Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Herald Journal

May 14, 2007

Cold water shock danger to early season anglers

From the DNR

The Minnesota DNR is reminding early season anglers of the danger of cold water shock and the importance of wearing a life jacket, especially in May and early June.

“The shock of a fall into cold water is certainly one of the biggest hazards to early season anglers,” said Tim Smalley, DNR boating safety specialist. “The gasp caused by sudden immersion in icy water can cause victims to inhale water and drown if they aren’t wearing a life vest.”

It was once thought that good swimmers who drowned after falling overboard into cold water were succumbing to heart attacks.

While that may happen when somebody is suddenly immersed in cold water, researchers are finding most who drown, die due to the torso reflex rather than a cardiac episode.

“The torso reflex is the gasp that happens when your face and chest suddenly enter cold water. The gasp is automatic and nearly impossible to stop. If your face is underwater when it happens, it’s often fatal, unless of course you’re wearing a life vest,” Smalley noted.

Boats are required to carry one wearable U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable personal flotation device (life jacket) of the proper size for each person readily accessible on board the boat.

Boats 16 feet and longer also must carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved type IV throwable seat cushion or ring buoy on board.

The DNR recommends everyone wear life jackets this time of year.

“While the emphasis tends to be on children wearing life jackets, it’s the adults who die most often in boating accidents,” Smalley said. “There have been a fair number of cases in Minnesota where an adult has drowned in a boat accident, but the child who was wearing a life jacket was just fine.”

To get the free “Minnesota Boating Guide” and other boating safety information, call the DNR at (651) 296-6157 or toll free at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Information can also be downloaded from the DNR’s Web site at

Waverly Gun Club to start ladies only shooting for summer

Ladies Only shooting practice will begin in June sponsored by the Waverly Gun Club, taking place once a month on the second Tuesday of every month.

The program runs from June to October with the first practice taking place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 12 at the Waverly Gun Club shooting range.

Those interested may bring their own gun and ammo, or it will be provided for them.

A league is being set up as well. Those with questions may call Allan Moy at (763) 658-4636.

Keg’s Bar fishing league

The Keg’s Bar fishing league will begin Thursday, May 17 with fishing from 6 to 9 p.m.

The season runs 14 weeks on 14 different lakes with walleye, bass, and northern pike what anglers are looking to catch.

There will be a season ending tournament for anyone that has competed on seven of the dates.

To participate, or for more information, stop by Keg’s Bar in Winsted and talk to Brian Langenfeld.

Federal Farm Bill: It’s for fishermen, too
From Pheasants Forever

As fishing seasons open across the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest, Pheasants Forever (PF) reminds anglers of a debate this year that will have a direct impact on fishing and other recreational water activities for years to come: The 2007 Federal Farm Bill.

“Fishermen and women have much to gain from a 2007 Farm Bill that includes a strong framework of federal policies supporting natural resource conservation,” said Dave Nomsen, PF Vice President of Government Affairs, “The Farm Bill’s Conservation Title and its many conservation practices work to improve the quality of our lakes, rivers, streams, and fisheries at the same time those practices are protecting our soils and wildlife. Whether you enjoy casting for trout, trolling for walleye or just canoeing down the river, clean water is something we all can agree on.”

One of the most successful of these practices is the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, or CREP, a targeted method for retiring a state’s most environmentally sensitive farmlands with an objective typically aimed at improved water quality.

Through CREP, landowners receive incentive payments for installing specific conservation practices that help protect environmentally sensitive land. CREP programs across the nation help reduce soil erosion, subsequently reducing the amount of nutrients in the water, and safeguard ground and surface water.

There are currently CREP’s in 30 states that have created nearly 940,000 acres of new wildlife habitat.

Pheasants Forever has also joined fishing conservation organizations, including the American Sportsfishing Association (ASA) and Trout Unlimited (TU), and others as part of a 41-organization coalition supporting specified recommendations for the 2007 Federal Farm Bill.

The coalition consists of the vast majority of the nation’s wildlife conservation and sporting organizations.

“At Pheasants Forever, we often talk about the 13.5 million pheasants CRP produces annually. What people may not know is that Lake Erie walleye are responding to CRP practices in Ohio, Michigan rivers are being cleaned as a result of CREP, and Minnesota trout streams are teaming with fish because of CRP buffers,” added Nomsen. “It truly is a connected web and our Farm Bill conservation efforts are strengthening every ecosystem in that web.”

“The quality of our fisheries tomorrow will be greatly determined by the conservation work we do today,” Nomsen said. “Anglers and hunters must join together at the forefront of the discussion concerning the 2007 Federal Farm Bill. Our children’s stringers and game vests depend on our conservation efforts this year.”

Pheasants Forever supports recommendations that benefit fisheries and other wildlife:

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – Reauthorize USDA’s most successful conservation program and ensure the competitive viability of the program.

Overall CRP acreage should expand to 45 million acres to enhance the benefits of CRP for water, soil and wildlife. Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) – Increase America’s number one wetlands restoration program to 300,000 acres per year to improve wetlands conservation, mitigate wetlands loss, provide fisheries habitat and improve water quality.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) – Gradually increase the WHIP funding from $100 million to $300 million over the course of the 2007 Farm Bill with a significant portion of new funds targeted for aquatic restoration activities, including instream habitat improvement projects.

Forestry – Increase technical, education, and outreach to forest landowners through existing programs such as the Forest Stewardship Program and others.

This will enhance management for fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, recreation and timber production.

Conservation Security Program (CSP) – Reauthorize CSP and ensure it provides increased measurable and consistent benefits for fish and wildlife conservation.

