Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

June 5, 2006

DNR’s Take a Kid Fishing Weekend set for June 9-11

From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting Take A Kid Fishing Weekend, June 9-11.

Minnesota residents can fish for free on these days if they are fishing with youngsters up to age 16.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce kids to the joys of fishing or spend some quality outdoor time with a youngster who has never wet a line before,” said Jenifer Matthees, supervisor of the DNR’s MinnAqua Program.

The DNR encourages adults to get kids involved with fishing early in childhood. “It’s a time to connect during an outing to the lake and will become a favored activity for family and friends,” Matthees said. “This lifetime activity is enjoyed by all ages and creates memories shared by generations.”

To help make the outing a memorable experience, MinnAqua offers some tips for adults who will be taking kids fishing this summer.

• Have fun, plan for breaks

Bring snacks and keep hydrated. When fishing with kids, this is especially important. Fishing is fun, but when the fish are not biting, it can be trying. Go for walks, go to the playground, look for frogs or turtles. Make fishing part of a fun outing.

• Bring a camera

Be prepared for photos. Have your camera ready. Catching a fish is a memorable event for kids. Having the camera ready when the fish comes in will reduce the time the fish needs to be out of the water.

• Safety first

Safety is always important whenever fishing. Young children should always fish with an adult. Anglers should always wear a life jacket when fishing from a boat or canoe.

If weather turns stormy, get away from the water.

It is a good idea to wear sunscreen and sunglasses because sunlight reflects off the water.

Always be aware of hooks because they are sharp and dangerous.

Before casting, always look behind for other people, pets, brush, power lines or overhanging branches.

• Fish from shore

Many lakes have public fishing piers or docks or areas of safe, accessible shoreline.

Try casting in areas near plants or fallen trees in the water called snags, in shady areas, and around rocks or other cover.

Fish use these areas to hide from predators, find shelter from bright sunlight and look for prey.

• What kind of bait should I use?

Think about the size of the fish you are trying to catch. How big is its mouth?

Fish with small mouths eat small things, fish with big mouths can eat larger prey.

Use a small hook for small fish like sunfish or yellow perch (#6 or #8) or a small lure.

Canned corn, marshmallows, pieces of angle worm or wax worms will entice these fish to bite.

To catch bigger fish like bass, northern pike or walleye, use a bigger hook (#2 or #4) or bigger lure.

Try minnows, leeches, whole worms from under rocks or the garden, or grasshoppers for bait for these fish.

When using live bait, remember fresh, wiggly bait will be more attractive to fish.

Look for non-toxic (lead free) tackle. Use artificial bait to reduce hooking mortality. If using live bait, be sure to set the hook quickly.

• What if the fishing line gets tangled?

Try for a few minutes to untangle the knot, but don’t spend too much time on this.

Time together should be spent fishing. It is easy to cut the line and retie the hook or lure.

Recycle monofilament line; many bait and sporting shops will recycle.

Small animals and birds can get caught in discarded monofilament line and become injured or die.

• Clean up

Remember to leave the environment clean and free of litter. Take trash home or dispose of in receptacle.

Take unused bait home and store in the refrigerator or dispose of unwanted bait in the trash; released worms can harm Minnesota forest ecosystems.

It is illegal to release live bait into the environment. And remember anglers won’t always catch something, but they can always try again another day.

• Be courteous

Always follow the DNR fishing regulations and be respectful of other anglers.

If people need more pointers, they are encouraged to register for one of the many DNR fishing programs held throughout the state. They are listed on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Keg’s Bar Fishing League
Bass & Walleye
Week 2
Results
1 Woody Langenfeld & Dick Fiecke
1 walleye 1 lb. 5 oz.
2. Mike and Kim Moy
1 walleye 1 lb. 3 oz.
northern 2 lb. 12 oz.
Week 2
Name Pts PtsTotal
Woody 20 40
Dave F. 20 20
Dick DNF 20
Mike 16 32
Kimberly 16 32
Tom S. 1 15
Eric S. (Gus) 1 15
Mark K. 1 12.5
Jason K. 1 12.5
John L. DNF 11.5
Brian H. DNF 11.5
Tim T. 1 2
Russ C. 1 2
Todd 1 1
Dave G. 1 2

To participate, stop in at Keg’s Bar in Winsted, or call (320) 485-4250.

Tournament runs Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Lake is chosen at 3 p.m. on day of fishing. Twelve weeks total with different lake each week.

Lifesaving devices found lacking in some boats
From the DNR

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers are not seeing what they would like when it comes to the safety of Minnesota boaters.

There seems to be a number of people who don’t have the correct number or type of personal flotation devices, commonly called life jackets, life vests or PFDs on board their watercraft.

“I regularly see three problems,” said Milaca-based DNR Conservation Officer David Schottenbauer. “Folks take the boat out for the first trip of the season and forget the PFDs; they are unaware they need a throwable PFD for boats 16 feet and longer; or they incorrectly assume a boat cushion counts as a primary PFD for a person on a boat.”

On all boats, except a sailboard, regardless of length (including canoes, kayaks and duck boats) there must be a readily accessible U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable PFD (life jacket) for each person on board.

