Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

April 18, 2005

Nothing better than spring fishing

Sometimes there isn’t anything better in life than hitting a local lake in search of spring crappies.

It’s great to have the boat out and be on the water again.

The Twins game is playing on the radio, the sun is feeling warm, and, more often than not on many lakes in our area, the pan fish, mostly crappies, are biting.

My favorite is to hit a shallow bay, or flat area, like the north end of Lake Mary, the west side of Big Waverly, or Winsted Lake near the creamery, and cast a white Beetle Spin into the shallow water.

If I’m lucky, and the timing is right, the crappies will jump all over the Beetle Spin, and the fishing will be super.

For me, that’s when spring crappie fishing is the most fun. The crappies hit hard, and the action is fast.

Another method that works well is to drift with a tube jig, or Twister Tail tipped with a minnow across the flats, or shallow bays.

When the water is still cold, and the crappies are sluggish, this can be the trick to nabbing a limit.

My final approach involves a good, old-fashioned hook and bobber set up with a worm or minnow.

Other lakes in our area like Swan, Waconia, Dog, Howard, Parley, Dutch, Henry, Ida, and Collinwood provide excellent spring crappie fishing.

At this time of year, the weeds are still in check, bait fish are heading to shallow water, and the fishing can be easy.

Last year, many anglers in our area reported some of the best spring fishing for pan fish they had ever experienced. Hopefully, this year it will be the same.

The daily and possession limit for crappies in Minnesota is 10.

Now is the time to give it a try, the walleye season doesn’t open until May 14.

Ten free shade trees

Ten free shade trees will be given to each person who joins The National Arbor Day Foundation during April 2005 as part of the nonprofit foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

The 10 shade trees are Red Oak, Sugar Maple, Weeping Willow, Green Ash, Thornless Honeylocust, Pine Oak, River Birch, Tuliptree, Silver Maple, and Red Maple.

“These trees were selected to provide shade and beauty, and a variety of forms, leaf shapes, and beautiful fall colors,” John Rosenow, the foundation’s president, said.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting in April or May with enclosed planting instructions.

The six-to-12 inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge.

To become a member of the foundation and receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to Ten Free Shade Trees, National Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by April 30, 2005. Or go online to

DNR non-game wildlife poster photo contest underway

From the DNR

The third Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Non-game Wildlife Checkoff photo contest is underway.

DNR officials are asking Minnesota resident amateur and professional photographers to submit photos featuring live ospreys in the wild by the June 17 deadline.

Winning photos from the contest will be featured in the 2005 Non-game Wildlife Checkoff Poster, said Carrol Henderson, DNR Non-game Wildlife Program supervisor.

The poster which helps promote donations to the Non-game Wildlife Program, is available free to people who donate to the Wildlife Checkoff Fund on their Minnesota state tax forms.

Photographers may submit up to 12 original slides taken in Minnesota.

Photos chosen to be included in the 2005 poster will be published with photo credit.

Contest winners will receive a framed copy of the poster featuring the winning photo, along with a choice of a complimentary copy of the best selling CD “Restore Your Shore” or a copy of the award winning book “Landscaping for Wildlife,” both published by the DNR Non-game Wildlife Program.

Entry forms and contest rules may be obtained from the DNR Information Center by calling (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367), or by visiting the DNR Web site at

DNR to host duck input meetings April 28
From the DNR

Duck hunters who want to provide input on this fall’s duck season regulations and learn more about state habitat issues are invited to Department of Natural Resources (DNR) meetings at 18 locations around the state Thursday, April 28 from 7-9 p.m.

“The meetings are designed to do two things,” said John Guenther, director of the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division. “First, we want to know the pulse of the public on bag limits, season length, zones and split-seasons, spinning-wing decoys, the youth waterfowl hunt and various waterfowl regulation options, including over-the-water Canada goose hunting in the early seasons. Second, we want to share our information on habitat, populations and regulations so that those who attend have a deeper understanding of the issues and what needs to occur to make a difference.”

