The Brainerd Warrior fishing team defeated the Pequot Lake Patriots fishing team Sept. 8 by a total weight of 64.7 pounds to 63.3 pounds. The event took the top three weights from the high school competitors (ninth-12th grade) for each team, and then took the top three weights from the junior teams (sixth-eighth grades). The high schoolers weighed in first, Pequot had a commanding lead of over 8 pounds and took all of the top three spots. Then came in the juniors, the Brainerd juniors not only erased the deficit but ending up having enough weight to overtake the lead and win the tournament.

Over 80 young anglers participated in the tournament held on the Whitefish Chain of Lakes. There is a traveling trophy that goes between the teams and it will stay with Brainerd for the second year in a row.

“This is a great event with some friendly competition, our anglers look forward to it every year,” said Jason Bahr, coach of the Brainerd team.

Added Pequot coach Tim Bray: “It was a really close competition and that’s exactly what we were looking for.”

Moonlite bay in Cross Lake hosted the event, the Power Lodge and Lund boats provided prizes for the youth anglers.

The next event for the Brainerd Warrior fishing team was the Student Angler Tournament Trail team championship Sept. 14-15 on Lake Pokegama near Grand Rapids. The six anglers competing for Brainerd were senior Jay Young, senior Kyle Bahr, junior Troy Peterson, junior Tyler Bahr, junior Cole Larkin and junior Blair Erickson.

Three Brainerd Warrior anglers are headed to the adult TBF regionals Sept. 21-22 on Pool 8 in LaCrosse Wis. All three anglers competed in the MN TBF state championship and the top 12 co-anglers from Minnesota advanced to the regionals which includes anglers from Wisconsin. Kyle Bahr had a six fish total weight of 18.85 pounds at state to take first place, Troy Peterson had a total weight of 15.75 pounds, good enough for eighth place and Tyler Bahr rounded off the team with 11th place and a weight of 14.34 pounds. This is the first time Brainerd is sending three anglers to the adult regional championship, all three will be competing as co-anglers, hoping for a chance to qualify for the nationals.

DNR seeks comments on northern pike regulations for Mitchell Lake, Crow Wing County

Anglers and others interested in proposed changes to northern pike regulations on Mitchell Lake, north of Fifty Lakes in Crow Wing County, are invited to attend an open house hosted by the Department of Natural Resources.

The first open house will be on Sept. 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Brainerd DNR Office, 1601 Minnesota Drive. The second open house will be on Sept. 25 from 6-8 p.m. at the DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul. No formal presentation will be made at the open houses but fisheries staff will be on hand to provide background information, answer questions, and take public input.

The current northern pike regulation on Mitchell Lake was put in place in 2003 and requires a 40-inch minimum length with a possession limit of one fish. This existing regulation, along with an increase in the number of fish that have survived from hatch to catchable size, have resulted in an overall increase in northern pike across a range of sizes. The proposed regulation is a 24- to 36-inch protected slot limit and with a possession limit of three fish with only one over 36 inches allowed.

This regulation would allow harvest of smaller northern pike while protecting medium to large pike that are present in Mitchell, but are rare in other waterbodies in the area.

“This proposed 24- to 36-inch protected slot regulation has been successful in the Mission and Rabbit lakes in Crow Wing County,” said Marc Bacigalupi, DNR Brainerd area fisheries supervisor. “We look forward to talking with anglers about their experiences on Mitchell Lake. These public meetings provide an opportunity to exchange information and give us input that may not be represented in our lake surveys.”

Comments on this regulation can also be mailed to Marc Bacigalupi, area fisheries supervisor, DNR Brainerd area fisheries, 1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd, MN 56401, or sent by email to brainerd.fisheries@state.mn.us. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 4.

Inaugural statewide youth deer season opens Oct. 17

Minnesota offers mentors an ideal way to share hunting knowledge and traditions with youth ages 10-17 during its inaugural statewide youth deer season.

The four-day season begins Thursday, Oct. 17, and concludes Sunday, Oct. 20. It coincides with statewide teacher workshops, so many Minnesota students don’t have school during the youth season’s first two days.

“This is a hunting season just for kids,” said Barb Keller, big game program leader for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “It’s a chance for parents, relatives and trusted adults to discover, explore and practice hunting with youth in Minnesota’s fields and forests.”

Minnesota’s youth deer season began in 2004 in northwestern Minnesota. Over the years, it expanded to 28 deer permit areas in parts of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area where deer were most abundant.

A 2018 statewide survey of hunters showed support for a statewide youth deer season. Deer management interest groups supported the concept, too.

Typically, temperatures in the middle of October are warmer than those during the regular November firearm deer season, snow has yet to set in for winter, and deer are moving more during the daylight hours. Those factors create an ideal opportunity for youth deer hunters.

To participate, youth must be 10-17 years old and have a deer license. An adult parent, guardian, or mentor must accompany youth ages 10-13. All youth hunters and mentors must follow blaze orange/pink clothing requirements. Adults may not hunt, unless they are in an area open during the early antlerless season.

Complete youth season details are available on the DNR website on the youth deer hunting page.

“Hunting is a pathway for understanding nature, supporting sound natural resource management and becoming a conservation advocate,” Keller said. “Creating this opportunity is one of the ways the DNR is working to preserve Minnesota’s hunting heritage.”