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June 9, 2006

DNR considers duck season zoning, splitting options

Famous faces gather to fish in Duluth area, support a great cause

Boaters prepped for rising fuel prices

Campers asked to leave firewood home to curb invasive species

DNR to survey many lakes in northern Minnesota

DNR considers duck season zoning, splitting options

DNR News
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will make a regulatory decision in July that will have implications for duck hunters during the five-year period of 2006-2010 if the duck season is less than 40 days.
The DNR, as required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, must decide whether to zone the state for duck hunting, meaning different season dates in different zones, or to split the season into three segments. The latter would mean the same open duck season dates statewide, according to Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl staff specialist
“We need to make this decision because every five years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires states to select a zoning or splitting regulatory framework for the next five-year period,” Cordts said. “The decision - meaning to zone or split - becomes meaningful only if duck seasons are significantly reduced from the 60-day seasons offered in recent years. If season length is substantially reduced, we would fall back on our zoning or splitting decision to best manage the season so that hunters would have both early- and late-season hunting opportunities.”
The DNR has already received public input on this topic and will continue to consider additional comments received prior to making a decision in July.

Zones and split seasons for duck hunting are special regulations used to provide different season timing to satisfy different duck hunter preferences. These regulations are not intended to substantially alter the distribution or species composition of harvest within a state, but are often used by states to provide additional flexibility for timing duck hunting seasons.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established a long-term strategy in 1991 for the use of zones and split seasons to limit the number of options and frequency of changes made by states. At five-year intervals, states are allowed to select one of the following three options for duck seasons:
1) establishment of three zones, with no split seasons in any zone;
2) establishment of two zones, each of which can be split into up to two segments; or
3) no zones, but the season can be split into up to three segments.
“Since 1991, Minnesota has always selected the option of splitting the season into three segments to get later season hunting opportunity and to gain weekend hunting days in years when the season framework was less than 40 days,” said Cordts. “Minnesota has never selected a zoning option.”
While Minnesota is required to declare its selection every five years, the splitting or zoning option is only used in years when the duck season framework is relatively short compared with the 60-day framework that has been in effect in recent years. Past policy has been to use the option of splitting the duck season only when the federally authorized season length is less than 40 days. The last time the Minnesota duck season was split was in 1993. From 1991-1993, duck seasons were 30 days and the Minnesota season was split into three segments.

While zones or split seasons offer flexibility to distribute hunting opportunity during the season, they also add complexity to the regulations that may impact hunter satisfaction. In addition, Minnesota duck hunters may prefer different options based on the region where they live or hunt and the timing of freeze-up and migration. For example, in years of short duck seasons, hunters in northern Minnesota tend to prefer maximum opportunity during October before freeze-up and do not tend to favor splitting the season. Hunters in southern Minnesota tend to prefer a split with some closed days in October in exchange for some open hunting days later in the season.
Establishment of zones can also be controversial. There is debate about where zone lines should be located, particularly in areas near zone boundaries. Also, hunters shifting from zone to zone to take advantage of open duck hunting days can increase competition among hunters for limited hunting locations.

Questions about zoning or splitting were asked in a statistically valid survey of 2005 licensed waterfowl hunters. Preliminary results from that survey indicate that hunters either preferred a zone option or a straight season, with less support for a statewide season split into three segments. When asked where a zone line should be located, there was less agreement.
Duck season zoning and splitting was also a topic at 18 public waterfowl meetings conducted around the state in April 2005. Attendees at those meetings were asked to complete a survey that included preferences for duck hunting zones or split seasons. Those attendees also tended to favor the option of zoning rather than splitting the season into three segments.

DECISION FOR 2006-2010
If there is a short duck season during 2006 through 2010, the availability of a zoning or splitting option will ensure that season timing can be adjusted so that Minnesota duck hunters will be able to hunt the early part of the season, when most duck harvest occurs, and still be provided some opportunity for hunting later in the season.
Minnesota will make the selection of zoning or splitting options in July. The DNR will continue to consider additional comments received before the final decision is made. Comments can be e-mailed to waterfowl@dnr.state.mn.us

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Famous faces gather to fish in Duluth area, support a great cause

Photos courtesy Visit Duluth (www.visitduluth.com)
Left: E.D. Hill, anchor for Fox News Channel’s live morning show “Fox and Friends,” wet a line in the ALS tournament which was held in the Duluth area on Saturday. E.D. poses with Celebrity Host Jim Johnson (left) and Tournament Director Dave Kolquist, whose brother has ALS. This tournament has raised over one million dollars for the Minnesota ALS Chapter.

Middle: Gene Shaw, Director of Public Relations for Visit Duluth, holds the Berkley Big Fish of the tournament, a 7.43-pound walleye, which was released back into Island Lake. Admiring their big walleye are first place winners of the tournament, Daryl Busker of Austin, Minn. and Keith “Whitey” Mogren of Somerset, Wis.

