Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

June 21, 2004

GND fishing contest

The annual Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days Fishing Contest is set for Saturday, June 26, on Howard Lake.

Although the contest is only a week away, it’s not too late to register and enter the contest.

The registration fee is $35 and fishing will begin with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Saturday, and run until noon.

Registration is at 7 a.m., and it all takes place from Lions Park on the south side of the lake.

For more information call Denny Decker at 320-543-2992.

Entries forms are also available at Joe’s Sport Shop and Hardware in Howard Lake.

The sunfish spawn

With the sunfish in shallow water on spawning beds, bass hitting on many lakes, the northern pike action finally starting to pick up, and some reasonably decent weather for fishing,, last week was a big week for area anglers.

For me, I finally kept an angling promise that I made a few weeks back, and got out on the lake twice last week.

It started with a few hours of afternoon fishing on Lake Ida.

Fishing alone, I managed to nab a few small bass, and find some spawning sunfish.

Ida got hot on the sunfish side around June 11, when the sunnies moved into the shallows.

Anglers fishing from the dock by the landing with angleworms found the best action.

The next day my wife and I loaded the boat, and the two kids, and headed to Lake Waconia.

On Waconia, the action was fast and furious.

On top of spawning beds in three to four feet of water, the sunfish were biting as fast as you could get a worm, or small leech, in the water.

The girls were pulling in fish like crazy, and after an hour of fishing, we had a bunch of decent, to very good, sized sunfish in the live well.

We kept the medium sized fish for eating, and released the bigger males and females.

The fishing experience was super, with the only draw backs being several tangled lines from a four and a six year old, and all kinds of pesky and biting black flies.

Adding to the angling excitement on Waconia was a fair sized muskie that followed my spinner bait right up to the boat while casting for largemouth bass.

Other reports from the area have the western bays of Lake Minnetonka giving up good sized sunfish in big numbers, Winsted still providing good panfish action, northern pike and largemouth bass hitting on Howard, small walleyes hitting on Ann, and Washington giving up fair numbers of walleyes to angler fishing at night.

Although the sunfish are in shallow water due to spawning on many of our area lakes, several anglers have indicated that when the temps cooled off late last week many of the fish moved back into deeper water.

That can make finding the bigger sunnies a bit tough.

A good method that has worked well for me, in the past, is to troll the deeper water just off the spawning areas with small leeches on small spinner rigs.

When you feel the tap, tap, tap on your line, you’ve found the sunfish.

Drop the anchor, get your bait near the bottom, and you’ll catch fish.

Minnesota to offer elk hunt in 2004

From the DNR

For the first time since 1998, Minnesota will offer an opportunity for big game hunters to harvest elk this fall.

Five elk permits will be offered through a lottery drawing in the primary elk hunt zone around Grygla.

The intent of the hunt is to reduce the elk population from the present level of 35 to the goal of 30.

One of the five permits will be for a legal antlered bull, while the remaining four permits will allow the harvest of antlerless elk only.

In Minnesota, a legal antlered bull is defined as a male animal with at least one 10-inch antler.

Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two.

A nonrefundable application fee of $10 per hunter must accompany applications.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail. They must purchase an elk license for $250. Each party will be authorized to harvest one elk.

Applications may be made on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) elk application form or an 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheet of paper.

Applications and instructions can be obtained online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/elk/index.html, at any area or regional DNR wildlife office, or by calling toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Applications submitted in writing must include the hunter’s name and address, drivers license number, Social Security number, daytime phone number and signature.

To apply, a hunter must be 16-years-old by Sept. 18.

Applications should be mailed to Elk Hunt, DNR Regional Wildlife Office, 2115 Birchmont Beach Road NE, Bemidji, MN 56601. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, July 16.

One of the five licenses will be issued in a preferential drawing to qualified landowners within the elk zone.

The drawing for this license will occur first. Unsuccessful landowner applications will then be added to the general drawing.

Four more applicants will then be selected in a general drawing for a total of five successful parties.

From this pool of five successful parties, a second drawing will take place to determine which party will receive the bull license.

The remaining parties will be issued antlerless licenses.

Alternates will be selected in case successful parties opt not to purchase their permit.

If no qualified landowners apply, all five licenses will be drawn from the general pool of applicants.

The hunt is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which means parties that choose to purchase their license will not be allowed to apply for future elk hunts.

The 2004 bull elk hunt will be held from Sept. 18-26.

The antlerless elk hunt will be held from Nov. 20-28.

All successful applicants will be required to attend an orientation session at Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area headquarters prior to the hunt.

They will be required to register at this location any elk harvested.

Some biological information relative to elk physical condition will be collected at the check station and elk will be tested for chronic wasting disease as part of Minnesota’s chronic wasting disease surveillance program.

Outdoor Notes

• Mosquitoes and black flies are out in big numbers.

Be prepared for them when you head outside, and don’t shy away from long sleeve shirts and long pants.

• Today, June 21, is the first day of summer, and the longest day of the year.

The sun will rise at 5:27 a.m. and set at 9:04 p.m.

On December 21, the shortest day of the year, the sun will rise at 7:48 a.m. and set at 4:35 p.m.

• It’s been a tough spring for nesting wildlife, especially pheasants.

Young pheasant chicks are very susceptible to cold wet weather, the kind of weather we’ve had most of the spring.

• Remember to always check your boat and gear for exotic species, specifically, Eurasian Watermilfoil, every time you land your boat.

Removing all aquatic vegetation from your boat, and gear, every time your done fishing, is the key to stopping the spread of exotic species.

• Take a kid fishing, he or she will have fun and so will you.

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