This must be the season as a number of ice fishing contests in the area will be taking place over the next two weekends.
Below, you can find each ice fishing contest in the area that the Herald Journal has information for.
Kingston Lion’s fishing contest Feb. 6
The Kingston Lions are hosting their 22nd annual fishing contest Saturday, Feb. 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the northwest side of Lake Francis.
The cost is $4 per person to fish, and there will be several prizes given out.
First place will win $100, second will win $50, and third will win $30.
There will also be prizes awarded for the biggest walleye, northern, and bass caught, plus $25 prizes for the largest crappie and sunfish.
Participants will automatically be entered to win an assortment of door prizes, and can also purchase raffle drawings for a chance to win an 8-inch ice auger or $250, two $100 drawings, and two $50 drawings.
The cost per raffle ticket is $1, or 25 for $15.
Concessions will also be provided by the Kingston Lions Club.
Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club ice fishing contest
The Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club is hosting its annual ice fishing contest Sunday, Feb. 14 on Brooks Lake in Cokato.
It runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and is free to all.
Raffle tickets are $1 each for cash and merchandise prizes.
Minnows and hole drilling are free.
There will be a lunch wagon on site for food and beverages.
For additional information, contact Tim (320) 980-0460 or Dave (612) 670-1916.
Da Shiver ice fishing tourney Feb. 6
The Da Shiver Ice Fishing Tournament is back again to raise money for the Crow River Youth Hockey Association.
The day, which includes the ice fishing tournament, games, giveaways and more, is Saturday, Feb. 6, from noon to 3 p.m. on the west end of Lake Sarah. The cost is $40.
The day’s activities include a bonfire, ice skating, and games, such as minnow races, musical buckets, and a hole-drilling race.
The prize list includes a Polaris Sportsman 500, a portable fishhouse, ice auger, ice rod combos, gift certificates, hockey gear, clothing, a signed Gophers jersey, Minnesota Timberwolves tickets, YakTrak, fishing gear, hunting gear, cash, hats, a Mr. Heater, and more. Music will be provided by Dean-o-mite Entertainment.
There will also be a raffle drawing for an Ice Castle fishhouse. Go to www.crtiger.com for raffle tickets.
For more information on Da Shiver, contact Doug Lawman at email@example.com or by phone at (763) 479-1206 or (612) 991-5159.
64th annual HL Fishing Derby is Feb. 13
The 64th annual fishing derby on Howard Lake is set for Saturday, Feb. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.
There are plenty of chances to win cash and prizes.
In addition to cash awards for the biggest northern, walleye, bass, and panfish; other awards include the grand prize of an Ice Castle fishhouse (6-1/2 foot by 12 foot V front, on wheels), first prize of a FL-8 Vexilar Depth Finder, and framed prints for second and third prizes.
Raffle tickets are $2 each, and can be purchased at Joe’s Sport Shop or The Country Store in Howard Lake.
Tickets are now available by Ducks Unlimited Crow River Chapter for their pre-event ice fishing raffle.
Drawing to take place Saturday, Feb. 13, 3 p.m. on Howard Lake. Tickets are $10 a chance, with only 200 chances sold. Contact Ken Durdahl (320) 543-3372.
Firearms safety class registration at the Waverly Gub Club
Hunter education youth firearms safety class registration will be Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Waverly Gun Club.
The Waverly Gun Club is located at 4465 Desota Ave. SW in Waverly.
Classes will be on Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for 10 weeks, plus a field test Saturday, April 17.
A parent or guardian must attend the registration, and there will be a fee.
If you have any questions, contact Mike Dongoski (320) 543-3515 or Jim Woitalla (763) 658-4272.
Jr. duck stamp contest calling all young artists
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now accepting entries for the 2010 Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Contest, which is administered by the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
Entries must be postmarked by Monday, March 15.
This dynamic educational program uses both conservation and design principles to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school.
The program provides an opportunity for students to artistically express their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence and beauty of wildlife.
