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New walleye regulation at Mille Lacs Lake; good fishing expected

April 16, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Anglers who fish Mille Lacs Lake during the 2012 season will be able to keep walleye less than 17 inches in length, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

This is a change from last year’s regulation that allowed keeping of walleye less than 18 inches.

The 17- to 28-inch protected slot regulation is designed to keep the walleye harvest by state licensed anglers within the state’s allocation of safe harvest.

One walleye 28 inches or longer may be included in the four-fish limit.

The walleye season is scheduled to open Saturday, May 12.

“We expect anglers to do very well at Mille Lacs,” said Dirk Peterson, DNR Fisheries Section chief. “The winter bite was good. The open water bite should be very good, too.” He said the new regulation on Mille Lacs is identical to that of Rainy Lake and similar to regulations on several other large walleye lakes.

Mille Lacs Lake is being managed this year for a safe walleye harvest level of 500,000 pounds.

The state angler allocation is 357,500 pounds.

The tribal allocation is 142,500 pounds.

The DNR met with the citizen-comprised Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group twice this past winter to discuss fishing issues.

Peterson reminds anglers that Mille Lacs also offers outstanding muskellunge and smallmouth bass fishing.

The muskellunge season opens June 2. The smallmouth bass season on Mille Lacs opens May 26.

Crow River/Winsted DU Banquet today

The 32nd annual Crow River/Winsted Ducks Unlimited Banquet is set for Monday, April 16 at the Blue Note in Winsted.

A cash bar will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner program at 7 p.m.

Tickets will be available at the door.

Upcoming events at Waverly Gun Club

Below is a list of the upcoming events at the Waverly Gun Club. For more information, go to www.waverlygunclub.org.

• Handgun league – starting Wed., May 2 for four weeks rom 5 to 8 p.m.

• Summer league for teams and individuals – starting Thursday, May 3 and begins at 6:30 p.m.

• Merchandise shoot – it is Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and lunch is available.

• Women’s pistol league – starts Tuesday, May 6, and continues the second Tuesday of the month throughout the summer.

Confiscated hunting, fishing equipment auction set for April 28
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold an auction of confiscated hunting and fishing equipment Saturday, April 28 beginning at 10 a.m.

The auction items are from people who forfeited their equipment after committing serious game violations.

The public auction will be held at Hiller Auction Service, 10785 261st Ave., Zimmerman, MN.

Items offered for sale include, but are not limited to: firearms, bows, tree stands, fishing rods and reels, tip-ups, traps, trail camera, depth finders, spotlights, scopes, spears, and hand ice augers.

There are 309 firearms, 72 bows, 236 other items, and 37 firearms being sold for parts.

Inspection of items will be available Friday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at 8 a.m. the day of the auction.

Once the auction begins, there will be no access to firearms.

All equipment is sold as is, including all defects or faults, known or unknown.

Items cannot be returned once they have been purchased.

Buyers may bring their own cases and there will be cases available for purchase to transport firearms.

Anyone purchasing a firearm will be required to pass a background check.

A list of firearms and bows being offered for sale is available by visiting the auction website at www.hillerauction.com/apr28.html.

New required aquatic invasive species rules decal for boaters now available
From the DNR

A new required decal is now available for Minnesota boaters to help remind them of the state’s aquatic invasive species laws, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.

The free decals are available from:

• DNR offices.
• Deputy registrar offices where licenses are sold.
• Large sporting goods shops.
• DNR watercraft inspectors and conservation officers.

The decals will also be included in envelopes with new and renewal watercraft licenses mailed from the DNR.

The decal should be attached to all types of watercraft including canoes, kayaks and duckboats before launching on, entering into, or operating on any Minnesota waters.

The two-piece, gray-and-black decals detail new state laws that watercraft users must follow in order to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and spiny waterfleas.

The decal must be attached to the watercraft, but state law does not specify where that must occur.

DNR officials recommend displaying it where it can be read and can be shown to an officer upon request.

However, the decal does not need to be in view of the operator (as is the case with the state’s personal watercraft decal), and it does not need to be placed near the watercraft registration decals.

If a watercraft owner does not want to stick the decal on the boat because it is an antique wooden boat or other unique boat, the decal can be attached or laminated to an object like a luggage tag and kept in the boat.

There are two parts to the decal. Watercraft owners and operators must display the top portion of the decal on all watercraft prior to launching on, entering into, or operating on any waters of Minnesota.

The second portion of the decal is intended to be placed on the winch post of watercraft trailers or in another area to remind boaters to remove the boat’s drain plug when leaving a water access area as required by state law.

It also reminds boaters to replace the plug before launching.

This decal is not required by law.

There is no penalty in effect, but conservation officers can issue a warning for not displaying the decal.

After Aug. 1, 2014, it will be a petty misdemeanor for boaters who fail to display the decal on their watercraft.

More information about aquatic invasive species laws is available at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquatic_qa.html.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers. CO Mies attended radiological training in St Paul.
CO Mies gave a law talk at a firearms class in Howard Lake. CO Mies also checked on illegal fires and wetland complaints.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) attended a meeting at Camp Ripley about training for the Academy.
Reller also checked anglers and boaters and followed up on several TIP calls.
Some anglers were still having some luck with a pan fish bite.
This year the bite has been spread out more with some days so much better than the next.
Enforcement action was taken for over-limit pan fish, violations of the motorized watercraft restriction zone on Pelican lake and AIS laws.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) investigated litter and encroachment onto the Luce Line State Trail.
Anglers were checked all week having good success.
Three teenage girls were out on Lake Waconia on a paddle boat when it started sinking, lucky they were wearing their life jackets since they had to swim 300 yards to shore in 51 degree water.
They were all taken to the hospital suffering from hypothermia.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) checked fishermen on area lakes.
She responded to several TIP calls about people taking bass out of season.
She also worked public accesses for invasive species/drain plug violations and patrolled Fort Snelling State Park.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) spent time following up on more accidental muskrat, raccoon and otter catches.
Time was also spent attending Use of Force training at Camp Ripley.
Officer Oberg also spent time checking shore anglers around the area.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling and boating activity.
Additional time was spent checking and advising boaters and anglers of invasive species.
Hatlestad also checked trapping activity, and continues to pick up incidental fur.
Time was also spent assisting with academy training, and speaking at a FAS class in Cedar Mills.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: I understand two peregrine falcons have returned to a nest box on top of the Bremer Bank Building in St. Paul.
Is this the same pair that was there last year?

A: Yes, this is the same pair that has been at this box for the last nine years.

The male was fledged 18 years ago from a nest near the Minnesota River.

His partner is 10 years old and was fledged from a box at the high bridge in St. Paul.

This will be their ninth family together, and will add to the 24 chicks they have successfully raised.

This pair is significant because they do not migrate south during the winter in order to maintain this territory.

Because of remaining during the winter, the male has lost four of his eight talons to frost bite.

This does not seem to hinder his hunting and providing for his family.

Donations to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff have paid for a live camera inside the box, so now the public can watch them lay their eggs and raise their young in real time at www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/peregrine.html.