Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

April 10, 2006

Ice off has arrived on area lakes

With the warm and windy conditions over the past week, all of the area lakes have no more ice.

That includes Howard Lake, which had an official ice off Friday, April 7.

Looking back at the records kept by Gordon Gruenhagen, the earliest Howard Lake has been clear of ice was March 15, 2000.

The latest ice off for Howard Lake was May 2, 1950.

Over the past 50 years or so, Howard Lake has had an ice off on April 7 just twice before, that coming in 1991, and last year (2005).

Trapshooting at Lester Prairie Sportsmen club

Practice rounds for the upcoming 2006 trapshooting season begins Wed., April 19 from 6:15 p.m. to 9 .m.

League competition begins Wed., April 26 from 6:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

For additional information contact Ed Mlynar at (320) 395-2258.

DU banquet set for April 11

The Crow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its 26th annual banquet Tuesday, April 11 at the Blue Note in Winsted.

Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Ken Durdahl at (320) 543-3372 or Howard Barth at (320) 543-3526.

Fish consumption advice issued by Health Department for bluegill on Mississippi River
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is revising the Fish Consumption Advisory to include guidelines on eating fish from Pool 2 of the Mississippi River that may contain PFOS, a perfluorochemical (PFC). PFOS has been measured in the edible tissues of bluegill sunfish and smallmouth bass at levels of health concern for people who eat these fish too often.

Pool 2 refers to the section of the Mississippi River between the Hastings Dam and the Ford Dam in St. Paul, including some backwater lakes and connecting channels.

MDH recommends that people who eat bluegill sunfish from Pool 2 of the Mississippi River limit their consumption to one meal a week.

Previously the consumption recommendation for bluegill sunfish was “unlimited.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has special regulations requiring that smallmouth bass be immediately released after being caught from Pool 2.

As this regulation should prevent people from eating smallmouth bass, MDH is only revising the bluegill sunfish advice.

Although channel catfish fillets and white bass also had low levels of PFCs, following the existing fish consumption advice based on mercury and/or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) will also protect people from exposures to PFCs.

The MDH developed the revised advice based on scientific information about the toxicity of PFOS. Laboratory research indicates that PFOS causes harmful changes in the livers of some animals.

Like mercury, PFOS binds to proteins throughout the fish rather than concentrating in fat. Special cleaning and cooking precautions used to reduce contaminants like PCBs that concentrate in fat are not effective with PFOS.

At this time, there is no information about levels of PFOS in fish from areas of the Mississippi River other than Pool 2.

Over the next several months more sampling data from Pool 2 and other areas is expected. These data were gathered as part of an investigation of PFC releases from the 3M Cottage Grove facility.

The toxicity of PFCs is the subject of active research. The MDH continually reviews ongoing research on PFOS and other perfluorochemicals to ensure that Minnesota’s health guidelines for contaminants in fish and water remain protective of people’s health. As new studies and science become available, the guidelines may be revised to reflect additional information.

“With the fishing season coming up, this is a good time for all of us to remember that fish are good to eat,” said Pat McCann, “but we should make wise choices about which fish we eat and how often.”
People are advised to check out the statewide Safe Eating Guidelines or site-specific advice for the Mississippi River.

Health experts, including the MDH, recommend eating one to two meals of fish per week. Fish are a good low-fat source of protein and contain many vitamins and minerals.

Eating fish may help protect adults against cardiovascular disease.

Pregnant women and women who may become pregnant should also eat fish because eating fish promotes eye and brain development in fetuses.

DNR question of the week
From the DNR

Q: When the 2006 fishing season opens May 13, anglers may once again fish for walleye on Upper Red Lake. What did the DNR and other organizations do to get the lake ready for the opener?

A: A successful restocking program along with total protection for walleye, enabling them to grow and mature, has assured excellent angling opportunities this spring on Upper Red Lake.

Minnesota DNR Fisheries and Red Lake Band biologists have developed a management plan that will limit the harvest within sustainable levels, and allow them to measure and react to impacts on the walleye population.

A citizen advisory group, representing a number of local and statewide organizations, helped the DNR set fishing regulations.

These will protect the fishery and maximize recreational opportunities for both summer and winter angling. DNR Divisions of Trails and Waterways and Parks and Recreation, the Upper Red Lake Area Association and Waskish Township made major improvements to the public water accesses, camping and recreational facilities in the Waskish vicinity.

Private resorts, campgrounds, bait shops, and other related businesses have enhanced their facilities in preparation for the 2006 opener.

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