DNR seeks comment on stream trout and smallmouth bass special regulations in Cook County

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on a review of stream trout management and special stream trout regulations on Kraut, North Shady, Peanut, Squash, Thompson, Thrush, Tomato and Turnip lakes.  Public input is also sought on a review of smallmouth bass special regulations on Flour, Hungry Jack and Two Island lakes.  In both cases, reviews will consider whether existing special regulations should be continued, dropped or modified. 

Two public meetings will be held to collect input on these proposals.

  • Cook County Community Center, 317 West Fifth St., Grand Marais, on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Grand Marais area fisheries staff will be on hand at that meeting to take comments on proposals for Cook County lakes.
  • DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul on Wednesday Sept. 27, from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Staff will be available to take comments on this proposal and other fishing regulations under review around the state.

The public meetings are intended to provide background information, answer questions and take public input on the future of the special regulations on these waters.

Current special regulations on the stream trout lakes are: catch and release only, artificial lures and flies with a single hook only, use and possession of bait prohibited, and closed to winter fishing.

“Because of the high cost of stocking stream trout, combined with light use by anglers and poor survival of stocked trout in some of the lakes, we are considering dropping or relaxing regulations on some of the lakes and potentially discontinuing stocking in some other lakes,” said Steve Persons, Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor.

Current smallmouth bass special regulations are: all from 12-20 inches must be immediately released, with one over 20 inches allowed in possession. The proposed change would allow for increased harvest by raising the maximum size of fish that can be kept in these lakes, from 12 to 14 inches, so that all smallmouth bass from 14-20 inches would be immediately released, with one over 20 inches allowed in possession.

“Anglers have expressed an interest in relaxing those regulations to improve harvest opportunities for smallmouth bass. Voluntary release rates for smallmouth bass have been very high, so it seems likely that a relaxing the regulation could be done without diminishing the ability of these lakes to support high quality bass fisheries,” said Persons.

Questions and comments can be directed to Grand Marais fisheries supervisor, Steve Persons at 218-387-6021, by email to steve.persons@state.mn.us, or by mail to DNR Fisheries, 1356 E. Highway 61, Grand Marais, MN 55604.  Comments will be accepted through Oct. 10.

Source: Mn DNR

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Grand Lake public access closed for starry stonewort treatment

The public access on Grand Lake in Stearns County will be temporarily closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for hand removal of starry stonewort. This temporary closure is necessary for the safety of workers and divers. 

A relatively light population of the invasive algae was recently confirmed around the Grand Lake public access, following a coordinated starry stonewort search involving 200 trained detectors in 20 counties. DNR invasive species specialists will hand-pull starry stonewort while preserving native aquatic plants.

Starry stonewort has never been eradicated from any lake in the United States, but treatment can ease access and recreational use of a lake, while helping to reduce the risk of infestation to other water bodies.

Source: Mn DNR

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Mandatory testing for deer taken in SE Minnesota chronic wasting disease management zone

When archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 16, mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease and restrictions on moving deer carcasses begins again in southeastern Minnesota’s CWD management zone, deer permit area 603. 

“With archery deer season approaching, hunters are encouraged to plan ahead and be aware of the testing that will be required and the specifics about when they can and can’t move carcasses out of the CWD zone,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Archery hunters in deer permit area (DPA) 603 will be required to submit the head from all adult deer 1 year old or older so lymph nodes can be tested for CWD. Hunters cannot remove the carcass or carcass remains from the CWD zone until a negative test result is reported.

Carcass movement restrictions do allow hunters to immediately transport out of the zone quarters or other deer pieces without spinal column parts; boned-out meat; and antlers with a skull plate that is free of brain matter. Hunters should check page 65 of the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook for additional information.

“Archery deer hunters also should check the DNR website for the DPA boundary map,” Cornicelli said. “As a reminder, the CWD management zone was created from DPAs 347 and 348, so hunters need to be mindful of what area they’re hunting.”

Hunters are required to register their deer. DNR will allow phone and Internet registration during the archery season in the CWD zone. The system will be monitored for compliance and may be turned off if needed.