CSP should require fish and wildlife habitat improvement components for all program tiers and require that the Natural Resources Conservation Service engage federal and state fish and wildlife agencies and non-government conservation organizations when developing fish and wildlife and habitat criteria and assessments.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Reauthorize EQIP, increase allocation percentages for fish and wildlife practices, and increase opportunities for private forestland owners.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education.

PF/QF has more than 115,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.

For additional information about Pheasants Forever, please visit

Anglers reminded to check new regulations
From the DNR

Before hitting the water, anglers should take a moment to review the 2007 Fishing Regulations, published by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and available at more than 1,800 locations where fishing licenses are sold.

Regulations booklets include special and experimental regulations, regulations changes and new information about exotic species, catch-and-release, and fish identification.

Updates and corrections to the regulations book are available online at

“A number of changes were made this year, so anglers need to make sure they are aware of the regulations before they fish,” said Linda Erickson-Eastwood, program manager for the DNR Fisheries Management Section. “Besides that, the regulation book contains excellent information to help anglers protect their resource and enjoy their time on the water.”

Key lakes with new regulations this year include:

• Kabetogama-Namakan-Crane chain of lakes, where walleye regulations have been changed to a 17-to 28-inch protected slot limit and a bag limit of four

• Bowstring, Sand, Round lakes and connecting waters, where the northern pike bag limit has been expanded to nine fish outside a 22- to 36-inch protected slot limit, designed to encourage harvest of numerous small northern pike while protecting larger northern pike

• Itasca, Coon-Sandwick and Maplewood state parks, where there are new regulations on panfish, bass and northern pike

• Mille Lac, Leech, and Winnibigoshish and 43 other lakes: Anglers must immediately release all muskie smaller than 48 inches when the season opens June 2

• Mississippi River from Grand Rapids to Coon Rapids, where all muskie must immediately be returned to the water.

Special and experimental regulations are summarized on pages 22-47 in the regulations book. New regulations are signified with an arrow.

Unless specifically mentioned, all other general regulations, seasons, limits, border water regulations, possession and transportation apply to waters with special and experimental regulations.

Special and experimental regulations are also posted on signs at lake access points.

State land for sale
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will offer 36 parcels of state land for sale to the public at oral auctions on June 11-15.

Included in the auctions will be lands from Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Cook, Crow Wing, Isanti, Lake, Marshall, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine and St. Louis counties.

Many of the parcels are 40-acre tracts with recreational or development opportunities.

Prospective bidders are urged to obtain full information on properties and sale conditions prior to the auction.

No properties offered at oral auction will be sold for less than the minimum bid identified for each property on the property data sheet.

The minimum bid consists of the value of the land and any improvements, the timber value, and sale costs.

All properties are sold “as is.”

Property data sheets for all parcels are available from the DNR, and contain exact locations, minimum bids, date and location of auction for that property, site description and property condition.

For information about the properties, call the DNR land sale line at (651) 259-5432, or toll free at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Information about the land sale is also available on the DNR Web site at or request information by e-mail at

Boaters reminded to help stop aquatic hitchhikers
From the DNR

With the start of the 2007 boating and fishing season here, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking boaters and anglers to keep up the good work in minimizing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

“The continuing spread of zebra mussels and the discovery of New Zealand mudsnails in Minnesota have us especially concerned,” said Jay Rendall, DNR invasive species program coordinator. “The potential to spread aquatic invasive species increases each year and we need Minnesotans to continue with their high level of action.”

Zebra mussels were discovered a few years ago in the Brainerd area and New Zealand mudsnails were recently found for the first time in the Duluth harbor.

By taking a few simple steps when leaving a lake or river, boaters and anglers can do their part to help stop the spread of aquatic hitchhikers such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels in the state’s water bodies.

Those steps include removing all aquatic plants from boats and trailers and emptying water from live wells and bait containers.

Those who leave lakes and rivers the DNR has listed as infested waters need to be especially careful, Rendall said.

Anglers who have live bait and want to keep it for another time should drain any infested water from the bait container and replace it with tap or spring water.

Signs are posted at public access points to identify infested waters. A complete list of infested waters is available at
Rendall said boaters should also remember to dispose of unwanted live bait including worms and minnows in the trash rather than dumping them in the lakes and woods.

The DNR is continuing to use the national “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!” logo to remind boaters and anglers to take precautions.

It is likely people will see the icon and messages in a variety of places this year including billboards, gas pump toppers, newspapers and on outdoor banners.

Signs at public accesses, reminders from DNR watercraft inspectors, radio and television ads, and public service announcements will also be used to reach boaters this summer.

“Precautions should now be part of the routine for boaters,” Rendall said. “These simple actions help boaters comply with the state laws that prohibit the transport of aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species.”

Last year, DNR biologists found 13 additional waters infested with Eurasian watermilfoil, bringing the total number of infested water bodies in the state to 190.

Inland waters known to be infested with zebra mussels include Lake Ossawinnamakee and Rice Lake near Brainerd, Mille Lacs Lake, and Lake Zumbro north of Rochester.

The Mississippi River from its confluence with the Pine River down to the Iowa border is also on the infested waters list.

More information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters can be found in the 2007 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet.

The Minnesota Legislature directed the DNR to establish the Invasive Species Program in 1991 to address problems caused by aquatic invasive species.

The program is responsible for preventing introductions, curbing their spread and managing invasive species of aquatic plants and wild animals.

Outdoor notes

• The 2007 Minnesota bass fishing opener is Saturday, May 26.

• The 2007 Minnesota muskie fishing opener is Saturday, June 2.

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