Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

April 30, 2007

Looking for a place to fish? Let the DNR help

From the DNR

With more than 5,400 game fish lakes and 15,000 miles of fishable streams and rivers in Minnesota, anglers have seemingly endless places to fish.

Finding fishing opportunities is easier today than ever thanks to maps and online fishing information provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“We have an incredible public fishing resource in Minnesota,” said Ron Payer, DNR fisheries section chief. “To help anglers take advantage of this, the DNR has produced a number of publications that show public access points, shore fishing opportunities and accessible fishing piers.”

One of the most comprehensive sources of fishing information is available on the DNR’s Web site.

By clicking the Lake Finder button on the DNR home page at www.dnr.state.mn.us anglers can find maps and information about fish populations, stocking and more.

For information on lakes or rivers in a specific area, anglers might consider using the recreation compass feature, also on the DNR home page.

This map-based feature allows anglers to click on a lake or stream and pull up maps, stocking information, water levels and more.

Another source for fishing information is the DNR’s Public Recreation Information Maps (PRIM).

The set of 51 separate maps identify a wide variety of federal, state and county lands available for other public recreation activities such as hunting, camping, hiking and boating.

The maps also provide anglers with information about the types of boat ramps (concrete, gravel, earth or metal), available parking spaces, fish species and contact information for each site.

In addition to angling opportunities, more specifically, PRIM locates campgrounds, trails, forests, parks, wildlife management areas and refuges, natural and scientific areas and much more.

PRIM maps which cost $5.95, are available from the DNR gift shop, Minnesota’s Bookstore, and several sporting goods and map stores around the state. They can also be purchased online at minnesotabookstore.

The DNR also recently produced two map books that highlight trout streams, lakes and public fishing opportunities in northeast and southeast areas of the state. The northeast map book is new. The southeast book has been updated from a 2005 edition.

Additional DNR trout guides include the ‘North Shore Fishing Guide’, a foldout map that shows trout and salmon fishing opportunities in Lake Superior and its tributaries and ‘A Guide to Lakes Managed for Stream Trout,’ which contains directions to lakes in northeastern Minnesota that are stocked with stream trout.

Trout map books and guides are available by calling (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Trap league starts Thursday

The Waverly Gun Club summer trap league will be starting Thursday, May 3. Teams and/or individuals are encouraged to attend.

Winsted lakeshore clean-up is set for Saturday

Winsted Lake Watershed Association will host a lakeshore cleanup day Saturday, May 5 beginning at 9 a.m. at Mill Reserve Park, Winsted.

Assistance from youth groups is welcome. Dress appropriately.
For more information, call Bev at (320) 485-4327.

Trap shooting starts Thursday, May 3

The Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club will begin hosting trap shooting Thursday nights from 6 to 10 p.m., starting May 3.

The club is located north of Cokato on Wright County Road 3. For questions, call Bill Josephson (320) 286-5109.

Lake Washington Improvement Assoc. pork chop supper

The Lake Washington Improvement Association will conduct its annual pork chop supper and meeting 6 p.m., Saturday, May 5 at the Dassel Rod and Gun Club.

They will conduct elections at that time, and the program will begin at 6:45 p.m.

Winter injured conifer needles turn red in spring
From the DNR

Winter has taken its toll on conifers. By this time, people have probably noticed all the red needles on red pines and other conifers, especially those growing along highways.

Although the needles look terrible, the buds, twigs and trees are not dead.

The needles had a rough winter and they were discolored by winter injuries, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

People should resist the urge to prune away needles or remove discolored trees.

Chances are good these trees are alive and healthy beneath their mask of red needles.

If examined, the tips of the needles are red or brown but the base of the needles is usually still green.

If a bud is broken open, it should still be green and moist.

Buds are well protected during the winter and will grow once spring arrives.

Winter injury occurs when needle temperature rises above freezing during sunny winter days, which causes the needles to lose moisture.

