Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

March 26, 2001

People area concerned about conservation

It's nice to know that people in our area are concerned about conservation and the future of our natural resources and wildlife populations.

People in the area, especially those who read this column in the newspapers or online, are concerned about Winsted Lake, the Crow River, Lake Ann, our local pheasant population, new habitat and wildlife areas, and many more of the diverse resources that are immediately available to us and affect our lives every day.

Although family responsibilities, other civic causes, and many other job responsibilities in an ever-changing industry and market don't allow me to put the time into this column that I would like, I am very pleased with the response that is received.

Every week, I get calls, e-mails, and comments about the column and local conservation issues. Those people who take the time to respond are very appreciative of my efforts and are truly concerned about local outdoor issues and the conservation of our natural resources.

In response to their comments, I can say this: Since I began writing this column in 1992, this area - through individual effort, local clubs, local levels of government, the DNR, other levels of government, and landowners - has made tremendous strides in the development of wildlife habitat, improving our local lakes and rivers, and the general conservation and enhancement of our natural resources.

Challenges are still immense, but there has been success. The demand alone on our local levels of government is tremendous. Elected members and officials must know the regulations and procedures, and make sure they are followed and enforced in an area that is growing and steadily changing from very rural to somewhat suburban.

The DNR must deal with accomplishing more with less staff and fewer dollars. Landowners or farmers are asked to conserve and participate in programs in a time when they need to find any possible source of revenue from their land that they can.

Finally, local and much larger conservation organizations, along with local governments, fight to gain participation and help from a society where people do not want to participate, are quick to blame someone else, and are slow to help in the effort.

We can proudly say, even with all these roadblocks and difficulties, we have been and continue to be successful in enhancing and conserving our natural resources.

In next week's column, look for info on a new wildlife habitat in the Lester Prairie area and some good news from the Ann Lake Watershed Association.

New fishing regulations set for upcoming 2001 season

From the DNR

Minnesota anglers need to be aware that new fishing regulations have been adopted for the 2001 fishing season. New sturgeon regulations will be in place on the Minnesota-Canadian border waters and the walleye slot limit on Rainy Lake has been changed. Another 16 lakes around Minnesota also have new regulations. These regulations are identified on the front page and within the text of the 2001 Minnesota Fishing Regulations synopsis, which is handed out when anglers buy their new license.

On the Minnesota-Canadian border waters, the sturgeon season will run from July 1- April 30. Anglers will be required to immediately release all sturgeon less than 45 inches and larger than 55 inches, and only one fish will be allowed per license year. This regulation is designed to reduce harvest levels on the Minnesota-Ontario boundary waters and help enhance the recovery of this species. The sturgeon stocks in these waters are currently recovering from decades of low abundance due to over harvest and loss of habitat. Increased interest and rapidly expanding fishing pressure directed at sturgeon have resulted in harvest levels that are too high to support the recovery of this species.

On Rainy Lake and connected waters in Koochiching and St. Louis counties, the slot limit for walleye has been changed. Anglers will need to immediately release all walleye from 17 inches to 28 inches and can only possess one walleye over 28 inches.

Anglers should also be on the lookout for changes for those lakes within the 1837 Ceded Territory. Some of the lakes within the ceded territory are identified in the fishing regulations booklet with a "T." The current regulations for these lakes are listed, but the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) may need to alter them in order to ensure that the total harvest on these lakes stays at a safe level. If new regulations are needed, they will be announced in newspapers and on the DNR Web site and posted at public access sites on those affected lakes.

Other lakes with new regulations: ·Annie Battle Lake inlets and outlets - Otter Tail County: Sunfish daily and possession limit of five. Northern pike and largemouth bass are catch and release only.

·Bass Lake - Itasca County: Sunfish daily and possession limit of five.

·Bear Creek Reservoir - Olmsted County: Bluegill daily and possession limit of 10. From Nov. 1 - April 30 a minimum size limit of 7 inches is also in effect.

·Crooked Lake - Anoka County: Largemouth bass are catch and release only.

·Demontreville Lake - Washington County: Largemouth bass are catch and release only.

·Grave Lake - Itasca County: Sunfish daily and possession limit of five.

·Green Lake - Kandiyohi County: Largemouth and smallmouth bass that are 14 inches or larger must be immediately released.

·Moody Lake - Crow Wing County: Closed to fishing. ·Mountain Lake - Cottonwood County: Walleye, largemouth bass, crappie, perch and northern pike are catch and release only.

·Olson Lake - Washington County: Largemouth bass are catch and release only.

·Rachel Lake, Little - Douglas County: Northern pike 24 inches and larger must be immediately released.

Outdoor notes

- Winsted Sportsmen's Club annual He and She Mixer will be Friday, April 6 at 8 p.m. at the Blue Note in Winsted. Tickets are available from club members and at the door.

­ Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club opens for practice trapshooting Wednesday, April 4 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. League shooting starts Wednesday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m.

­ Spring officially begins Tuesday, March 20.

­ Anyone interested in becoming a Crow River stream monitor should contact Jenny Lee of the Crow River Organization of Waters at (763) 682-1933.

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