Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

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

Jan. 5, 2004

Ice fishing has been good

"Everybody has been catching some fish, but its been nothing to write home about," reported Joe Drusch of Joe's Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake.

That's kind of been the standard for ice fishing in our area so far this season.

Anglers are catching fish, but no lake, aside form maybe Buffalo, has been really hot.

Joe also reported:

Brookes Lake has been giving up sunfish, and a few big crappies.

On Howard, anglers have been catching a few walleyes and some good sized northern pike with an 11-pound pike caught last week.

Lake Ann is giving up a few crappies.

Buffalo has been hot, with anglers nabbing walleyes and crappies.

On Big Waverly, a one-pound crappie was caught last week.

Joe noted that as of late last week there were 10 to 12 inches of ice on Howard Lake.

Other reports from the area include:

Lake Augusta, where anglers were finding fast action on crappies.

A good walleye bite on Minnebelle, and Lake Waconia is giving up small sunfish and a few walleyes.

At this time of year, anglers should remember that it takes 12 to 14 inches of good ice for vehicle traffic.

For me, the best news is coming from Lake Ann and from Silver Lake.

Lake Ann is again providing some angling opportunities after a fish kill just a few years ago.

And thanks to the DNR's walleye rearing program in Silver Lake, the lake is providing an excellent walleye fishing opportunity this winter.

Snowmobile classes to be offered

A youth and young adult snowmobile safety course will be offered by the Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club and Carver County Sheriff's Office.

Registration for the LP Sportsmen's Club class will be Wednesday, Jan. 7 from 6 to 6:30 p.m., and the first class from 6:30 to8:30 p.m.

Class will also take place Wednesdays, Jan. 14 and 21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a written and driving test Saturday, Jan. 24.

All residents of Minnesota born after Dec. 31, 1976 must have a snowmobile safety certificate to operate a snowmobile anywhere in Minnesota. The class is for youth or young adults ages 12 and older.

The fee of the class is $6 for the cost of materials and mailings. A parent/guardian signature is required at registration.

For more information, call Sheldon Ehrke at (320) 395-2344.

The Carver County Sheriff's office will conduct a youth class at Cologne public works headquarters Monday, Jan. 5, Wednesday, Jan. 7, Friday, Jan. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 10 for one hour.

To register, or for more information call (952) 361-1305. Cost of the class is $5. More information may be found at the DNR web site: www. dnr.state.mn.us.

Prairie Archers pork chop dinner

A Pork Chop Dinner will be hosted by the Prairie Archers, Saturday, Jan. 10 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Porthole in Lester Prairie.

Pork chops, baked potatoes, salad, and dessert will be served.

Advance tickets are available at Big Dons, Garbers' Meats, and the Porthole.

There will be door prizes awarded.

Pheasants Forever corn give away

The Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever will have a corn giveaway for pheasants and wildlife Saturday, Jan. 17.

The giveaway will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Lampi's Auction located at Hwy. 55 and Wright County road 6.

Please bring your own containers.

Quantities may be limited due to demand.

For additional information, please call (320) 274-CORN (2676).

Opening hunting dates set for 2004

From the DNR

Opening dates for many of the 2004 Minnesota hunting seasons were announced this week by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The dates are being announced now for the benefit of those who must establish vacation or hunting plans well in advance.

Although these dates are tentative, pending final approval in June, it is unlikely they will change.

SMALL GAME:

General small game, including grouse, gray partridge, rabbits and squirrels ­ Sept. 18

Pheasant ­ Oct. 16

Prairie chicken opener ­ Oct. 23

Spring wild turkey (first season) ­ April 14

Fall wild turkey (first season) ­ Oct. 13

BIG GAME:

Bear ­ Sept. 1

Deer (archery) ­ Sept. 18

Deer (firearms) ­ Nov. 6

Deer (muzzleloader) ­ Nov. 27

Moose (northeast zone) ­ Oct. 2

FURBEARERS:

Fox, raccoon, badger, and opossum ­ TBA

Mink, muskrat, beaver, and otter (North Zone) ­ Oct. 23

Mink, muskrat, beaver, and otter (South Zone) ­ Oct. 30

Fisher, marten, and bobcat ­ Nov. 27

MIGRATORY BIRDS:

Early Canada goose ­ Sept. 4

Youth Waterfowl Day ­ TBA

General duck and goose ­ TBA

Rails, snipe ­ Sept. 1

Woodcock ­ Sept. 25

Crow ­ March 1-31; and July 15 - Oct. 15

The waterfowl season opener will not be finalized until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishes proposed migratory bird hunting frameworks this summer.

The DNR is also proposing a rule change to re-establish partial closed seasons on red fox and raccoon during the spring and summer, and to standardize those seasons with badger and opossum.

Additional details on the proposed rule will be announced in early 2004.

The DNR will be taking comments on wildlife hunting and trapping seasons and proposed season changes during February and March.

Details on proposed season changes and meeting dates will be announced in late January.

Additional details on season lengths, quotas and bag limits will be announced next summer, after the 2004 seasons are finalized.

Outdoor notes

­ With very cold weather in the forecast, take some time to check your dog for signs of frost bite and other irritations caused by cold weather. Pay special attention to paws, belly, nose and ears.

­ Don't forget about new limits for sunfish and crappie. Although the new limits were instituted this summer, some anglers may need a reminder. The new limit for sunfish is 20 and for crappie 10.

­ Please note area lakes like Winsted, that are typically aerated every year. Aerations systems are not in operation yet, but will be very soon.

­The Lester Prairie Sportsmen's Club will meet tonight, at 7 p.m., at the club house.

­ Take some time to get out and enjoy winter. Participating in it makes it go by a lot faster.

­ The Winter Archery League will start the week of Jan. 5., at the Prairie Archers Club in Lester Prairie. For information call (320) 395-2721.

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