DNR places burning restrictions on additional counties

Statewide fire conditions have led the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to place burning restrictions on additional counties.

Burning restrictions take effect Monday, May 13, at 8 a.m. in the following counties: Becker, Beltrami, Carlton, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau, and parts of Cass, Polk and St. Louis counties.

The portion of Polk County is south and east of County Road 6 from the Manhomen County line to state Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line. In Cass County, the restrictions affect that portion of the county south of Highway 200.  In St. Louis County, the restrictions affect the area south of a line running from Silica on the west to Central Lakes and Brimson on the east. The exact line is a township line between 55 and 56 north and includes all of township 56.

The following counties are already under burning restrictions:  Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Chisago, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Ramsey, Sherburne, Pope, Stearns, Todd, Wadena Washington and Wright  and southern Cass (that portion south of Highway 200). Read more »

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[WATCH]: When a Birdfeeder Becomes a Bear Feeder

Rating: 4
A Black Bear rips down our birdfeeder and eats everything. There is one more stop before he leaves.

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Rating: 4
This is another video of “Famous Amis” the black bear who fell asleep in my hammock.

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Voyageurs National Park Cautions Visitors – Unsafe Ice Conditions


INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN: March 3, 2016- Voyageurs National Park staff strongly urges visitors to stay off the ice due to the inconsistent weather that is causing freezing and thawing conditions. These freeze-thaw conditions create an inconsistency in ice thickness and quality making ice travel hazardous and unsafe.

Snowshoe and cross country ski loans at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center have stopped for the season.

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Crappie Fishing On Lake Kabetogama

Winter gives ice fisherman an advantage for catching Crappie over summer fishing since in the summer they’re more spread out and more difficult to find. In the winter they tend to school up more often and suspend over deep water.

In early winter Crappie can be found in the same places they were just prior to ice up. Look for them in shallow weeds and just off the weed line. Especially when the weeds are combined with shoreline breaks and points. By mid winter the Crappie will have moved off the structure, usually to the nearest deep basin. On Kabetogama Eks Bay and Blue Fin Bay are two spots to try.  Sullivan Bay on the Ash River can also be outstanding.  Start by looking for them suspended in the basin near the structure and at the same depth of the structure.

Late winter they’ll begin to move in closer to the bays and weed lines. Crappie spawn in shallow, dark bottom bays after the ice is out. You’ll find them moving closer to these spawning areas as spring approaches.

Velixar FL-8SE Genze Pack with
Ice-Ducer Fish Finder

Using modern electronics can also help you find fish faster. Depth, fish and structure can all be seen using a flasher (Vexilar or Marcum).  I also like to carry an Aqua Vu camera to verify that what I,m seeing on the flasher is indeed Crappie or Walleye.

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2015 Minnesota Fishing Opener

The fishing opener is in the books and I’d call it a great one!  Fish were biting everywhere, with BIG fish caught in 8-10 feet of water and keepers being a little bit deeper in 18-20′.  We did best using rainbows but we talked to people who were catching walleyes on fatheads, leeches and even some using crawlers.  Probably the best fishing opener since 2010.

The 2015 Minnesota Fishing Opener is Saturday, May 9 and unlike the past two years, we’ll be ice free.  Water levels are VERY low so watch for rocks that you may have floated right over in past years, especially last year when the water was very high.

If you are coming up to Kab and need some spots to try, here are a few. The west end will be the best. Try Tom Cod Bay up in the weeds in 5-6 feet with a 1/8th ounce jig and minnow. Three Sisters Island is one of the top early season spots, just look for the boats. Bald Rock Bay in 15-18 feet is a good spot. Harris Island is always a good opener spot, but usually there will be a lot of boats. Fish shallow for the trophies and move deeper for the keepers. Bittersweet Island with a jig and minnow on the north side out to the channel marker is sometimes real hot. The southwest corner of the island can be good for Crappie in the evening.

No boat, no problem!  Go out on the point at Woodenfrog and fish with a slip bobber and minnow.  Lots and lots of walleye are caught every year around the point.  Try setting your depth at about 8 feet.



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2016 Fishing Opener

Bring warm clothes, it’s snowing and blowing about 25 MPH out of the NW.  White-caps all across the lake.  Ice-Fishing

Dress like this guy for the opener!

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Winter Ice and Trail Conditions On Lake Kabetogama

Entering Voyageurs National Park on the Moose Grade snowmobile portage

Lake Kabetogama Winter Ice and Trail Conditions

Great Story

Updated: December 30, 2016

The entire Blue Route, east Namakan to Sand Point, is now open and staked.

The entire Green Track from Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama to Ash River on to Crane is open and staked. Grooming with the small groomers on portages only has started but use caution as portages maybe rough at times.

Park staff is continuing to monitor ice conditions and have still not found sufficient load bearing ice to stake any more trails at this time.

In addition, use caution when traveling across the lake as some slush has developed along the trails and across the lake.

Snowmobile Trails

International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple) – Not Open
Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama to Ash River (Green) – Open, staked
Ash River to Crane Lake (Green) – Open, staked, portages groomed
Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black) – Not Open
Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow) – Not Open
East Namakan  to Sand Point Lake (Blue) – Open, staked
Rudder Bay (Orange) – Not Open

***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- Not Open
Kabetogama  Ice Road- Not Open

Read more »

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Voyageurs National Park Trail Report

Voyageurs National Park Winter Trail Conditions Report


INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minnesota:  All of Voyageurs National Park’s 110 miles of snowmobile trails and over 10 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails are now open and ready for visitors to enjoy. Travel along these trails offers snowmobilers and skiers an opportunity to view wildlife and scenic grandeur in a national park.