When the water stored in the needles, twigs and stems is gone and can’t be replaced because the ground is frozen, needle tissues dry out and die.

Last year’s drought, the lack of snow cover during much of the winter, deep frost in the ground, strong dry winds, many days of bright sunshine, and low relative humidity all contribute to winter drying injury.

Winter injury is often worse and more noticeable on trees lining the north side of a road that runs east and west.

This is because in the winter the low angle of the sun to the south shines on the trees on the north side of the road warming and thawing the needles.

The trees on the south side of the road remain shaded and cool and lose less water from their needles, which remain green and healthy looking.

Humans also add to the injury by applying road de-icing salts. Both sodium and chlorine ions in the salt can accumulate to lethal concentrations in needle tissue.

Wind may increase the problem by causing micro-wounds to needles and rubbing protective waxes off needle surfaces.

This needle abrasion allows toxic chlorine ions to enter the needles and also increases loss of water from the needles.

High levels of salt in the soil also contribute to stress and damage in trees.

White and red pines, Norway and Colorado blue spruce are susceptible to salt spray damage; Scots pine, white spruce, juniper and eastern red cedar are moderately susceptible; and jack pine, Austrian pine, larch and black spruce are tolerant to salt spray damage.

Some trees seem to get winter injury every year. In these situations, it is likely the trees are under stress and do not have the resources to tolerate any internal drying.

Some groups or stands of red pines show winter injury symptoms every year because they are growing in soils that are too wet or in soils that restrict rooting depth.

This stress predisposes the trees to needle desiccation and ultimately to repeated winter injury.

While these trees often survive many years with repeat winter injury they grow slower and may eventually die because the combination of stresses makes them more susceptible to attack by insects and fungi.

Normally, snow cover prevents winter injury of young conifers by providing shelter from drying winds and from the glare of the sun.

In some years, it is common to see young conifers with a strong line of demarcation separating the brown, desiccated tops that were exposed to wind and sun from the healthy, green bottom branches that were covered and protected by snow.

Here are some suggestions to prevent winter injury.

• when selecting trees to plant, choose species and cultivars that are adapted to local growing conditions and to the soils where they are planted in

• avoid planting trees susceptible to salt within 150 feet of a highway

• erect screens using plywood, snow fences or plastic fences to slow down drying winds and reduce salt spray drift; small trees can be wrapped in burlap to reduce exposure

• reduce or eliminate the use of de-icing salts

• consider replacing trees that have severe winter injury year after year; they are not in the right location and will only decline due to needle and twig loss over a period of many years.

• keep conifers properly watered throughout the growing season and in the fall until the ground freezes to help reduce winter injury, but don’t flood the soil

• if drought continues this spring, begin to water trees when frost leaves the ground

• mulch over as much of the root system as possible with two to four inches of wood chips to help maintain soil moisture and reduce the depth frost penetrates into the soil.

Conifers growing in Minnesota have had a rough winter with plenty of opportunities for winter injury.

But in spite of their appearance, chances are good trees are alive and healthy beneath their mask of red needles.

Buds were well protected during the winter and will grow once spring arrives.

Bear hunt application deadline approaching
From the DNR

The May 4 application deadline for hunters interested in pursuing black bear this fall is approaching.

There are 13,200 licenses available in 11 permit areas in northern and central counties. The season will run from Sept. 1 through Oct. 14.

Applications can be made through the Electronic Licensing System (ELS) agents throughout the state, plus the DNR License Center in St. Paul.

Applications can also be made by calling 1-888-MNLICEN (665-4236), or online at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Licenses for the no-quota area, which is the area outside of the 11 permit areas, can be purchased directly at any ELS agent beginning July 1.

No previous application is necessary to buy a no-quota area license.

Interested applicants can find bear hunting information on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/bear/index.html.

Bear licenses cost $39 for residents and $196 for nonresidents.