Right: Daryl Busker and Keith “Whitey” Mogren (middle in red hats) smile for a photo with Celebrity Hosts for the tournament, Jim Johnson (left), Darby Hendrickson (back center) and Kent Hrbek.

Visit Duluth Reports
HERMANTOWN, Minn. - Hunger pangs came at the perfect time for Keith “Whitey” Mogren and Daryl Busker. That’s when the fish got hungry, too, as the pair claimed their first ever Luther-Eggebrecht ALS Walleye Tournament title.
Busker and Mogren’s total weight of 13.76 pounds for three walleyes easily bested the field of 206 boats on Island Lake, just north of Duluth.
One of their three walleyes weighed in at 7.43 pounds and another was over five pounds. And it was all because the pair decided to stop for lunch.
“It was dumb luck,” Mogren said. The team had decided to stop for lunch, but drop a couple of bobbers in the water while they ate their sandwiches. The winning walleyes must have gotten hungry at the same time, because before they knew it, they’d landed the 7.43-pound walleye. About 10 minutes later, they boated the 5-pounder.
Mogren lives in Somerset, Wisconsin, and Busker is from Austin, Minnesota. It’s the first time a team from outside of Northeastern Minnesota has won the tournament.
Jim Busker and Bill Lounsberry finished second. The duo from Duluth caught six walleyes, weighing 9.76 pounds. Jim and Daryl Busker are not related.
“We’re thrilled for Whitey and Daryl,” said tournament director David Kolquist. “They’ve both fished our tournament and supported our cause for a lot of years and they’re great people to be champions of our tournament.
Busker and Mogren’s 7.43-pounder was the biggest of the day, also garnering the pair top honors in the Berkley Big Walleye Bonanza. Duluth anglers Richard Eimer and Tim Wagner were runners-up in that portion of the event with a walleye weighing 6.10 pounds.
Professional athletes Kent Hrbek, Jim Johnson, and Darby Hendrickson, hosted the one-day event.
Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a fatal disease that affects more than 30,000 people in the United States and 300 in Minnesota. Thirteen new cases are diagnosed each day. Patients eventually become paralyzed, but their minds remain unaffected. Although there is currently no cure or treatment, research in recent years has made startling in-roads toward those ends. Dollars raised will not only go toward furthering this research, but also toward helping ALS patients here in the Northland.

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Boaters prepped for rising fuel prices

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) – Owners of marinas in Minnesota are advising boaters to slow down and tweak their engines to conserve fuel so rising fuel prices won’t hit them so hard in the pocketbook.
But many boaters say they won’t let high prices keep them off the water.
Bill Buth says he heads for the Stillwater Marina where he keeps his 36-foot cabin cruiser on Thursday nights and stays until Sunday – or Monday if he can.
But he expects paying nearly $4 a gallon for boat fuel on the St. Croix River will mean some changes.
“There’ll probably be a lot less hard running,” Buth said.
“...Worst-case scenario, if I don’t take the boat out of the slip, it’s a great lake home.”
A recent survey of 1,900 boaters by a national trade association found that about 25 percent plan to cut their time on the water because of rising gas prices. But the majority said they were more likely to cut back dining out, entertainment and driving than cut the amount they go boating.
Larry and Michelle Stiehl of Stockton spend most summer weekends in their air-conditioned houseboat docked at Dick’s Marine Inc. in Winona.
They recently upgraded to a 44-foot Gibson, which they bought in Hastings and cruised the 90 miles downriver to Winona.
Before leaving Hastings, they forked out $400 to fill the two 60 gallon gas tanks that power the boat’s twin 270-horse-power engines. The boat gets 1.5 miles per gallon.
“Boats need gas – there’s no way around it,” Michelle Stiehl said. “Once the boat’s in the water for the season, there’s no turning back.”
At Watergate Marina in St. Paul, employee Sandie Zak said putting gas into her two 40-gallon tanks “is like filling up two cars instead of one.” Zach said she expects to make fewer overnight trips to places like Minneapolis and Red Wing because of the high gas prices. She figures each trip she skips will save about $150.
The typical overnight trip cost of $150 to $400 in gas might keep boaters closer to home, said marina manager Adam Wilson.
“There’ll be evening cocktail cruises, just nice and easy, not running open throttle,” he said.
On the other hand, Wilson thinks people are more prepared for the price this year than they were last year.
“Most people buy a boat to use a boat,” he said.
Chuck Dillerud fits that mold.
The Lake Elmo city planner captained his new 38-foot cruiser Charlie’s Angel II from Dubuque, Iowa, 260 miles up the Mississippi to Watergate Marina last week.
His diesel-engine boat averaged a mile per gallon.
“If you’re spending six figures for a boat, the gas being 50 cents higher isn’t going to affect you,” Dillerud said.
He did full up in La Crosse, Wis., where fuel was about 30 cents cheaper a gallon than in St. Paul. The boat still used about $700 in gas.
Brian Dineen helped Dillerud pilot his boat up the river, but takes a different view when it comes to his own 37-foot houseboat.
“It looks like this year that gas will be the controlling factor of whether we go out,” Dineen said. “The people who love the water will be down there no matter what. They just won’t go anywhere.”
Higher priced fuel doesn’t seem to translate directly from the large river boats to Minnesota’s inland lake boats.
Jan Dehnert, owner of Tally’s Dockside on White Bear Lake, said gas prices probably wouldn’t affect her boat rental and slip business. The 91-octane gas at her dock sold for $3.759 a gallon recently, but a lot of her customers can bring cheaper fuel from gas stations.
“I’m sure it always has an impact, but they’re still recreating,” she said. “People are still renting boats.”
When people on lakes get on their boats – which at Tally’s are typically shorter than 26 feet – they’ll go out, she said. But, “On the river, you have sleeping cruisers, electricity, cable. So they would come down and it would be like their cabin.”

