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Outdoor Notes: Angler ties his own record with gigantic flathead catfish

This bighead carp was taken by a bow angler near Redwood Falls. It's the biggest recorded in Minnesota, 61.7 pounds. Submitted photo

Angler ties his own state record for flathead catfish

An angler tied his own state record fish in the catch-and-release length category with a 49-inch flathead catfish, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Jake Robinson of Shakopee caught and released the new record flathead catfish May 15 on the Minnesota River near Savage. He caught the 49-inch fish on 100-pound test line. It had a girth of 33-1/2 inches, identical to his previous record caught on June 7, 2016. Because of different markings, they appeared to be two distinct fish.

Robinson, an experienced catfish angler, has some advice for those targeting flathead catfish.

"I have 11 years of targeting flathead cats and suggest to new anglers to stay on the move every 20 minutes if you don't get a bite," Robinson said.

There are two kinds of Minnesota state records: one for catching and keeping the biggest fish in each species based on certified weight; and the other for the length of a caught and released muskellunge, lake sturgeon or flathead catfish.

Mike Kurre, the DNR's mentoring program coordinator, recommends anglers become familiar with the record-fish guidelines and be ready to take the required photos and go through the correct procedures for submitting a record—especially when equipped with the fishing tackle and on waters where they might catch record fish.

The DNR announces new state records in news releases, on social media and on the DNR website. Find current records and guidelines for each type of state record at mndnr.gov/recordfish.

Bighead carp captured by bow angler and reported to DNR

A bow angler fishing in a private gravel pit near Redwood Falls Sunday caught the largest invasive carp recorded in Minnesota.

The bighead carp measured 47.5 inches in length and weighed 61.7 pounds.

Invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer said the angler immediately reported the capture to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and was helpful getting the specimen delivered to the area fisheries office.

"The news of this capture is somewhat alarming, given the size and location," Frohnauer said. "This bighead carp was captured about 80 miles upstream from the only other bighead carp captured in the Minnesota River."

The fish likely entered the gravel pit during a period of high water. The pit is within the Minnesota River floodplain and periodically becomes connected during flood flows. When floodplain lakes become connected to the river, fish move into these areas to escape the high water velocities in the main river and exploit new food sources.

The DNR invasive carp field crew is working with the local fisheries office and the landowner to conduct follow-up sampling. The crew will also look at sampling areas near the location, including floodplain lakes and the main river.

The DNR is concerned about the potential impacts of invasive carp in the Minnesota River and other waters. The agency is working with other state and federal agencies, conservation groups, university researchers and commercial businesses to prevent the spread of invasive carp.

• The DNR has contracted with the Water Resources Center at Minnesota State University — Mankato to provide information to guide DNR management decisions for the Minnesota River.

• The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota has funding through the DNR to evaluate potential deterrents for Mississippi River Locks and Dams. Through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, they have installed acoustic speakers at Lock 8 in southeastern Minnesota and modeled flows through the gates at Dams 2, near Hastings, and 8.

• The DNR is in the process of awarding a contract to explore the feasibility of installing an acoustic deterrent system at Lock and Dam 5 in southeastern Minnesota. A deterrent system at this location would help prevent fish from moving into both the Minnesota and St. Croix rivers.

Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes. While no breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters, individual fish have been caught in the Mississippi near the Twin Cities, the St. Croix River and the Minnesota River.

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call 651-587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. Take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official.

More information about invasive carp is available at mndnr.gov/invasivecarp.

Wealthwood Rod & Gun Club seeks shooters for summer league

Those looking to improve their gun skills can join the Wealthwood Rod & Gun Club for the summer leagues starting June 23.

Gather friends for a full team or join a team needing another shooter.

Wealthwood offers three trap houses, skeet, sporting clays, a rifle range out to 300 yards, and a new pistol-only range. The club is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization serving residents in a five-county area. The organization is open to the public and memberships are also available.

Wealthwood is located 5 miles north of Garrison, on Highway 18 near the north side of Mille Lacs Lake.

Summer hours are:

• Wednesday and Friday 1-8 p.m.,

• Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.,

• Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,

• Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit the website www.wealthwoodgunclub.org or call 218-678-2281 for more information.

Birding opportunities abound this month

Want to add some birds to your list? Check out one or more of these upcoming bird watching opportunities across the state.

June 17-18, Wabasha

Bald Eagle Days: Celebrating the Road to Recovery

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the bald eagle's removal from the Endangered Species List. Highlights include special programs, an educational live eagle demonstration and wild eagle viewing from the observation deck. Also enjoy pontoon rides on June 17. National Eagle Center. Call 651-565-4989 for more information.

June 17, 24 in Ely

Birding at Bear Head

Enjoy a guided walk to listen and look for the variety of bird species. A limited number of binoculars will be available for free checkout, or bring your own. Dress for the weather; insect repellent is recommended. Bear Head Lake State Park. Call 218-235-2520 for more information.

June 23, Hastings

Bird Banding

Bird banders welcome people to see songbirds up close and learn about the birds who share the ecosystem. Banding runs continuously for three and one half hours, and visitors may come and go at any time. Visitors are advised to call ahead and let the group know they'll be attending. Donations of bird seed or suet are greatly appreciated. Carpenter Nature Center. Call 651-437-4359 for more information.

June 25, St. Paul

Introduction to Birds, Books, and Binoculars

Join a park naturalist for a birding hike after learning how to use a field guide and binoculars. Equipment provided. Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Registration required. Fort Snelling State Park. Call 612-725-2724 for more information.

Meeting on Mississippi Headwaters water quality scheduled for June 20

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency scheduled a public informational meeting to present water quality studies on Lake Irving and Little Turtle Lake in Beltrami County, and to provide updates regarding ongoing water quality projects in the Mississippi River-Headwaters watershed. The meeting will be at 6 p.m., June 20, at Bemidji City Hall. Results of water quality monitoring, status of waters in need of restoration, and strategies to protect waters that are in good shape will be discussed.

For questions about this project or the public meeting, contact MPCA Watershed Project Manager Phil Votruba at 218-316-3901. More information on the WRAPS process can also be found on the Mississippi River-Headwaters watershed web page.

DNR invites input on plan for Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will host an open house June 20 to provide information about possible changes to the master plan for the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area in Gilbert.

Drop in anytime between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to ask questions and submit comments at the recreation area's training center, 7196 Pettit Road, Gilbert.

The Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area was designated in 1996 as Minnesota's first recreation area catering primarily to off-highway vehicle enthusiasts. Originally a 1,200-acre site, it expanded to over 3,700 acres in 1999. It includes 36 miles of trails for all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and off-highway vehicles.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is in the process of rerouting U.S. Highway 53 near the state recreation area to accommodate mining. This reroute gives the DNR the opportunity to provide additional access to the Virginia expansion site. Because this is different than what is currently in the master plan, the DNR must amend the plan. The DNR has also identified several other areas within the master plan that it would like to amend. Information about the proposed changes is available:

• At the Gilbert City Hall, 16 South Broadway, Gilbert,

• At the Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area office, 7196 Pettit Road, Gilbert,

• By contacting Allan Larsen, Iron Range OHV recreation area site manager, allan.larsen@state.mn.us or 218-735-3833.

Anyone unable to attend the open house can submit written comments by email to joe.unger@state.mn.us or by mail to Joe Unger, DNR Parks and Trails at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4039. The DNR will accept written comments through July 5.

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