Type IV throwable devices, such as boat cushions, are no longer acceptable primary lifesaving devices.

If the boat is 16 feet or longer (except canoes and kayaks), one U.S. Coast Guard approved Type IV throwable flotation device, such as a boat cushion or ring buoy must be immediately available on each boat.
In addition to wearable life jackets, a boat cushion or ring buoy has been required on boats 16 feet or longer in Minnesota since 1996.

In spite of some adults forgetting about the life jacket laws, officers report children under 10 are doing a great job wearing their life jackets in compliance with the Minnesota law that became effective in 2005.

That regulation requires children under 10 wear a life jacket when boating unless on a boat with a licensed captain, or a craft that is anchored and being used as a platform for swimming.

The other exception for the child PFD law is if the child is below decks such as in a cabin cruiser.

Officers also report that a few parents have been buying nonapproved flotation jackets, suits and swimming aids for their children to wear while boating, but that these do not fulfill legal requirements.

The DNR is reminding adults to check the label for U.S. Coast Guard approval before putting it on the child for a day of boating.

Children found wearing their life vests while boating are eligible for a PFD Panda certificate handed out by DNR officers and county sheriff’s deputies, with an attached coupon good for a free Dairy Queen treat.

Violation of any of the life jacket laws can bring fines and fees of more than $100 for each occurrence.

For more boating safety information, people may obtain a copy of the “Minnesota Boating Guide” by contacting the DNR at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367) or by downloading it from www.dnr.state.mn.us.

DNR seeks online public input on deer populations
From the DNR

Offering public input on deer populations in northeast and north central Minnesota will be more convenient thanks to a unique online survey the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has posted on its Web site.

A presentation and survey have been posted at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

The presentation will guide viewers through the deer population goal setting process and collect input through a survey at the end.

Online users can either click the banner ad on the right side of the DNR’s home page or go directly to the site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

“We hope this will increase the number of participants, since people can view the information at their convenience,” said Michael DonCarlos, DNR wildlife program manager. “Public participation is a critically important component of this project and will help DNR make sound decisions on deer populations.”

Previously, comments on deer populations have been collected in writing, by e-mail or at public input meetings.

In early 2006, DNR worked with stakeholder teams in these areas to help set the future direction on deer populations.

The teams represented such interests as deer hunters, landowners, businesses, counties and conservation and environmental groups.

The teams met twice to recommend if deer populations should be increased, decreased or stabilized for each of the forested permit areas, according to Lou Cornicelli, DNR Big Game Program coordinator.

“Deer management today must take into account many social and biological factors,” said Cornicelli. “I think this process went a long way towards giving us some direction on where to take deer populations.”

Cornicelli noted while the teams made very good recommendations, there still needs to be a process to obtain information from the general public. “We recognize that not everyone is affiliated with a group,” Cornicelli said.

The first page shows a map from which users will select their area of interest. People can click the area on the map to access a presentation. (The presentations are in PDF format, requiring Adobe Acrobat to view them.)

The presentation explains the deer goal setting process, a brief history of deer management and the team recommendations for the selected area.

After viewing the presentation, there will be a link on the last slide to a brief survey. Users should click the button, fill out the survey and then click “submit.” The responses will be saved in a database.

The DNR will leave the online presentation active for approximately one month. Once the public input is summarized, a decision on deer populations will be made for each permit area.

Written comments may be mailed to: Lou Cornicelli Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, Saint Paul, MN 55107.

Outdoor notes

• The fish are biting. With the walleye, northern pike and bass seasons in full swing, anglers have been out in droves on our area lakes, and most of them have been catching fish.

Washington and Belle have been good, Mary has been producing bass, Collinwood has been hot, Howard Lake is giving up bass and northern, and many lakes have been producing good to fair crappie action.

The sunfish bite is also really starting to pick up now, with spawning activity nearing full swing.

For walleye anglers, the best fishing has been in shallow water at night.

• Now is the time to look for spawning beds and tap into some of the best fishing of the year.

Cruise the shallows quietly and look for the saucer-shaped gravel spots; when you find them, you’ll find fish.

Also, remember to throw the big ones back, especially the big males.

The big males actually play a more important role in sunfish reproduction than the females do.

Male or female, most of us can’t tell them apart, if it’s a big one, just throw it back and keep the smaller ones for the fry pan.

• The muskie fishing season in Minnesota opened Sat., June 3.

• Get your dog checked for heartworm and on a heartworm preventative medication.

• Gosling are out in big numbers and deer fawns are being born and standing within an hour of birth. Pheasant chicks will also begin hatching very soon.

• Delay roadside ditch mowing until August. Our roadsides could provide thousands of acres of undisturbed nesting habitat for pheasants, song birds, and all kinds of other wildlife.

• Be prepared for mosquitoes. They emerged in big numbers last week and always have the threat of carrying disease. Use a good repellent, wear long-sleeved clothing, and avoid being outside at dusk.

• Today, June 5, the sun will rise at 5:28 a.m. and set at 8:56 p.m. On June 21, the longest day of the year the sun will rise at 5:27 a.m. and set at 9:04 p.m.

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

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