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Take a kid fishing and fish free June 7-9

May 27, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Celebrate the end of the school year with a potential angler-to-be by fishing for free with a child 15 or younger, June 7-9, during Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

“This is a great opportunity to discover fishing,” said Mike Kurre, the DNR’s mentoring program coordinator. “Minnesotans 16 or older who take a child 15 or younger fishing don’t need a license that weekend. Opportunities for beginning anglers abound throughout Minnesota.”

Getting started is easy. A boat isn’t needed and there’s even loaner poles and tackle in some areas.

Start by going to www.mndnr.gov/takeakidfishing to learn some terms, basic techniques and shore-fishing locations.

DNR fisheries offices throughout Minnesota also offer some good, old-fashioned angling advice about fishing spots that will keep young anglers happy and safe.

The DNR’s Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program provides urban shore-fishing opportunities across the metro with family-friendly settings, piers, loaner equipment at some locations and a real chance to catch quality fish. Learn more online at www.mndnr.gov/fin.

Four of Minnesota’s nine state parks that are offering this summer’s weekly I Can Fish! program have sessions scheduled during Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend.

Sessions at each park explore the basics of fishing, fish identification and angling tips and tricks.

For more information, go to www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/can_fish.html.

Even when it’s not Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, Minnesota residents may fish in a state park without a fishing license if the body of water doesn’t require a trout stamp.

Anglers must fish from shore or wade in water within the state park or from a boat or a float on a designated lake within a Minnesota state park.

More information on fishing in state parks is available at www.mndnr.gov/state_parks/fishing.html.

“Fishing is one of the easiest and most-accessible outdoor activities in Minnesota,” Kurre said. “Take a kid fishing and, come the end of the trip, you’re both likely to be hooked.”

Fishing Klinic for Kids set for June 15

All area youth and their parents are welcome to attend the 16th annual Fishing Klinic For Kids Saturday, June 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Sturges Park on Buffalo Lake.

Participants will enjoy fishing, as well as visiting with fishing pros. There will also be demonstrations, vendor booths, food, games, activities, fun, and prizes.

There is something for everyone at this family-friendly event.

This is the largest event of its kind in Minnesota. More than 20,000 youth have participated in this program over the years.

For more information on the organization and events, go to www.fishingklinicforkids.com.

DNR urges people to leave fawns alone
From the DNR

May is the month when most fawns are born.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging people to leave fawns alone.

While a new fawn may appear helpless, it’s important not to interfere with the doe’s natural instinct for raising its young, DNR officials said.

A doe’s method of rearing offspring is different from a human’s, especially for the first few weeks.

Wildlife officials explained it this way: Within hours of birth, the fawn is led to a secluded spot and the doe lets it nurse.

Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot. In four or five hours, she will return to feed her young and take them to a new hiding place. Only when the fawns are strong enough to outrun predators, do the young travel much with their mother.

For the first week of life, frightened fawns instinctively freeze, making full use of their white spotted coats, a protective coloration.

Newborn fawns are not fast enough to outdistance predators, so they must depend on their ability to hide for protection.

A fawn’s curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon on it.

The DNR urges people not to try to catch a fawn if they encounter one. Walk away. Never feed or collar a fawn.

Feeding deer can concentrate animals in feeding areas which makes them more susceptible to predation, vehicle collisions, or other unwanted human interactions.

What begins as a good intention to help the animal ultimately lessens the animal’s ability to survive independently.

For questions about an interaction with a wild animal, contact a DNR area wildlife office for suggestions. In most cases, letting nature take its course is the best advice.

Burning restrictions lifted in 32 Minnesota counties
From the DNR

Wet conditions have lowered the fire danger and prompted the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to lift burning restrictions in all or parts of 32 Minnesota counties.

Restrictions were lifted at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 21.

The following counties have been removed from burning restrictions: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Isanti, Itasca, Hennepin, Hubbard, Kanabec, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Polk, Pope, Ramsey, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington and Wright.

Restrictions are also lifted in southern St. Louis and southern Beltrami counties.

Restrictions are lifted in Beltrami County south of Highway 1. In St. Louis County, restrictions are off for that portion south of a line running from Silica on the west to Central Lakes and Brimson on the east.

The exact line is a township line between 55 and 56 north and includes all of township 56.

Although the state burning restrictions are lifted in these counties, local areas, counties or municipalities may have specific regulations or restrictions that affect burning operations.

Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

Restrictions remain in Cook, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau, north St. Louis and north Beltrami counties. It is anticipated these will be lifted soon.