Mandatory testing and carcass movement restrictions will remain in effect for area 603 throughout deer seasons for archery, firearm, muzzleloader and any late season hunts.

Head collection boxes will be located in:

  • Chatfield: Magnum Sports, 1 1st St., 507-867-4399.
  • Preston: DNR area forestry office, 912 Houston St., 507-765-2740.
  • Lanesboro: DNR area fisheries office, 23789 Grosbeak Rd., 507-467-2442.
  • Wykoff: Goodies and Gas, 104 E Front St., 507-352-2421.
  • Harmony: Oak Meadow Meats, 50 9th St., 507-886-6328

Archery hunters should do the following:

  1. Field dress (gut) deer as normal.
  2. Register deer via phone, internet or walk-in big game registration station. If harvest occurs late in the day, sample (head) submission and registration do not have to occur on the same day.
  3. If the deer will be mounted, a video showing how to properly cape your deer is available at bitly.com/capeadeer.
  4. Remove the head, leaving at least 4 inches of neck attached.
  5. Hunters can take meat out of the zone immediately but the carcass (head with brain and spinal column) cannot be moved outside deer permit area 603 until a negative test result is received so hunters must:
  • Make arrangements to refrigerate the carcass before the deer is processed;
  • Cut deer into quarters or other pieces; or
  • Bone-out the meat.
  1. Ensure no spinal column or brain matter is included with the meat or on the antlers.
  2. Properly dispose of carcass remains. There will be a dumpster at the DNR forestry office in Preston for hunters who don’t have a way to dispose of remains.
  3. The Preston dumpster is being provided as a courtesy for deer carcass disposal only. It will be removed if people attempt to process deer there or use the dumpster for trash disposal.
  4. Bring the entire head of deer to one of five head box collection sites. Each collection box has specific instructions on how to properly submit the head for sampling.
  5. Put heads in the plastic bags provided. Use the maps provided at each box to mark an “X” where the deer was harvested. Submit this map with sample.
  6. Samples during the archery season will be submitted for testing on Mondays and Thursdays. It may take up to four business days for test results to be available.  CWD test results can be searched using a nine-digit MDNR number online at www.mndnr.gov/cwdcheck.

Deer hunters should regularly check the DNR’s CWD website at mndnr.gov/cwd for the most recent information.

Source: Mn DNR

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Deer lottery application deadline is Sept. 7

Firearms and muzzleloader hunters who want to harvest antlerless deer in a deer permit area designated as lottery this hunting season are reminded they must purchase their license by Thursday, Sept. 7. Hunters who purchase their license before this date are automatically entered into the lottery for the deer permit area or special hunt area they declare. 

This season, antlerless deer permits are issued by lottery in 48 of Minnesota’s 130 deer permit areas. No application is needed to take antlerless deer in permit areas with hunters choice, managed or intensive designations.

Hunters who want to participate in special firearm deer hunts also need to apply for permits that are issued through a lottery, and the application deadline is Sept. 7.

More information about deer permit areas, how their designations are set and special hunts is available on the deer page and in the 2017 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations Handbook.

Source: Mn DNR

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More lands to hunt through Walk-In Access program

Beginning Friday, Sept. 1, hunters can access 26,700 acres of private land across 46 counties in western and south-central Minnesota through the Walk-In Access program. 

“Finding land for hunting can be a challenge,” said Scott Roemhildt, Walk-In Access coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Walk-In Access allows hunters to access high-quality private land and makes it easier for landowners to allow that access.”

The Walk-In Access program pays landowners to allow hunter access. Hunters with a $3 Walk-In Access validation may hunt during legal hunting hours, during open hunting seasons from Sept. 1 to May 31. No additional landowner contact is necessary. More than 230 sites across 46 counties are available through the program. Bright yellow-green signs have been placed on Walk-In Access boundaries.

Hunting seasons open Sept. 1 for mourning doves, crows, snipe, sora and Virginia rails. Hunting seasons open Saturday, Sept. 16, for several small game species including squirrels and rabbits. The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opens Saturday, Oct. 14.

