Javier Serna

Minnesota DNR survey sheds new light on spruce grouse population

Grand Rapids, Minn. — The first year of Minnesota DNR’s new spruce grouse survey shed new light on these northern birds that sometimes show up in the bags of ruffed grouse hunters. A partnership of volunteers, as well as DNR, National Forest Service and tribal staff combined to map out a range for the birds as winter gave way to…

In Minnesota, ruffed grouse hunters begin season with guarded optimism

Grand Rapids, Minn. — Ted Dick isn’t going out on a limb after the disappointment of last year’s ruffed grouse season. After the hunt last year didn’t live up to the hype of summer drumming counts, which were 2.1 drums per stop statewide, Dick, the Minnesota DNR’s forest game bird coordinator, wasn’t taking any chances after this summer, 1.5 drums…

Anglers adjusting to Minnesota’s new northern pike zones

St. Paul — Minnesota’s new northern pike zone regulations are on their maiden voyage, having began with this year’s open-water season. But it could take more than a decade before the desired effects will be seen. While there’s been skepticism expressed (in Outdoor News and elsewhere) from people who don’t believe the regulations will work as intended (increase the size…

Minnesota bear baiters set to face off against natural foods

Grand Rapids, Minn. — Certainly, conditions could change between now and the end of Minnesota’s bear-hunting season, but black bears will head into the baiting season, which opens Friday, Aug. 17, fairly well satiated from mostly above-average berry production throughout most of the bear range this summer. The general line from most state wildlife managers across the northern tier of…

Groups react to Minnesota DNR’s new deer-management plan

St. Paul — Reactions were mixed as deer hunters began to digest the final version of the Minnesota White-Tailed Deer Management Plan, the first such state plan that was release July 24 by the Minnesota DNR. A more thorough review of the 50-page document and supporting materials also revealed in more detail the changes that were made in this final…

Minnesota’s LCCMR considers implications of legislators’ trust-fund raid

St. Paul — The risks and effects of the Legislature’s unprecedented move to raid the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund of $98 million over the next 20 years have been examined by the commission charged with recommending how the funding is spent. On July 18, several members of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, which is responsible for recommending…

On Lake Superior, other northern Minnesota waters, Coast Guard plans to crack down on unlicensed trips

Duluth, Minn. — The U.S. Coast Guard announced this week that it would be stepping up enforcement measures to stop boat operators from illegally taking passengers for hire without the proper licenses on Lake Superior and other waters of northern Minnesota. Apparently, a similar enforcement campaign last year on the Chicago-area waters of Lake Michigan found that 50 percent of…

In Minnesota, next round of Outdoor Heritage Fund requests considered

St. Paul — Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council members have begun poring over the next round of proposals – there are 45, totaling more than $264 million. It’s estimated there will be about $100 million available for appropriation recommendations in this round, which is for fiscal year 2020. It’s possible the estimate may be revised after November. While council members have…

A busy summer for Minnesota high school bass anglers

Florence, Ala. — Young anglers fishing in Minnesota’s Student Angler Tournament Trail have had a busy summer thus far, as the upstart high school bass-fishing league attempts to make further inroads statewide. This past weekend, two high school teams from Minnesota qualified for the final day of the 2018 High School Fishing World Finals and National Championship dual event on…

Minnesota’s Kouffeld among finalists in Extreme Huntress competition

Grand Rapids, Minn. — Meadow Kouffeld, one of two Minnesota women among the 20 semi-finalists for the online Extreme Huntress competition, advanced to the final round and will compete against three other women at a Texas hunting ranch in August. Kouffeld, of Grand Rapids, made a push on social media in the final weeks of a public online vote, where…

Don Pereira retires from post as Minnesota DNR’s Fisheries chief

St. Paul — Don Pereira knew it wouldn’t be an easy job, but he still found running the state’s fisheries program rewarding. Pereira, chief of the Minnesota DNR’s Section of Fisheries for just shy of five years, said it was always his plan to do the job for about four to six years. His pending retirement was made public last…

Minnesota DNR: About 1,000 walleyes die during Little Cut Foot Sioux egg take

Deer River, Minn. — It turns out an estimated 1,000 walleyes died during DNR’s Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake walleye egg take earlier this month. Problems with the egg take, which ensued after winds shifted and pushed a pocket of low-oxygenated water into the narrows where DNR crews set trap nets, were mentioned in last week’s story on the statewide…

