Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge hosts 11th annual Fishing Challenge June 1

Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge is hosting its 11 th annual fishing tournament June 1 to raise money to help Minnesotans find freedom from addiction. Anyone from experienced anglers to amateurs are welcome to compete for prizes while fishing to save lives.

Two-person teams can compete in one of five divisions: pike, walleye, bass, panfish, or mixed bag. The top ten teams in each division will win prizes, including U.S.

and Canada resort stays, rods, reels, tackle, trolling motors, electronics, guided fishing trips

and more. Entries are limited to 150 two-person teams, allowing for 300 participants.

Participants can register now through May 31.

All proceeds from the event will help Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge save lives. Since

2009, almost $2 million has been raised to help Minnesotans find freedom from addiction.

Details are posted on fishingchallenge.org along with rules, photos, videos and an entry form.

Registration, rules meeting and dinner: 3:30-7:30 p.m. May 31 at Heritage Assembly of God, 13242 Berrywood Drive in Baxter. The tournament will be 7 a.m.-5 p.m. June 1 at Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake, 11000 Craguns Drive, Brainerd. The public is invited to the weigh-in at Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake.

2019 at 3 p.m.

The Fleet Farm Minnesota Fishing Challenge is presented by Minn Kota/Humminbird.

Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge is a drug and alcohol treatment and recovery program that has been in operation since 1983. With 11 locations throughout the state, MnTC offers a full range of services including long-term recovery and short-term intensive treatment programs as well as extensive prevention services through the organization's program, Know the Truth. Each year, Know the Truth speaks in more than 160 high schools and middle schools across the state, sharing personal stories of addiction with students to help prevent substance use.

Hunters can give input on a variety of topics

Hunters, wildlife watchers, landowners and interested groups can provide their thoughts about deer populations, proposed hunting and trapping season changes, including expanding the youth deer hunting season across the state, allowing smaller-gauged shotguns for wild turkey hunting, and various changes related to the harvest of fisher, pine marten and bobcat.

Anyone can provide input to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources through Sunday, April 21, online at mndnr.gov/input/wildlife-input.html, in writing or by email. Background information on each change is provided online. The questions are for an informal, non-representative survey of DNR stakeholders.

"Every year we consider various changes to our hunting seasons based on suggestions we receive from the public or staff, and we begin the process to evaluate potential biological or social impacts of those proposed changes," said Leslie McInenly, DNR wildlife populations program manager, said in a news release. "The survey responses will help inform us as we make future decisions on these issues."

The survey covers an expansion of the youth deer season statewide. The current season is only open for firearms hunting in 15 permit areas in northwestern Minnesota and 13 permit areas in southeastern Minnesota; however, statewide hunter survey data have indicated a preference for a statewide season.

The DNR also is seeking public input on deer populations and observations from the 2018 deer hunting season. The DNR will use this input to inform regulations for the 2019 hunting season, said Barb Keller, DNR big game program supervisor.

"Every year we consider information from a variety of sources as we look to understand deer population trends in each deer permit area," Keller said in a news release. "Local observations provide a useful comparison to the data we collect."

Information collected through the questionnaire will be combined with comments received at open houses hosted by the DNR throughout the state at the end of March and in early April. Upcoming deer season regulations will be announced mid-summer. More information is available online at mndnr.gov/deer.

For spring wild turkey hunters, a proposed action would eliminate the required lottery entrance for firearms hunters hunting in the A or B seasons. Another action would extend the fall turkey season through November.

The proposals also would: eliminate the requirement that wild turkey hunters use shotguns 20 gauge or larger; allow statewide spring wild turkey hunting except in the three permit areas composed of public hunting land (permit areas 502, 511, 512); and increase the bag limit for fall wild turkey hunting to two in the metro area (permit area 510).

For trapping seasons, the proposals would move the opening date of the fisher, marten and bobcat seasons to late December. They would also require breakaway devices on snares, which would allow accidentally caught animals to escape unharmed.

