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Friday, June 14th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Friday, June 14th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Steve McComas

Steve McComas: Some detective tips for investigating lake history in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, it could be 21,871 lakes if all water bodies over 2.5 acres were included. That’s plenty of potential cases for me to investigate, while still leaving plenty for interested anglers or other users to conduct their own investigations.
Here are some tips for when you’re doing background checks on a lake’s history. I combine old-school sleuthing with updated digital approaches.

Steve McComas: Some detective tips for investigating lake history in Minnesota Read More »

Steve McComas: Some welcome surprises in Minnesota waters this spring

In the past month, I’ve been tracking the notorious curlyleaf pondweed. Under optimal conditions, it can produce more than 700 stems per square meter (spacing of one stem every 2 inches). This presents not only a recreational hindrance, but when the stem density is that high, fish can barely swim through that dense jungle. It’s poor fish habitat.

Steve McComas: Some welcome surprises in Minnesota waters this spring Read More »

Steve McComas: For Minnesota fish, water conditions are a-changin’

Temperature is a regulator regarding the distribution and abundance of aquatic plants and fish in lakes.
With that in mind, consider that this winter has been super mild, but over the years, weird winters or summers raised the question: Is this a blip or a trend? It takes a few years to distinguish a blip from a trend.

Steve McComas: For Minnesota fish, water conditions are a-changin’ Read More »

Case review: Water levels continued to be a big story for Minnesota lakes in 2023

Once again, weather influenced lakes and lake biology in 2023. Before ice-up in 2022, water levels in some shallow ponds were so low we couldn’t set trap nets for fish surveys. In fact, lake water levels across the state were low.
At the start of 2023, the snowpack was above average, and as the winter progressed, I wondered if low lake levels, thick ice, and above-average snowpack would produce significant winterkill conditions.

Case review: Water levels continued to be a big story for Minnesota lakes in 2023 Read More »

Steve McComas: The lifespans of fish tell a story

Let’s consider the fish within a slot limit.
Minnesota’s Lake Mille Lacs for example had a recent walleye slot (which expires Nov. 30) of 20 to 23 inches with one over 28 inches. The new slot begins Friday, Dec. 1, when Mille Lacs anglers can keep one walleye 21 to 23 inches long or one longer than 28 inches. I was wondering how old those walleyes were in the slot, so I did some investigating.

Steve McComas: The lifespans of fish tell a story Read More »

Local knowledge is of utmost value when it comes to understanding lakes

I’ve been working on lakes for more than 40 years, and one thing I’ve learned is that not all knowledge comes from books. The best tips, observations, and insights have come from longtime anglers and lake observers. It’s local knowledge.
A few years ago, I was having a beer at a northwoods tavern with some locals, and the discussion veered into the old logging days. Little Bearskin Lake (Wisconsin) had a lot of shoreline log cabins, and I asked why. The backstory was that at the turn of the century, loggers went on strike, and the boomed logs on the lake froze into the ice over winter.

Local knowledge is of utmost value when it comes to understanding lakes Read More »

Food buffet in many Minnesota lakes set for migrating ducks

The Minnesota waterfowl-hunting season opened Sept. 23, and ducks should have been enjoying a smorgasbord, because aquatic plants were extra-abundant in lakes and ponds this summer.
A number of factors contributed to impressive aquatic plant growth, including low lake water levels, June heat, and clear water. Sunlight penetration and heat are perfect ingredients for promoting plant growth. Several abundant aquatic plants observed in plant surveys I conducted this year were water celery, sago pondweed, and water stargrass.

Food buffet in many Minnesota lakes set for migrating ducks Read More »

Aquatic plants: Which are best, and how are they impacting fish and anglers?

Reports coming across my desk indicate it’s been a weedy summer in many Minnesota lakes: plants clogging personal watercraft propellers, pontoon motors operated in reverse to clear weeds, and uprooted plants washing ashore. Although these are recreational problems, I’ve investigated how plants might be affecting fish and anglers.

Aquatic plants: Which are best, and how are they impacting fish and anglers? Read More »

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