Students may submit artwork featuring one of the following species: whistling ducks, swans, geese, dabbling ducks, diving ducks, sea ducks, or Hawaiian ducks.
A full list of permitted species is available online at www.fws.gov/juniorduck.
Judging will be open to the general public, and will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 23 at Burnsville Civic Center.
Artwork entries will be judged on the basis of original design, anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for reproduction on a 1” by 1.5” stamp.
The Best of Show will then go on to be judged in the National Junior Duck Stamp contest.
A downloadable entry form and information on contest rules and regulations for teachers and supervising adults can be found online at www.fws.gov/juniorduck.
For additional information or if you have any questions, please contact your Jr. Duck Stamp State Coordinator, Mara Koenig at (952) 858-0710 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries and reference forms must be postmarked by Monday, March 15, and mailed to: c/o Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws/gov.
MN DNR, Red Lake Nation renew agreement
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Red Lake Nation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs have signed a new five-year agreement that outlines how the parties will work together to maintain the health of the Upper and Lower Red lakes fishery.
The new memorandum of understanding closely parallels a 1999-2009 agreement that helped restore high-quality walleye fishing to Minnesota’s largest inland body of water.
The agreement, among other things, states each entity will support the Red Lake Fisheries Technical Committee, a joint panel of experts that recommends policies and practices to maintain a healthy fishery.
“We’ve come a long way in the past decade,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten, noting that anglers have caught more than 1.1 million pounds of walleye since the lake was reopened to fishing in 2006. “By renewing this agreement, we are reaffirming our commitment to a process that has delivered results.”
“Red Lake Band members are pleased that our walleye have come back and our fishing community is revitalized,” said Floyd Jourdain Jr., chairman of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. “We are committed to ensuring that Red Lake walleye are managed sustainably in the future. Renewing this agreement will enable the Fisheries Technical Committee to continue its work to help protect this valuable resource.”
The agreement was signed today during a brief ceremony in Red Lake.
Historically, Upper and Lower Red lakes were outstanding walleye fisheries, but they collapsed in the mid-1990s due to over harvest.
The Red Lake Fisheries Technical Committee was formed in 1998.
Since then, the regulations, policies and other actions this joint body has recommended have led to a healthy walleye population and a resurgent walleye fishing economy.
DNR, NWTF mentored youth turkey applications due soon
From the DNR
First-time youth turkey hunters ages 12 to 17 have the chance to go afield this spring and learn from an experienced National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) volunteer.
Applications, maps and general information for the wild turkey hunt are available online.
Application deadline is midnight on Monday, Feb. 15. Participants will be selected through a random lottery.
“Mentored hunts are an excellent opportunity to match a youth and their parent or guardian with an expert to learn a life-long outdoors hunting skill,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Not only do these hunts provide an opportunity for mentors to pass their turkey hunting knowledge on, it is a great chance for quality time in the outdoors.”
This is the eighth consecutive year DNR and NWTF have cooperated to provide opportunities for first-time youth turkey hunters.
More than 1,000 youth have been introduced to this unique hunting experience since spring youth turkey hunts began in 2002.
All but one of this year’s youth hunts will occur Saturday, April 17, and Sunday, April 18, which is the first weekend of the regular wild turkey season.
Nearly all youth will hunt on private land thanks to the generosity of private landowners and the NWTF volunteers who obtained permission.
To be eligible, a youth hunter must be age 12 to 17 on or before Saturday, April 17; have a valid Firearms Safety Certificate; and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The program is for first-time turkey hunters only.
Any youth who has ever purchased or been selected by lottery for a Minnesota turkey license of any type is ineligible.
Hunters and their mentors will be assigned a NWTF volunteer guide, who must accompany both the youth and parent/guardian throughout the entire hunt.
People who would like to participate as a mentor or volunteer their land for the youth mentored hunts, should contact their local NWTF chapter online at www.nwtfchapter.org/minnesotastatechapter.
Click “In Your State” on the left-hand side of the page to locate the nearest chapter.
