From the DNR
Minnesotans who want to catch some quality family time are encouraged to take advantage of Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, which is June 6-8.
Minnesota residents 18 and older can fish for free during these days when they accompany an angler younger than 16.
“Most kids would love to go fishing,” said C.B. Bylander, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) outreach section chief. “By eliminating the need for a license on these three days, we’re providing an opportunity for family and friends to try the recreational sport of fishing with a youth and encouraging people to get outdoors, have fun, and discover joys of fishing.”
Finding a place to fish is easy. Visit mndnr.gov/takemefishing on the DNR web site. Just click on the link to Lake Finder to catch all sorts of inside information. Or, visit exploreminnesota.com to find great places to stay, play and fish.
Finally, visit the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation Web site at mn.takemefishing.org to hook great tips to make your trip a success.
The DNR’s MinnAqua program, which teaches kids and adults about lake and stream ecology through angling, is planning several events corresponding to Take-A-Kid Fishing Weekend.
Events scheduled for Saturday, June 7, include:
• children’s Fishing Clinic at Camden State Park near Lynd
• fishing History Fun at William O'Brien State Park near Marine-on-St. Croix
• fishing History Fun at Lake Bemidji near Bemidji
• fishing History Fun at Bear Head Lake near Ely
• Take A Kid Trout Fishing at Whitewater State Park near Altura.
More information on these events is available online at mndnr.gov/takeakidfishing.
“The idea is to give Minnesotans an opportunity to show kids just how much fun fishing can be,” said Jenifer Matthees, DNR MinnAqua program coordinator. “The only way to do that is to get these excitable young anglers-to-be out to the lake.”
June 1-8 also is National Fishing and Boating Week.
Boating information, fishing tactics, tips on equipment and safety, advice and stories from pro anglers is available online at www.rbff.org.
Watertown Lions BBQ; the seventh installment
From Gary Harding, Watertown Lions
Many people ask, can I taste the great BBQ that is cooked at the Crow River BBQ Challenge in Watertown?
I say yes. So mark your calendars for this year Crow River BBQ Challenge/ Rails to Trails celebration on July 18 and 19.
While it is true that you can not taste BBQ from all the competitors due to Minnesota Health Department rules the Watertown Lions always make certain that at least five of the licensed food vendors are serving BBQ just like they cook for the competition.
Since people began reading these articles many have asked for me to tell them a killer rib recipe or perhaps a chicken one.
I can not do that because the specific ingredients and timing is specific to what it is your cooking on and the type of fuel you’re using.
I recommend you grasp the concepts I have been speaking about and develop a plan that works best for you based on your equipment.
For those who are looking to expand their knowledge and get serious about this I recommend reading.
Books I find great for beginners and pro’s alike are Smoke and Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (Harvard Common Press) and Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food by Karen Putman (Robert Rose Inc.).
If your interests lean more towards hands on schooling I recommend www.kdbs.us and search their web for a listing of the many schools that are popping up around the country.
We have talked low and slow, we have talked cooker types and we have covered a bit of the science of meat in past weeks.
The next important thing you can do to insure great “Q” is to know the meat you buy and who you’re buying it from.
It is critical that whatever the meat you’re purchasing is that there be no solution added, no flavor added, that there is nothing that says tenderized on the package.
Look for packaging that says all natural, no solution added or just ask your butcher.
This is so important because after someone else has added to the natural meat it will resist accepting the flavor you have chosen to add be it a dry rub, marinade or a mop.
Did you know that the Crow River BBQ Contest in Watertown is starting a new contest called the “Best Butt” contest?
In this contest you the public will have a chance to judge without needing a special class.
So if you want to taste some of the best BBQ in the USA see you in Watertown July 18 and 19.
Before you start practicing judging on your spouse, in-law or neighbor, watch next weeks article to learn what a Best Butt Contest is.
Rural landowners reminded not to encroach on roadside rights-of-way
From the DNR
Agricultural encroachment into roadsides is becoming an increasing problem in many areas of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Transportation (Mn/DOT) reminds landowners with real estate adjacent to rural roads that fencing, plowing, planting row crops, or dumping rocks and other debris in the right-of-ways is prohibited by Minnesota law.
“The law protects water quality, provides good drainage and allows for proper maintenance of the right-of-ways,” said Paul Walvatne, Mn/DOT roadside vegetation supervisor.
Safety is also an important factor in roadside vegetation. Row crops too close to roads limit visibility for those entering the roads and for highway drivers looking for deer or oncoming traffic.
Rocks and debris in roadsides are dangerous for highway workers and their equipment, and are a potential hazard for vehicles that drive off of the road.
All violations are subject to misdemeanor prosecution under statewide law.
If row crops are planted within the right-of-ways, the local road authority may take action and/or remove the crops.
Walvatne suggests that people contact their local county engineer’s office for specific right-of-way widths.
• Hay Harvest
Farmers may harvest hay on the right-of-ways where they have fee title land.
They must obtain permission from adjacent landowners to hay additional roadsides.
In general, state and federal lands do not permit private haying in their roadsides without special permission from the public land manager.
For safety reasons, Mn/DOT permits are required to hay interstate right-of-ways.
Where hay is cut along roadsides, hay bales must to be removed from the right-of-way before sunset on the same day they are baled.
The following is not permitted: Storage of bales on the right-of-way, hay bales within clear zones and sight corners, permanent or temporary storage of haying equipment, and rutting of the right-of-way.
Mn/DOT and the DNR encourage farmers to abide by the following guidelines:
• keep mowing equipment off the traveled roadway
• delay roadside mowing and haying until Aug. 1 to avoid disturbing roadside nesting of grassland birds and other wildlife
• notify the area maintenance engineer prior to mowing, and apply for a permit if necessary prior to the start of operations; notification allows the area maintenance engineer to inform the farmer of any chemicals use for weed control.
Following these guidelines helps protect habitat for the 40-plus species of birds that nest along Minnesota roadsides.
They include ring-necked pheasant, wild turkey, mourning dove, gray partridge, bobwhite quail, meadowlark, song sparrow, American goldfinch, common yellowthroat, red-winged blackbirds, dickcissel, mallards, blue-winged teal and others.
For more information about the roadside program, visit the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.us/roadsidesforwildlife
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: It was so dry in parts of Minnesota last year. How do we stand this spring in terms of moisture?
A: Last year at this time, large sections of north central and northeastern Minnesota were in the grip of an extreme drought.
An exceptionally dry 2006 growing season and a snow-sparse 2007-2007 winter led to very low lake and stream levels and an explosive wildfire situation in northern Minnesota.
During a two-week period in early to mid-May 2007, the Ham Lake Fire burned tens of thousands of acres near the Gunflint Trail.
The early season dryness set the stage for a summer drought that would eventually impact most of the state of Minnesota.
The situation is dramatically different this year. Very wet late-summer and autumn weather in 2007, along with significant rain and snow in April 2008, has doused most drought concerns.
Lake levels have rebounded, stream flows are at or above historical averages, and soil moisture is adequate to surplus.
As is nearly always the case in the early spring, some wildfire potential is present, but nothing of the magnitude observed last year.
Lingering drought impacts remain in sections of northwestern