The bag limit will remain at two bears in the no-quota area and one bear in all-quota permit areas.

In 2006, there were 15,722 applicants for the available 14,850 permit area licenses. Six of the 11 permit areas were under-subscribed.

Hunters harvested a total of 3,290 bears; 2,718 in the permit areas; and 520 in the no-quota area.

Minnesota moose season aplication deadline Friday
From the DNR

The application deadline for the 2007 Minnesota moose hunt is Friday, May 4.

Applications may be made at any of the 1,800 business statewide where hunting and fishing licenses are sold or at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

This year, 233 permits are available in 30 zones in the northeastern part of the state.

The season will run from Sept. 29 through Oct. 14.

An interactive map of the moose hunting zones is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/moose/index.html.

The map contains information on the boundaries, physical fitness requirements and general ATV regulations for each zone.

Moose hunters must apply in parties from two to four individuals. An application fee of $3 per individual must be included with the application.

Only Minnesota residents, at least sixteen years of age, are eligible for the moose hunt.

Permits are issued through a random drawing, except that applicants who have been unsuccessful at least 10 times since 1985 will be placed in a separate drawing for up to 20 percent of the available licenses.

A person who is still unsuccessful in this separate selection will also be included in the regular drawing.

Because the moose hunt became a once-in-a-lifetime hunt in 1991, hunters who received permits for moose hunts for the 1991 hunt and later are not eligible to apply for the 2007 drawing.

The bag limit is one antlered moose per party. The license fee is $310 per party.

There will be mandatory orientation sessions required for all hunters chosen for moose licenses.

In 2006, 2,952 parties applied for the 279 available state permits.
State licensed hunters killed 133 bulls and 28 cows, for a party success rate of 60 percent.

DNR Question of the Week
From the DNR

Q: Safety is always a concern when out on the water fishing or just enjoying one of Minnesota’s thousands of lakes and rivers.

With the 2007 fishing opener only a few weeks away, what do people need to remember about early season boating?

A: When getting ready for opener, many people give more thought to what kind of sandwiches they should pack for lunch than they do about boating safety.

It is important for people to remember that early in the season, although the air temperature may be 70 degrees, most of the bodies of water are still in the low 40s.

Even the strongest swimmer is not immune to cold water shock and the torso reflex, the automatic gasp that occurs when people fall into cold water.

If their mouth is underwater when this gasp occurs, they will breathe in water and drown if they aren’t wearing a life vest.

Make sure navigation lights are all in proper working order, and be sure use them between sunset and sunrise.

Also, be sure the boat registration decal is current and check air pressure on trailer tires, pack a spare and make sure the axle bearings are freshly greased.

Finally, it is a good idea to leave the alcohol at home.

Outdoor notes

• The backyard bunny adventure is over. It took awhile, but we finally convinced our daughters to let that last little bunny go.

When they did, it took off to the creek near our backyard like a little rocket flying through the grass.

• The 2007 Minnesota fishing opener, set for Saturday, May 12, is only 13 days away.

I’m planning an opening day adventure on Diamond Lake near Atwater.

• Don’t forget to purchase your new 2007 Minnesota fishing license.

• Congratulations to all the area students that will be graduating from DNR Firearms Safety Training classes this spring.

Also, a big thank you to all the local sportsmen’s clubs and instructors for hosting and teaching classes.

• Take some time to watch spring happen. The grass is now green and many of the trees are budding.

• The crappie action on many lakes in the area has been great.

Super reports have been coming from Wacoina, Collinwood, and Henry.

One angler also noted the action on Dutch Lake has been pretty good.

• A few local outdoor enthusiasts have noted a lack of northern pike migrating though creeks in the area this spring, and are concerned about the northern pike spawn this year.

Look for more info on the subject in next week’s column.

• Next week, for, I believe, the ninth straight year, I’ll be listing my super seven area fishing spots for the May 12 opener.

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

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