Javier Serna

Five Minnesota destinations for early-ice walleyes

Minnesota’s abundance of lakes also translates into outsized opportunities to catch walleyes early in the ice season, even beyond northern Minnesota, the state’s main region of walleye-angling action. Finding good information about where to fish for early-ice walleyes can be as hands-on as driving around to check on local spots, but it can also be as simple as calling your…

‘Keep It Clean’ campaign ramps up for ’22 ice season

Baudette, Minn. — The Keep It Clean Campaign this ice season is expanding its footprint to work on the trash issue that has become a bigger problem each ice-fishing season, something many attribute to an increase in wheelhouse use. “The point is to educate, promote, and enforce keeping all forms of trash off the ice,” said Joe Henry, longtime executive…

Cougar spotted in south metro area turns up dead

Savage, Minn. — The prospect of seeing a mountain lion strolling through the southern Twin Cities metro area – seemingly confirmed by a fairly clear photo taken by an area teenager of the adult cougar lying on a grassy knoll in a suburban yard – was short-lived. As Bob Fashingbauer, the Minnesota DNR’s Vermillion River Complex wildlife supervisor put it,…

Laker stocking ending in inland Cook County

Grand Marais, Minn. — Inland lake trout lakes in Cook County are now on their own. More precisely, Minnesota DNR Fisheries managers recently decided to discontinue stocking lake trout into Minnesota’s eastern-most county. The decision was decades in the making, and the result of the resiliency of the state’s largest concentration of wild lake trout lakes as well as the…

MSGS pushes for plan to help sharp-tailed grouse

Duluth, Minn. — A collective group of conservationists concerned about the long-term future of sharp-tailed grouse in east-central Minnesota have not given up on the species. But as was suggested with the closure of the hunt in that region of the state (only the state’s northwest population is currently hunted) last year, there are concerns about a decline that’s been…

Canada set to reinstate remote border crossing

Ely, Minn. — For a while, many who had relied on Canada’s Remote Area Border Crossing permit program worried it wouldn’t be reinstated. But word about the program – relied on heavily, for example, by folks with island cabins on the Canadian side of Lake Saganaga or by those wishing to enter Quetico Provincial Park – broke recently that it…

Another county puts hold on new deer farms

Cloquet, Minn. — Carlton County is the latest Minnesota county to decide a moratorium on new cervid (elk and deer) farms is necessary in the fight to prevent chronic wasting disease from spreading. On Tuesday, the Carlton County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to pass a temporary ordinance stopping new farms from opening in the county for one year. The…

Dealers: Sucker minnow shortage could continue

Erhard, Minn. — It hasn’t hit every bait shop in the state, but a shortage of sucker minnows is affecting their availability for most bait dealers around Minnesota. Those in the bait business, namely wild minnow trappers and those who sell the bait to shops around the state, blame the shortage on a double-whammy of bad weather conditions.  “We had…

Expanded walleye take ahead for Mille Lacs?

Isle, Minn. — The walleye bite on Lake Mille Lacs has been so light this summer that the Minnesota DNR is considering liberalizing regs should a catch-and-keep season return Sept. 1. An abundance of forage in the lake has driven down catch rates to the extent that the DNR recently offered a few options for members of the Mille Lacs…

LSOHC members take walk on the wild side

By Javier Serna Assistant Editor Rushford, Minn. — Members of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council hit the road June 22, touring a number of project sites in southeastern Minnesota. It was the first time the council, which recommends to the Legislature how to spend the Outdoor Heritage Fund dollars, was able to take a tour since 2019, due to social-distancing…

Moose survey examines benefits of burns

By Javier Serna Assistant Editor Cloquet, Minn. — The Greenwood Fire, which burned nearly 27,000 acres in Lake County last year, was included in the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s Moose Habitat Survey this year. But no moose were observed in the 8,500-acre survey plot that was chosen to represent the fire area. “There were eight total…

Wildlife Forever keeps up Clean.Drain.Dry. message

Minnesota-based Wildlife Forever tackles the scourge of invasive species with decontamination stations. (Photo courtesy of Wildlife Forever)The Minnesota-based conservation organization Wildlife Forever has been administering the national invasive species campaign, “Clean.Drain.Dry.” since 2006. Since then, the initiative has resulted in 1.9 billion contacts, according to a recent report updating the group’s outreach and educational efforts with the AIS prevention program….

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…