Maps of all Walk-In Access sites are available electronically at mndnr.gov/walkin. Printed atlases can be found across the 46-county area at DNR license agents, DNR wildlife offices and county soil and water conservation district offices. Atlases are also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367.

“Walk-In Access works because hunters respect the land and that respect encourages landowners to enroll their land,” Roemhildt said. “We are glad to talk with landowners who are considering the program,” Roemhildt said. “We hope to grow the program to 30,000 acres by 2018.”

Parcels enrolled in the Walk-In Access program must be at least 40 acres in size with high quality cover. Most land is also enrolled in private land conservation programs. The next enrollment period will begin in January 2018.

The Walk-In Access program began in 2011 and is currently funded through 2018 with a three-year grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other funding sources come through a surcharge on nonresident hunting licenses, a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2012, and donations from hunters.

Source: Mn DNR

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Caribou Falls State Wayside on the North Shore to be temporarily closed for improvements

The Caribou Falls State Wayside on Minnesota State Highway 61 north of Little Marais, Minn. will be temporarily closed for six to eight weeks beginning mid-August while improvements are made to the site. The project will include the addition of 25 parking spaces, installation of a vault toilet, and upgrading the trail to the Caribou River to improve accessibility.

The Caribou Falls State Wayside is one of five state waysides along the North Shore that are managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). These waysides are generally parcels of land too small to be full-fledged state parks, but with cultural or natural resources that exceed most highway waysides and rest areas.

“This wayside is well-used by visitors to see the Caribou Falls, access the Superior Hiking Trail, fish for trout in the Caribou River, or take a break from driving to take in the view of Lake Superior,” said district supervisor, Christa Maxwell. “Upgrading the parking and trail accessibility will improve safety at the site and better serve the public’s needs.”

During the construction, visitors are encouraged to use the Ray Berglund State Wayside located 16 miles north on State Highway 61 as an alternate rest location. The Caribou Falls State Wayside will be signed during the closure and people are asked to avoid the construction area.

The project is funded by the Federal Transportation Alternative Program with matching dollars from the Legacy Parks & Trails Fund which was created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the sales tax revenue and may only be spent to support parks and trail of regional or statewide significance.

Questions about the Caribou Falls State Wayside project can be directed to Christa Maxwell at the DNR’s Two Harbors area parks and trails office at 218-834-1429.

Source: Mn DNR

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Public input sought on proposed late season deer hunt and regulations

People can give input on a proposed late season antlerless only deer hunt in southeastern Minnesota. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host two public input meetings about the proposed hunt, potential dates, bag limits and other restrictions.

The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, in the Houston Elementary School gymnasium, 310 S. Sherman St. in Houston. The second meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, in the DNR Central Office lobby, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Online input will be taken from Monday, Aug. 28, through Monday, Sept. 11.

“We want to discuss why this hunt is proposed, at both meetings. And DNR staff will explain the purpose of the proposed dates and bag limits,” said Adam Murkowski, Big Game Program leader.

The late season antlerless only hunt is being currently proposed for Saturday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 14, concurrent with the late chronic wasting disease hunt in deer permit area 603. The deer permit areas that are proposed to be included are 346, 348 and 349 in the far southeastern corner of the state.

Populations in the three permit areas have been over the population goals established in 2014 for multiple seasons. This proposed additional late antlerless only season hunt would facilitate moving populations toward established goals and provide additional hunting opportunity. The DNR is interested in hearing from hunters, landowners and other citizens who are affected by deer in these areas.

“We are particularly interested in knowing how people feel about some of the specifics of the proposed hunt,” Murkowski said. “For instance, if the proposed hunt occurs what dates should the hunt be held to be most effective, should the hunt be limited to private land only, is a bag limit of five deer appropriate and should the hunt occur at all.”

More information about deer is available at mndnr.gov/deer.

Source: Mn DNR

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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 mndnr.gov/fishmn/trout.



Source: Mn DNR

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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 www.minnbid.org. 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 www.minnbid.org. 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

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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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