The DNR is developing a comprehensive duck recovery plan. Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various conservation organizations have agreed to help develop the final plan by December. Citizens will have an opportunity to discuss elements of the plan at the meetings.

“There’s a lot of energy around wetlands, waterfowl and clean water right now,” said Guenther. “These meetings are one way the DNR can help sustain that energy and perhaps even build more. And that’s important because, despite all of the work that we and our conservation partners accomplish, it is not enough.”

Guenther said in a typical year the DNR adds some 3,000 acres to its wildlife management area system, restores 50 to 100 wetlands, plants 10,000 to 20,000 acres of grasslands, manages 250 shallow lakes and conducts numerous research projects, including placing leg bands on nearly 10,000 ducks and geese.

“Good things are happening every day, but they are offset by so many other things on the local, national and international level that are detrimental to the quality or quantity of our wetlands, nesting cover and other duck needs,” Guenther said.

The local meeting will be in Hutchinson, at Ridgewater College, in the auditorium.

2004 Minnesota deer harvest is the second highest on record
From the DNR

Minnesota hunters harvested more than 260,600 deer during 2004, the second highest deer harvest ever recorded, according to final numbers announced today by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Firearms hunters harvested 230,500 deer while archery and muzzleloader hunters harvested 20,750 and 9,300 deer, respectively. The record deer harvest of 290,000 was set in 2003.

“The harvest was close to what we predicted and on target in terms of making every effort to manage the herd at responsible levels,” said Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator. “We’re pleased that hunters continue to step and harvest deer.”

Cornicelli credits high deer harvests in the past two years to high deer populations, abundant hunting opportunities and regulation changes that made it easier to obtain permits to harvest antlerless deer.

In 2003, regulations were changed to allow hunters to harvest antlerless deer in most of the state without applying for a permit.

This past year, hunters were given the opportunity to harvest antlerless deer throughout their zone where bonus permits were authorized.

Given this year’s mild winter weather in much of the state, DNR wildlife officials expect ample deer harvest opportunities for hunters again this fall.

“We will continue to promote antlerless deer harvest as a population management tool,” Cornicelli said.

Winter mortality is expected to be significant in an area north from Duluth to Warroad where deep snow cover lingered into March.

The final deer harvest number is computed using information provided by hunters when they register their deer.

A final report, which includes more detailed harvest information, will be available online at in the coming weeks

This year’s deadline for the either-sex permit application is Sept. 8.

Archery deer hunting will begin Sept. 17.

The statewide firearms deer hunting season will open Nov. 5.

Outdoor notes

• Little Angie’s Bait and Tackle in Lester Prairie is starting a team fishing league, with two-person teams beginning Thursday, May 19 and ending Friday, Sept. 16.
For more information call Dave at (320) 395-2086. There is a 15-boat maximum.
• The 2005 Minnesota fishing opener is set for Sat., May 14.
With spring coming a bit early this year, look for the fishing on the opener to be better than normal.
• For more information on fishing in Minnesota, as well as boat and water safety, go to the DNR’s Web site at
• Double check all of your life jackets and personal flotation devices. Make sure they are in good shape and are the appropriate size for the person who may be wearing it.
The more comfortable a life jacket is the more likely you and your passengers will wear it.
• Look for morel mushrooms to be out early this year. The best time to hunt for morels is when the lilacs are blooming.
• The stream trout fishing season in Minnesota opened Sat., April 16.
• Good luck to all of Minnesota’s spring turkey hunters.
• Be patient, many of the landings and boat access locations in our area aren’t ready to go for the season.
At this time, docks are being put in and maintenance work done.
• Canada geese are nesting.
• The trapshooting season at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club starts with practice shooting Wednesday evening, with league shooting to kick off Wednesday, April 27.
• Last spring, I received several reports of anglers catching trout from the stream that connects to Little Waverly Lake.
If anyone has more information, please give me a call at (320) 485-2535.
• Take a kid fishing, he or she will have fun and so will you.

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