A written copy of the survey is available upon request by contacting the DNRinformation center by telephone at 888-646-6367 or by email to jason.abrahamSeason setting comments, DNR Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4007.

Bear hunt applications available; deadline is May 3

Applications for bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through Friday, May 3, wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense, and by telephone at 888-665-4236.

A total of 3,400 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The 2019 season is open from Sunday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 13.

Lottery winners will be notified by June 1. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Thursday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for the no-quota area that includes east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.

The DNR has set 2019 bear permit numbers for quota areas to allow bear population numbers to gradually increase and support a robust bear population.

Bear hunting information is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hunting/bear.

Stream trout fishing open statewide

Minnesota's popular warm weather stream trout season opened Saturday, April 13. Brook trout and splake fishing also opened on Lake Superior and its tributary streams that have no posted boundaries.

"The trout fishing opportunities are improving through investments in trout habitat, angler access, sound land use, and science-based management. Anglers help pay for this work when they buy fishing licenses and trout stamps." said Jamison Wendel, DNR stream habitat consultant, in a news release.

Minnesota has roughly 3,800 miles of designated trout streams. Its four coldwater hatcheries produce more than 1.7 million fingerlings and yearlings for stocking each year. Anglers fishing on designated trout waters must have a trout validation in addition to an angling license.

Southeastern Minnesota offers some of the best trout fishing in the upper Midwest, and the area's stream levels have returned to normal after the spring melt. Anglers can look forward to great trout fishing this year, said Ron Benjamin, Lanesboro area fisheries supervisor, with great numbers of adult fish.

"These are the good ol' days right now. It doesn't get any better than this," Benjamin said. "We encourage folks to get out and enjoy the fishing."

The southeastern part of the state has a wide variety of streams and fishing opportunities - everything from big waters with fly or bait casting, to tiny streams that require an angler to crawl through brush to access. There are even places to float a drift boat like in some western states.

"Basically any fishing opportunity somebody wants, it's here. And our populations are as good as any place in the country," Benjamin said.

Trout fishing elsewhere in Minnesota

Trout fishing excitement can be found in many other areas of the state, including in Lake Superior. Cory Goldsworthy, Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor, notes that people can fish from boats, break walls, and shore on Lake Superior, as well as in tributaries to the big lake.

"Anglers are doing really well on Lake Superior. Folks don't need a big boat to get out there, a regular sized walleye boat will do just fine. They just need to check out the nearshore marine forecast, take a backup electric motor or a kicker, and make sure they have the required Coast Guard safety equipment," Goldsworthy said.

This time of year, anglers on shore can cast spoons off the break wall in Two Harbors or in front of one of the many river mouths along the North Shore, and have a really good opportunity to catch lake trout, Goldsworthy said.

Another spring rite of passage on the North Shore is steelhead fishing. And Kamloops trout can also be caught in the French and Lester rivers, as well as at their confluences with the big lake.

In the northwestern region, trout fishing opportunities are available for large brown trout on places like the Straight River, or brook trout on Kabekona Creek.

Doug Kingsley, Park Rapids area fisheries supervisor, said fish populations look pretty typical, with good numbers and sizes of fish. Rain or more rapid melting could change things for anglers, though.

"The telling thing will be what happens between now and the opener. But water levels and clarity are good now, and it looks like it's going to be fairly dry," Kingsley said.

For Twin Cities anglers looking to stay close, Dakota County's Vermillion River offers the opportunity to catch lunker brown trout at a number of publicly accessible spots along the stream.

New for this year, there are 10 additional miles of easements, mostly in the Lanesboro area, that allow access exclusively for anglers and landowners, 66 feet from the centerline of the streams.

"Adding additional easements increases angling opportunity in many areas previously closed to the public," Wendel said.

Fishing easements and stream accesses can be found online in maps on the DNR's trout fishing page.

Complete trout season details are available at mndnr.gov/fishing. Information trout fishing, including a calendar of upcoming events, and how to access trout streams is online at mndnr.gov/fishing/trout_streams.