Tribal walleye take underway on Lake Mille Lacs

Aitkin, Minn. — Tribal and state fishing has commenced even without an agreement between state and tribal fisheries managers on a safe allowable harvest quota for Lake Mille Lacs. State anglers are working with a quota of 76,450 pounds of walleye (after deductions for overages and winter harvest), based on their share of the 150,000 pounds of walleye that state…

Pace of ’18 Minnesota wild turkey harvest accelerates with better weather

St. Paul — Minnesota spring turkey kill numbers appear to be down a bit, now that statewide data has become available. A data request showed that the turkey take was preliminarily at about 5,300 birds through April 30. That’s about 18 percent fewer than last year’s roughly 6,450 turkeys taken during the same time period. Leslie McInenly, the Minnesota DNR’s…

Minnesota DNR crews getting set for Mille Lacs walleye population estimate

Garrison, Minn. — It’s time for Minnesota DNR Fisheries crews to get back out on Lake Mille Lacs and conduct their first of two (in back-to-back years) population estimates done during a five-year cycle. If only the weather would cooperate and quickly melt away the considerable amount of ice that still covers the lake. Such a scenario also was present…

Minnesota angler lands muskie on his fishfinder’s transducer

Maple Lake, Minn. — Spencer Ledwein was dangling a transducer down an ice hole, looking for crappies, when instead, a 50-inch muskie found him. That’s right, Ledwein iced a 50-inch muskie – not by hook and line, but via fishfinder transducer. Ledwein, of Annandale, happens to be a muskie angler (his personal best was 43 inches), well aware that the…

In Minnesota, committee gets glimpse of 50-plus-page deer plan draft

St. Paul — Minnesota’s first deer-management plan is nearing completion, with the general public scheduled to get a look and be able to comment on it in April, DNR officials said last week. On March 14, the latest draft of the plan was presented to the Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee, which then offered comments to DNR staff now working…

Minnesota legislation: Limited casting net usage could become permanent

St. Paul — A DNR bill being carried by Rep. Dan Fabian would make permanent a temporary rule that gave mainly sturgeon and catfish anglers the ability to use casting nets to catch gizzard shad for bait on portions of the Mississippi, St. Croix, and Minnesota rivers. The temporary rule, which expired in Dec. 1, originally was brought forth by…

In Minnesota, angler survey probable next step in walleye bag discussion

Rice, Minn. — It’s not a done deal, according to state fisheries managers, but responses to an upcoming survey regarding a proposal to drop the statewide walleye bag from six fish to four will be keenly watched. That was the latest news regarding the proposal, which has been discussed and debated heavily at the past two annual DNR roundtable events,…

In Minnesota, group working on update of Lake of the Woods fish plan

Baudette, Minn. — The walleye fishing has been good on Lake of the Woods for a while now. Has it been too good? Walleyes are one of several topics of discussion as the Minnesota DNR leads an update of its Lake of the Woods Fisheries Management Plan, which began with monthly meetings in December. It appears, though, that changes to…

Minnesota legislators taking note of Lake Mille Lacs situation

Isle, Minn. — With the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee set to hear about an external review of Mille Lacs fisheries management, those concerned with the lake’s walleyes also were anticipating what the coming open-water season might look like. State and tribal officials are set to hash things out for the coming season on Feb. 6, during a meeting of…

In Minnesota, study sheds more light on clearer Lake Mille Lacs

Bloomington, Minn. — Just what clearer waters on Lake Mille Lacs might mean for the lake’s walleyes is the subject of new research by the Minnesota DNR’s fisheries systems ecologist, Gretchen Hansen. Hansen had the floor during the fisheries portion of the Minnesota DNR Roundtable at the DoubleTree hotel in Bloomington, where invited stakeholders spend the day discussing and listening…

Minnesota’s deer-management plan heads toward finish line

Sauk Rapids, Minn. — How many deer Minnesota hunters can sustainably harvest was one of several topics debated at the 12th and final scheduled meeting of the appointed Deer Management Plan Advisory Committee. The meeting was Dec. 13. The DMPAC, which began meeting as a 19-member group exactly a year ago, did not come up with a two-thirds majority vote…

What made the 2013 year-class so special at Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs?

Isle, Minn. — For the past several years, most Lake Mille Lacs walleye discussion and debate at some point veers toward the vaunted 2013 year-class of walleyes, which will, finally, reach full reproductive maturity this spring. The 2013 fish have been viewed as important to the lake’s walleye reproduction ever since fisheries managers determined the class’s proportion. It remains the…