Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

July 22, 2002

Howard Lake now open for fishing

As of last Monday, Howard Lake is open for fishing and swimming.

However, a 300-foot no-wake zone is in effect. Boaters should be cautious of debris in the lake and note that some docks are still under water.

On Howard, no fishkill was reported, and as the water recedes, the lake should once again be a healthy and quality fishery.

The two landings on Big Waverly Lake are still closed until further notice, and on Ann and Emma the best bet is to just stay off the lakes until water levels and the lakes in general settle down a bit.

The fish kill on Lake Ann apparently was severe and the short term future of the fishery is in question.

On a final note, both forks of the Crow River are still very high and the current is fast, making the river very difficult to fish and somewhat dangerous.

Canoe race on Winsted Lake

The Winsted Summer Festival Committee is hosting its first ever canoe race on Winsted Lake as part of festival activities.

The event will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10.

The entry fee is $20 per two-person canoe, and a t-shirt for each person is included.

To register for the Tippy Canoe 2002 race, call Mike Mahoney at (320) 485-7447.

One entrant told me it should be a paddling good time.

Great time to think about conservation

If any good came out of the flooding our area received, it was the increased awareness of wetland conservation and restoration.

Many more of us now have an understanding of how important those little potholes and low spots ringed by cattails are. Just think, several years ago many of the low flooded-out spots you see today were natural wetlands that held and cleaned the water, prevented soil erosion, and provided habitat for wildlife.

Now, after the flooding in our area and other areas of the state it is clear that we need many of them back.

In the Red River Valley for example, it has got to be cheaper and more efficient to restore 100 small wetlands than it is to build 10-mile long dikes and move hundreds of homes.

If you have the opportunity or are in the position to be able to retire flood prone land or restore a wetland, call Jeff Zajac, private lands specialist for the DNR's wildlife division, at (507) 389-6297.

I know of one local landowner who has already contacted Zajac and had a meeting scheduled.

Outdoor notes

­ The dog days of summer are here. Every year, the hot days of late July and August take its toll on fishing and fishing activity. Basically, the fish just don't seem to bite, especially walleyes. The best bet right now is to fish for panfish off deep weed lines with small leeches.

­ Spring growing counts for pheasants in North Dakota have been very good and excellent pheasant hunting season this fall is expected in many parts of the state. However, if you plan on hunting in North Dakota this fall, be prepared for and expect limited access for good hunting land and limited opportunities for non-resident license purchases.

­ The mosquitoes are horrible, especially at dusk when the bugs come out in big numbers.

­ Plan your fall hunting trips now.

­ Last week the DNR announced Minnesota hunting seasons for 2002. Look for all the info in next week's column.

­ Make sure you don't blow or sweep you lawn clippings into the curb or on the street. If you do, those clippings may end up in one of our area lakes, rivers, or streams - polluting the water and adding to algae growth.

­ Make sure you dog is checked for heartworm and on a heart worm preventive medication.

­ Take a kid into the outdoors or on an outdoor adventure. He or she will have fun, and so will you.

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