. Those results and any future positives in area 603 will be posted on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.

Since the archery deer season began in mid-September, 700 samples have been collected in area 603. Hunters brought in 499 of those samples during the first firearms deer season, which began Nov. 4 and concluded Nov. 12. Results are pending on 40 of those deer.

“The DNR wants to thank hunters who submitted samples over opening weekend,” said Jim Leach, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “Compliance was very high, suggesting hunters view this as a very important issue.”

Hunters are reminded that mandatory testing of all adult deer harvested in area 603 continues throughout the 3B season (which starts Saturday, Nov. 18 and concludes Sunday, Nov. 26), as well during the remaining archery, muzzleloader and late seasons. Check stations are located in Preston and Chatfield.

The DNR also will open voluntary surveillance stations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 18-19 in Rushford and Houston.  The DNR encourages hunters who harvest deer around the disease management zone, in deer permit areas 343, 345, 346, 347, 348 and 349, to participate in voluntary sampling at these locations in order to collect as many samples as possible.

Check the DNR’s website, mndnr.gov/cwd, for specific information on check station locations, additional CWD information and DNR efforts to keep Minnesota deer healthy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, to date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, the CDC advises people not to eat meat from animals known to have CWD. Go to www.cdc.gov for more information.

Source: Mn DNR

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