Pelican Lake – ducks, fish, or both

April 19, 2010

by Chris Schultz

Many of you are already well aware of Pelican Lake near Monticello and the tremendous fishery the lake has been for five to six or more years now.

You may also be well aware of the scheduled Pelican Lake Restoration Project that is aimed at restoring the lake to a shallow wetland for waterfowl and other wildlife.

As a part of the restoration, a draw down of the lake has been tentatively scheduled for 2015.

The restoration project has many anglers concerned about the future of Pelican Lake as a fishery.

At this time, the issue is definitely controversial and most likely not settled.

From several phone calls and a modest amount of research, I believe the long-term future of Pelican Lake as a fishery or large wetland more suited for waterfowl is still uncertain.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be taking a closer look at the issue, sharing information from anglers, conservationists, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and other government agencies.

To set the stage, here a few pieces of information on Pelican:

• The lake has been a world class fishery for pan fish, crappies and sunfish both in the winter and open water seasons for several years now.

Typically, lakes of this type will only provide one- or two-year classes of good fishing and all the fish seem to be of the same size.

Pelican has produces and continues to produce fish from many different year classes and many different sizes.

The lake does also produce largemouth bass and northern pike.

• It’s not uncommon for the lake to have hundreds of anglers on it on any given day.

Launching a boat and finding a place to park can be very competitive.

• The shoreline of the lake, surrounded by cattails, looks like a duck slough with many bays and points and by comparison to a majority of lakes in the area, is huge in size.

• Anglers love the lake, as duck hunters probably once did, and in my opinion, the lake has been the hottest fishery in the area for three to four years.

Look for more information on Pelican Lake in the upcoming weeks and if you have any information to share, cast me an e-mail at cschultz@heraldjournal.com.

Wood duck houses for sale at Joe’s Sport Shop in Howard Lake

Joe’s Sport Shop, located on Hwy. 12 in Howard Lake, has wood duck houses for sale.

The supplies for the houses were provided by the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club, and the houses were built by the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA.

The houses are valued at $30, but cost just $25.

Prairie Archers 3D shoot coming up

Prairie Archers will be hosting a 3D shoot Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25.

To get to the event, go three miles south of Hwy 7 on McLeod County Rd. 15, head east on 170th St., and then south on Eagle Ave. a quarter of a mile and follow the signs.

It begins at 8 a.m. both days, ending at 3 p.m. Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The cost is $12 for adults, $8 for youths, with a family maximum of $30. A second time through costs $6.

For additional information, contact Doug at (320) 779-0282 or Jim at (612) 636-7214.

Bowhunter education

The Delano Sportsmen’s Club is hosting a Minnesota bowhunter education seminar this month.

The two-day class is Wednesday, April 21, from 7-9 p.m., and Saturday, April 24, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The seminar will cover bowhunter responsibilities, equipment safety and game laws, techniques, game recovery and care, wildlife conservation, and survival and first aid.

Participants must be 12 years old or older, and students 12-18 years old must have a firearms safety certificate.

The cost is $5. Lunch will be available at an extra cost.

Register by calling Mike Speckel at (763) 477-3619.

The class is limited to the first 25 people registered.

This week is wild fire prevention week
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has declared Sunday April, 18 through Saturday, April 24 as Wildfire Prevention Week to increase awareness of outdoor fire hazards.

Normally, spring wildfire activity in the state begins in the metro area and moves north as the snow melts and green-up progresses northward.

This year, due to the unusually warm, dry weather, the entire state entered fire season at about the same time.

“The vegetation in the fields, swamps and other open areas is dead and dry,” said Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator. “The fire danger in these areas remains a concern until new vegetation appears. Without adequate spring rain, we’re busy chasing fires.”

The early fire season has stretched thin Minnesota’s wildland firefighters and local fire departments.

Himanga encourages people to make a special effort to check burning restrictions in their areas, to remember to obtain a permit, to carefully control their debris fires and to remember that piled debris can hold hot coals for several days.

The DNR has already placed additional restrictions on burning activities; limiting campfires in dispersed areas.

As always, the DNR encourages landowners to find alternatives to burning, such as chipping or composting.

Every year, DNR Forestry personnel respond to some 1,500 wildfires.

Most are caused by careless and unnecessary debris burning.

So far this year, DNR firefighters have responded to 705 fires that have burned 15,084 acres.

Urdahl serving on sportsmen’s group
Press Release

Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, recently accepted a position with the Minnesota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.

The caucus is a bipartisan group of legislators from both the Minnesota Senate and House who have an interest in issues that are important to Minnesota sports enthusiasts.

The caucus and its operating guidelines are sanctioned by the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance, its supporting foundation.

“I’m honored to join the Sportsmen’s Caucus,” Urdahl said. “I look forward to working with the caucus to promote hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities Minnesotans enjoy.”

Caucus membership requires a legislator to sign a general statement in support of hunting and fishing traditions.

As a member of the Sportsmen’s Caucus, a legislator will attend at least two caucus meetings during the legislative session and one outdoor-associated banquet during the year.

Members are not bound to particular votes, however.

“The Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance is delighted to welcome Rep. Urdahl to the Sportsmen’s Caucus and we look forward to working with him on hunting, fishing, shooting, and trapping issues,” said Don McMillan, President of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance Foundation.

The Sportsmen’s Caucus meets bi-weekly with the MOHA to gather support for key issues.

The caucus has been officially recognized by the National Association of Sportsmen Caucuses and the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation.

“I’m pleased to welcome Rep. Urdahl as the newest member of the Sportsmen’s Caucus,” said caucus chair Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, D-Fridley. “I encourage sportsmen to contact Rep. Urdahl with their thoughts and to congratulate him on his written pledge to support sportsmen issues.”

DNR lifts temporary road and trail closures in many state forests
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has opened many – but not all – of the roads and trails temporarily closed to highway licensed vehicles, commercial vehicles, and off-highway vehicles (OHV) used in Minnesota state forests this spring.

“Until the frost comes out of the roads and trails, the soil stays soft and may be susceptible to damage,” explained Mary Straka, OHV program consultant for the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails. “Even if the vegetation is dry and burn restrictions are in effect, the roads and trails may not be firm yet. So we ask that riders check out our status reports frequently.”

State forest roads and trails closure status reports are listed on the DNR Web site which is updated by 2 p.m. every Thursday and more often when possible.

The DNR has posted signs announcing closures at state forest entry points and parking lots.

Updates on the status of specific state forest roads and trails are also available from the DNR Information Center, (651) 296-6157 or toll-free at 888-MINNDNR (646 6367), between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Outdoor notes

• Remember to purchase your new 2010 Minnesota Angling License.

• Look for the morel mushroom hunt to get going a little earlier then normal this year.

The best hunting usually occurs when the lilacs are blooming.

• The crappies are biting. Pelican, Waconia, Big Waverly, Ida, and few more have all been producing nice-sized fish.

• Big Don’s Carthederal in Lester Prairie is now a DNR license agent.

• League trapshooting at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club begins Wednesday evening.
For more information call (320) 395-2258.

• Take some time to watch spring happen.

• Good luck to all the spring turkey hunters.

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