Hazardous pressure ridges are still active creating standing water above the ice in some locations along the ridges. Snowmobilers must continue to use extreme caution and only cross the pressure ridges at designated crossings along the staked route.   Slow travel speeds are highly recommended.  Crews will have the green trail from Rainy Lake to Crane groomed by close of business on Thursday, February 2. Excellent riding conditions are expected to continue for snowmobilers to enjoy.


Outstanding scenery is one of the reasons why Voyageurs National Park was established. Please enjoy the scenery as you ride and follow the snowmobile speed limit of 45 mph on frozen lake surfaces and 25 mph on all overland portages.  Speed limit signs are posted at trailheads and overland portages.


Ice Roads  – see trail status list at end


The new 9-mile long Kabetogama Lake Ice Road is open for two way traffic and is being enjoyed by park visitors. The road follows a route along the south shore of Kabetogama Lake between the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center and the Ash River Visitor Center.


The Rainy Lake Ice Road is open to Cranberry Bay. The ice road loop around Dryweed Island is now plowed and open for public use.


To reduce hazards to snowmobile users, all ice blocks are to be immediately chopped up, submerged, or hauled to land. Placement of equipment or any type of structure must be greater than 50’ off the center of all ice roads and snowmobile trails. Written authorization from the park is required for individuals to plow any lake surfaces within the park.




Snowshoe Trails  – see trail status list at end

The Sullivan Bay snowshoe trail is now open and tracked. This trail is located along the Ash River Visitor Center entrance road. Travel about two miles in on the entrance road and look for the snowshoe sign on your right that marks the trail.


The Blind Ash Bay snowshoe trail near the Ash River Visitor Center and the Oberholtzer snowshoe trail near the Rainy Lake Visitor Center are open, but not tracked.


Snowshoes are available for loan at the Rainy Lake Visitor near International Falls, Arrowhead Lodge in Kabetogama, and Ash Trail Lodge in Ash River. Take advantage of this opportunity to try this fun winter activity.


Cross-Country Ski Trails – see trail status list at end

The park has packed and tracked the Black Bay Ski Trails and the Tilson Connector Trail near the Rainy Lake Visitor Center as well as the Echo Bay Trail system in Kabetogama. All trails are in good condition.


The Rainy Lake Visitor Center near International Falls has adult-sized skis available for rent and children’s skis available for loan during business hours. The visitor center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00am to 4:30pm.


Regular weekly winter trail conditions reports are available on our website at www.nps.gov/voya.


Snowmobile Trails

International Falls to Kettle Falls (Purple Trail) – Open & Staked

Rainy Lake/Black Bay to Kabetogama Lake to Ash River (Green Trail) – Open & Staked

Ash River to Crane Lake (Green Trail) – Open & Staked

Chain of Lakes (Dashed Black Trail) – Open & Staked

Ash River to Kettle Falls (Yellow Trail) – Open & Staked

East Namakan Lake to Sand Point Lake (Blue Trail) – Open & Staked


Ice Roads

Rainy Lake Ice Road – Open to Cranberry Bay and loop around Dryweed Island

Kabetogama Lake Ice Road – Open between the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center Boat Launch and the Ash River Visitor Center Boat Launch

Ski Trails

Echo Bay Ski Trail – Open, Packed & Tracked

Black Bay Ski Trail– Open, Packed & Tracked

Tilson Connector Trail– Open, Packed & Tracked

KabAsh Trail– Open


Snowshoe Trails

Blind Ash Bay Trail – Open

Sullivan Bay Trail – Open and tracked

Oberholtzer Trail – Open





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Smallmouth Bass On Kabetogama and Namakan

Smallmouth bass are regarded as the hardest fighting freshwater fish.  It is also often referred to as the brown bass, brownies, bronzebacks, smalls and smallies. Many anglers love the challenge of catching these aggressive fish and the great feeling after a well-fought battle.

Smallmouth bass thought by most people to be the sportiest freshwater fish. They are known for their fighting stamina and beyond belief leaping ability. Like largemouths, they will take almost any kind of lure or bait, but they commonly prefer smaller sizes.  Favorites include jigs, crankbaits, spinners, streamer flies, shiner minnow, crayfish, hellgrammites, leeches, and nightcrawlers.

The jaw of a smallmouth bass, which extends directly below the eye, is smaller compared to that of a largemouth bass.  Its cheeks have from twelve to seventeen rows of scales and the dorsal fins are joined with ten spines and thirteen to fourteen soft rays.

It is golden bronze or brown in color, with a lighter, more creamy underbelly that the largemouth which has a greenish one.  It has vertical dark bands or marks on the sides and its eyes have a dash of red.

Most smallmouth weigh between 1 and 1.5 and they can run as high as 4 or 5 pounds.

In Lake Kabetogama and Namakan, August and September can provide some fantastic fishing for trophy smallmouth.  Try fishing around the rocky islands in 20-25 feet of water with a plastic lure such as a Mister Twister, Fuzzy Grub, etc.  Small Rapalas can also be deadly for bass.  Favorite locations on Kabetogama include Sugarbush Island (I prefer the west side from the houseboat site south),  Cutover Island, mainly along the east side and Ship Wreck Islands.

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