Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
The lingering cold weather is delaying ice-out on Minnesota lakes and rivers, which could make it difficult for DNR crews to have the 1,500 public water accesses it manages ready in time for the May 12 fishing opener. “I want Minnesotans to know that we are doing everything we can to get ready for the fishing opener,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, “but mostly what we need are warmer temperatures and sunshine.” There are approximately 3,000 public water access sites statewide, and the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division manages about half of them.
Minnesota fishing, hunting and trapping licenses for 2017 expire Wednesday, Feb. 28, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Licenses for 2018 are now available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236. All 2018 fishing licenses become effective Thursday, March 1. New licenses are required for 2017 hunting and fishing seasons that continue past Feb. 28.
First day hikes will take place at 14 Minnesota state parks on Monday, Jan. 1, as part of a nationwide effort, led by America's state parks, to promote starting the new year with fresh air and physical activity. More than 400 hikes are scheduled in all 50 states. Minnesota’s events include five daytime hikes, four snowshoe hikes, three full moon hikes. First day hikes are free. This year, for the first time, there’s an underground option too: Guided tours of the cave at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park will take place hourly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Beginning this ice fishing season, anglers using a wheelhouse type of ice or dark-house shelter are required to purchase a license to place the shelter on the ice, even when occupying it. A new definition for portable shelters has been provided in law, which states that a portable shelter is one that collapses, folds or is disassembled for transportation .
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.”
Anglers and spearers pursuing northern pike this winter can prepare for new pike regulations that will be in effect for the spring fishing opener on Minnesota’s inland waters. “Pike regulations remain the same this winter, with major changes coming this spring,” said Chris Kavanaugh, northeast region fisheries manager. “As anglers continue fishing for pike, we encourage them to get used to measuring their catches and even consider keeping some of the smaller ones in the north-central part of the state.”
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has released a public review draft of a five-year action plan for the sustainable use of groundwater in the Little Rock Creek Area, in central Minnesota, south of Little Falls. The plan and a feedback survey are available on the DNR Little Rock Creek Area webpage at www.mndnr.gov/littlerock . Comments will be accepted through Dec. 22.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will offer 17 parcels by public oral bid auctions in December. Information about each parcel and the parcel’s auction location are listed under Parcels for Sale on the DNR’s land sale webpage. Please carefully review the parcel information and Instructions for Oral Bid Auction and Terms and Conditions of Sale.
A 30-foot-tall white spruce, selected as the state’s official Christmas tree, was cut down Friday, Nov. 17 in the General C.C. Andrews State Forest, near Willow River. The tree was scheduled to be set up at the governor’s residence, 1006 Summit Ave., St. Paul, around 9 a.m., today, Monday, Nov. 20. The tree will be lit Monday, Nov. 27.
Q: What is happening with the walleye season this summer on Mille Lacs Lake? A: The closure that began July 8 and was set to end July 28 is being extended by two weeks. That means walleye fishing will reopen at 6:01 a.m. on Aug. 11 for catch-and-release only through Labor Day. A night fishing closure also will remain in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30. Q: How does this affect fishing for other species?