Frozen Gooseberry Falls is beautiful
From the DNR
Park Manager Paul Sundberg, who has lived and worked at Gooseberry Falls State Park since 1983, said he can’t remember a winter when the ice formations along the frozen Lower Falls have ever been as beautiful as they are right now.
“Due to the cold temperatures and the rain we got during the Christmas Day storm, thousands of pounds of ice have formed in layers and created thousands of icicles across the entire Lower Falls area, and it’s absolutely stunning,” Sundberg said. “It’s the most beautiful I’ve seen it in all the years I’ve been here.”
Nearly 1,000 people visited the park to see and photograph this natural wonder Saturday, Jan. 16.
The rest of the holiday weekend was equally busy, with many visitors taking advantage of the mild weather to get out and cross-country ski, snowshoe, hike, and geocache, Sundberg reported.
With a candlelight ski, snowshoe, and walk event scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20, Sundberg hopes the frozen waterfall will stay as beautiful as it is now for the many visitors expected that day.
“If temperatures and conditions stay the same, we’ll be in luck,” he said, “but if we get too much warmth, it will change considerably.” Those who want to be sure to see this spectacular sight should probably plan to visit sooner than later, he advised. Because the trails near the falls are extremely icy, Sundberg also recommends that visitors wear ice cleats (for sale at the park’s Nature Store for $9.95) or other slip-resistant footwear and exercise caution in slippery areas.
A Minnesota State Parks vehicle permit ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit) is required to enter any Minnesota state park.
For more information about the Feb. 20 candlelight event, and to see photos of the Lower Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park, visit mnstateparks.info.
DNR talking trash
From the DNR
For many Minnesotans there is nothing like walking on a frozen lake, carving a hole and pulling up an elusive fish from the depths below.
When word gets out that there’s a good fish bite on a lake, ice anglers descend on the spot.
Often that pristine environment becomes littered with bottles, cans, cigarette butts, or worse.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers say the biggest problem is identifying the perpetrators.
“Lakes are normally ringed by fish houses this time of year so conservation officers find it challenging to identify who is leaving trash on a lake,” said Capt. Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement northeast regional manager in Grand Rapids. “Another factor is the wind, which makes it difficult to prove where the trash came from. And we just don’t have enough conservation officers to thoroughly enforce litter laws.”
Litter is a petty misdemeanor criminal charge with a fine of up to $300.
Conservation officers also have Solid Waste Civil Citation authority.
These civil citations are “by the pound” or “by the cubic foot” penalties, and since they are not criminal charges, they don’t require proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
The person suspected of littering must pay the penalty and clean up the mess.
Conservation officers on Lake Mille Lacs utilize a blaze orange “notice” door tag with a label pasted on the back that essentially asks people to take their litter and blocking materials with them.
Officers place the tag on fish houses, especially those that have litter around them.
The tag also mentions the statute and potential penalty for violating the law.
“Officers will be documenting houses that have litter around them or look like they may be abandoned,” said Lt. Rita Frenzel, Lake Mille Lacs District Enforcement supervisor. “Given the size of Mille Lacs and the number of houses, this may be somewhat hit and miss. But we will be diligent in pursuing litter cases.”
She noted officers will also be talking to resort owners about removing blocking material and remnants of ice bridges discarded on lakes.
The DNR offers the following tips to keep Minnesota waterways clean:
• Set an example for others, especially children, by not littering.
• Properly dispose of tangled fishing line to prevent wildlife from being trapped and injured.
• It is unlawful to dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state. Check with local refuse provider or landfill for disposal.
• Litter is a costly problem that we all end up paying for to keep our roadways, parks, and waterways clean. The act of littering not only hurts our pocketbooks, but it also causes harm to our environment in many ways.
• Keep a litter bag or trash container in your fish house, dark house, or shelter.
• Secure trash container covers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter.
• Cover and secure any vehicle, truck, or trailer carrying refuse.
• When visiting any recreation area, make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy.