Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz

Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake Herald, Minn.

February 16, 1998

Ice fishing season extended

A bill passed by the house and senate and signed by the governor last week officially extended the 1997 ice fishing season for walleye and other sportfish through midnight Sunday, March 1.

Fish houses in the southern two-thirds of the state must be off the ice by midnight March 1. The new legislation changed this date from Feb. 28.

In northern portions of the state fish houses must be off the ice by midnight, March 15.

There are exceptions and other dates apply for border waters. For details, refer to page 35 of the 1997 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Handbook.

The new legislation did not change those dates.

For the most part, the extension of the fishing season will not affect anglers, resort owners, or bait shops in our area very much.

However, it will give resort owners and bait shop owners on lakes like Mille Lacs and Winnie a chance to recoup losses they suffered earlier this season when anglers were not showing up to fish because of poor ice conditions.

Reports from the northern Minnesota lakes say that ice conditions are good, with easy travel and no slush on the ice at this time. Also, local anglers heading to Mille Lacs have reported a decent bite on walleye and perch and plan on taking full advantage of the extension by pursuing late February walleyes on the big lake.

In our area anglers heading to lakes like Ann, Howard, Buffalo, Washington, and Waconia may be able to take advantage of the extension and nab a few walleyes in late February.

Who knows? If the weather stays warm, maybe the walleye bite will pick up like the sunfish bite typically does.

Radtke's Bait and Tackle near Winsted reported anglers heading to Whaletail Lake near St. Boni have been landing a few nice northern pike. Along with Whaletail, anglers heading to Winsted and Howard may be able to take advantage of the extension to the season and pull up a few lunker northern pike in late February.

1998 Minnesota fish, wildlife licenses go on sale soon

Minnesota's 1998 fish and wildlife licenses will go on sale the last week in February, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The 1997 licenses are current through the last day of February 1998. The 1998 license year will begin March 1 and continue through Feb. 28, 1999, according to Karen Beckman, DNR License Bureau assistant administrator.

"We want to stress the point that the game and fish license year starts on March 1 each year, not Jan. 1," Beckman said. "There's always a little bit of confusion surrounding that point."

All 1998 fishing, shelter, small game and trapping licenses will be available from agents throughout Minnesota in late February. Big game licenses for the 1998 fall season will be available later this year.

Fees for all types of recreational and commercial angling licenses have been increased for 1998, as approved by the 1997 Minnesota Legislature.

Minnesota fish and wildlife licenses are sold at the DNR License Bureau, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4026, as well as at county auditors' offices and more than 3,000 private businesses statewide. For locations of nearby agents, contact the local county auditor's office.

According to the DNR, in the southern 2/3's of the state your 1997 angling license is good through the March 1 extension of the 1997 season if you're fishing in an ice house with your name on it. Otherwise you will need a 1998 license to fish on March 1.

In the northern third of the state, where houses don't have to be off, the lakes until March 15, a new 1998 license is required to fish on March 1.

Outdoor notes

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