A bill passed during the 2013 legislative session has repealed the spearing restrictions on 12 Minnesota lakes including Deer, Moose, North Star and Spider lakes in Itasca County. The lakes are open to darkhouse spearing effective today, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“It was a common practice in the 1960s and early 70s to prohibit spearing on waters managed for muskies,” said Chris Kavanaugh, Department of Natural Resources area fisheries supervisor. “At one time there were a number of lakes in Itasca County that had spearing bans. Now there are none.”
Spearing of muskellunge is still illegal in Minnesota waters. Those participating in spearing activities are responsible for properly identifying fish before spearing them.
Recent DNR gill net data show 0.3 northern pike per net in Deer, 1.8 per net in North Star, 2.9 per net in Moose, and 9.1 per net in Spider. When compared to the northern pike abundance in other similar waters, Deer, North Star and Moose are relatively low, while Spider Lake is considered high.
There are special regulations still in effect for northern pike on North Star and Spider lakes. These lakes have a 24- to 36-inch protected slot for northern pike. These protected slots prohibit the harvest of any fish within the slot, regardless of the method used to take fish.
All other regulations related to spearing, angling and shelters will apply on these waters.
For more information, contact DNR area fisheries office at 218-327-4430, by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/grandrapids/index.html.
An employee of Sportsman’s Lodge at Baudette walks across new ice on Lake of the Woods. (Sportsman’s Lodge photo)
Sportsman’s Lodge at Baudette on Lake of the Woods sent along this photo of a man walking across the ice of the lake on Tuesday. The ice is so clear and dark that is almost appears to be water. In its weekly update on Wednesday, the lodge reported 4 to 7 inches of ice on Four Mile Bay and 4 to 6 inches on the lake just outside of Pine Island. In the northern areas near Oak Island and the Northwest Angle, 2 to 4 inches were reported.
“As soon as we get 10 to 12 inches of ice in the areas we travel and fish, we start the season,” the report stated.
Preliminary totals show that the Minnesota deer harvest was down 17 percent in Series 100 units, which includes all of Northeastern Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources officials said Wednesday.
The harvest in Series 100 units was 48,679, which compares to 58,466 in 2012, said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR regional wildlife manager at Grand Rapids. The buck harvest was down 12 percent, and the antlerless deer harvest was down 23 percent, Lightfoot said.
The antlerless harveset was expected to be down significantly. The DNR had issued fewer antlerless permits this fall in hopes of increasing the deer population in coming years.
Statewide, hunters harvested 140,366 deer, down 6 percent from last year, Lightfoot said.
Wolf hunting is now closed in Minnesota’s Northeast Wolf Zone, where 31 wolves have been taken. The zone’s target harvest was 33, and a zone is closed when that target is reached or is expected to be reached in the next day. The zone was closed Sunday.
Wolf hunting continues in Northwest Wolf Zone, where the target harvest is 73. As of Friday, 50 wolves had been taken.
A late hunting and trapping season for wolves will begin Nov. 30 and run through Jan. 31 or until target harvest quotas are reached. Any leftover licenses for the late hunting and trapping season will go on sale at license agents on Wednesday . The number of leftover licenses won’t be known until Monday.
The overall target harvest quota for wolves in Minnesota this fall is 220, down from 400 last year, when 413 wolves were harvested.
Minnesota’s early season wolf hunters have taken 61 wolves so far. Twenty-two of them had been taken in the Northeast Wolf Zone, where the target harvest is 33. In the Northwest Wolf Zone, hunters had taken 39 wolves, and the target harvest is 73.
The early-season wolf hunt ends Nov. 24 in Series 100 deer permit areas and Sunday in Series 200 permit areas.
A late-season wolf hunting and trapping season in Minnesota opens Nov. 30 and runs through Jan. 31 or until target harvest quotas are reached.
Wisconsin hunters and trappers had taken a total of 206 wolves from a quota of 251 as of Thursday. Only Zone 3 of Wisconsin’s six wolf zones remained open. Harvest quotas have been reached in all other zones.
The number of deer taken in Duluth’s city bow hunt this fall continues to run well behind that of previous years. As of this week, 299 deer had been taken in the hunt, which began Sept. 14 and continues through Dec. 31. In the past five years of the hunt, hunters had taken an average of 449 deer by the same time. This year’s harvest to date is down 35 percent the 2012 harvest, when 460 deer had been taken in the same period.
Hunters have said they’re seeing fewer deer and that the city’s deer have become warier than in previous years. In past years, the total harvest in the hunt has ranged from about 560 to 600 per year.
Don Pereira, a 30-year fisheries research and management veteran, has been selected as the new fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the agency announced Thursday. He will assume that position on Wednesday.
Pereira, a Cottage Grove, Minn. resident, has been the DNR’s fisheries research and policy manager since 2007. In addition to managing the agencies fisheries research functions, he has played a key role in policy and management issues including cormorants at Leech Lake and a number of large-lake management challenges. He has been a leader for improving public engagement and application of social data to fisheries management.
Pereira is a graduate of the University of Vermont and has advanced degrees in fisheries from the University of Minnesota. He is the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and technical reports. He replaces Dirk Peterson, who retired in October.
Marine General Supply in Duluth will hold its annual Bike Drive and Ice-Fishing Kick-Off event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the store, 1501 London Road. Store employees will deep-fry 55 turkeys and serve turkey sandwiches throughout the day. The event showcases ice-fishing gear and serves as a way to collect donations for bicycles that the shop gives to the Salvation Army for distribution at the holidays. The event is free.
Bob Rogers of Marine General started the bike drive five years ago as a way to pay back the generosity that he and his family received when he was a kid in Superior.
“We had hand-me-down bikes that the Fire Department fixed up for us,” Rogers said.
Last year, Rogers and Marine General collected $4,600 for bicycles, he said. Rogers buys the bikes for $25 to $150 each from local stores. They’re assembled by employees at London Road Car Wash and Miller Hill Subaru in Duluth, then donated to the Salvation Army. Last year, Marine General donated 135 bikes, Rogers said. Over the past four years, the firm has donated more than 500 bikes, Rogers said.
Donations are tax deductible and can be made through Christmas at Marine General, London Road Car Wash and London Road Rental.
Adventurers and educators Dave and Amy Freeman of Grand Marais have been named one of 10 finalists in National Geographic’s “Adventurers of the Year 2014” competition. They are among a group that includes climbers, a surfer, explorers and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. In April, the Freemans completed an 11,000-mile, three-year kayak, canoe, hiking and dogsledding expedition across North America. Through a website called the Wilderness Classroom, they reached 85,000 school children along the way.
The public can vote to select a People’s Choice National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year here. Voting will continue through Jan. 31.