Because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters can turn off burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant.

This could occur if there is a dry, windy day when fires could start easily and burn quickly.

Check the fire restrictions page on the DNR website at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html for information on daily changes to burn permits.

The DNR advises to keep burn piles small, have a water supply nearby, and stay with the fire until it is completely out.

If the fire escapes, homeowner is responsible for the damage and suppression costs.

Burning permits are available through state and federal forestry offices, from local fire wardens, or online by paying a $5 fee per year.

Online permits need to be activated on the day of the burn. See http://webapps1.dnr.state.mn.us/burning_permits/.

Threat of aquatic invasive species re-emerges with boating season
From the DNR

With boating season moving in to high gear this Memorial Day weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding boaters and anglers to be extra vigilant to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).

“Minnesota’s lakes and rivers are one of our most precious resources and we need every person to take responsibility to help prevent and curb the spread of AIS,” said Ann Pierce, DNR invasive species unit supervisor.

Boaters and anglers must know the AIS laws before they hit the water.

“The laws have not changed since last year,” Pierce said. “Before leaving a water access every boater must: clean off aquatic plants and animals, pull the drain plug and leave it out when transporting. They need to drain all water from bait buckets, livewells and boats and dispose of unwanted live bait in the trash. These simple steps protect our waters and may keep you from getting a citation.”

DNR’s stepped up efforts

People can expect watercraft inspectors and conservation officers at public accesses this summer. Statewide plans include:

• Watercraft Inspections – The DNR will have up to 150 authorized inspectors stationed at high-use public waters that are infested with zebra mussels – and 23 hot water decontamination units available to clean infested equipment. Local units of government will also have inspectors at various accesses throughout the state.

• Enforcement – All DNR conservation officers will focus on enforcing AIS laws this season. They will write citations for AIS law violations. Roadside checks will be conducted.

• AIS canine unit –Three zebra-mussel detector dogs, which can find a mussel faster than a human inspector, will help conservation officers at check stations and water accesses this summer.

2012 AIS enforcement and inspection recap

In 2012, watercraft inspectors and conservation officers spent about 81,000 hours inspecting more than 120,000 watercraft/trailers, resulting in 998 citations and 1,550 written warnings.

There were 121 watercraft inspectors who worked most of the open water season inspecting boats and providing information to the public.

An additional 30 inspectors were hired to assist with end-of-season coverage.

AIS citations and fines

Boaters and others who fail to follow AIS laws can expect to receive citations and pay fines. The current fines are:

• Transporting aquatic plants - $100 civil penalty or misdemeanor.

• Transporting water in boats or other water-related equipment - $100 civil penalty or misdemeanor.

• Transporting zebra mussels and other prohibited species of animals - $500 civil penalty or misdemeanor.

For more information about AIS laws, a list of designated infested waters in Minnesota and contact information for AIS specialists throughout the state is available at www.mndnr.gov/ais.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers and boaters.
CO Mies gave a law talk at the Annandale firearms class and assisted by giving a talk at a firearms field day.
CO Mies also worked on a tip call and assisted a neighboring officer.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) had a busy week checking anglers on Wright County Lakes with a crappie bite on in the area.
CO Reller investigated several TIP calls and followed up on possible wetlands violations.
Enforcement action was taken for taking bass out of season and angling without a license.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) checked anglers during the week on area lakes.
Several animal nuisance complaints were handled.
A Red Lake detail was worked with CO Thephong Le.
Enforcement action was taken for watercraft with no sound producing device, no throwable or personal flotation device, registration, fire extinguisher, slow wake, no angling license in possession, angling without valid license, extra lines, no trout stamp and litter at a DNR access.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) patrolled Lake Minnetonka with CO Grewe finding numerous boating, fishing and AIS violations.
She investigated a wetland filling complaint in the City of Chanhassen.
Numerous other calls were handled including beaver complaints, dock issues, and fishermen taking bass out of season.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) investigated three possible wetland violations in Meeker County.
She worked high activity lakes over the weekend with another CO.
Time were spent on ATV enforcement as well.
A complaint of wanton waste was also investigated.
Mueller also spoke at the Hector High School for a career class.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked mostly angling and ATV enforcement.
He checked anglers with some panfish in the bag as well as limits of channel catfish.
Oberg was able to hand out a few PFD Panda Awards to some young boaters.
Oberg also spoke at the Gopher Campfire firearms safety class.