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Campers asked to leave firewood home to curb invasive species
ST. PAUL (AP) – In an effort to slow the spread of invasive species like gypsy moths or emerald ash borers, state officials are recommending that campers buy firewood locally, instead of packing their own.
Emerald ash borers have already killed ash trees in parts of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. As a result, Wisconsin recently banned out-of-state campers from bringing firewood into state parks.
In Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources is pondering new policies on firewood. But for now, officials recommend that people simply leave their firewood at home.
“We don’t want it moved, especially long distances,” said Steve Katovich, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist based in St. Paul. “It is proving to be a very good conduit for tree-killing insects and diseases.”
There is no overall policy to provide safe, inexpensive firewood at all of the private, federal and state campground options – and authorities concede they’ve got a lot of work to do.
“If you are going to tell them not to bring firewood, you have to provide a cheap alternative,” Katovich said.
Fully staffed state parks that allow camping sell small bundles of firewood, usually for $3 to $5.
Ed Quinn, the DNR’s coordinator of the resource-management program for state parks, said the state checks with local dealers to make sure the wood sold at those parks is from a local source.
But transporting firewood is such an unregulated industry that authorities admit they often don’t know where the wood came from.
Kathy Kromroy, plant pathologist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s invasive species unit, said there is talk of requiring firewood dealers to be licensed.
It’s not clear what percentage of Minnesota campers actually pack their own firewood, but informal surveys last year suggest it could be more than half. The rate is smaller for out-of-state campers who travel longer distances.
Native trees often lack natural defenses against invasive species, so the pests can inflict serious damage.
Gypsy moths, which can hitching rides on firewood, have infested much of Wisconsin and have made periodic forays into Minnesota, where the state agriculture department is continually stamping out infestations.
Several years ago, Asian longhorned beetles were found in Chicago, prompting tree-cutting there. Recently, emerald ash borers have proved particularly unsettling.
The tiny green beetles are natives of Asia. They were discovered in Michigan in 2002 and already have killed more than 15 million ash trees in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. In many cases, the pests were spread when people took infested firewood to campsites and cabins.
“A lot of green, white and black ash and all three are very susceptible to this insect. This may largely eliminate ash from our forests,” Katovich said.
While emerald ash borers aren’t known to be in Minnesota yet, state and federal officials believe the sooner people change firewood habits, the better.
In Minnesota and western Wisconsin, keeping firewood at home also can limit the spread of tree-defoliating gypsy moths and oak wilt.
Andrea Diss-Torrance, gypsy moth program coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said if states can slow the movement of firewood, it will help.
“We’re finally waking up and realizing the movement of firewood isn’t worth the misery it causes,” she said.

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DNR to survey many lakes in northern Minnesota

DNR Reports
Aitkin area
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Area Fisheries Office in Aitkin has released its assessment schedule for the summer of 2006.
Surveys and assessments are done on a regular basis to monitor changes in fish populations, and to determine if management strategies have been effective. Survey frequency varies on each lake based on ongoing management evaluations and by angler use. Large lakes with heavy use are scheduled more frequently than small remote lakes with natural fish populations. Lakes that are stocked on a regular basis are sampled more frequently to assess stocking success and monitor growth rates.
Data from the surveys is reviewed and incorporated into an individual fisheries lake management plan. The plan identifies goals for key species in the lake and outlines specific management activities. The information collected in 2006 will be available as a lake survey report in the summer of 2007, on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us or from the Aitkin Area Fisheries Office, 1200 Minnesota Ave. S., Aitkin, 218-927-4040.

The list of Aitkin area lakes is as follows:
Green Shumway - June 5-9
Ball Bluff June - 12-16
Rabbit June - 19-23
Little Pine - June 26-30
Sheriff - July 3-7
Hansen - July 10-14
Spirit - July 17-21
Wladimiraf - July 31-August 4
Sugar - August 7-11
Moulton - August 14-18

Brainerd area
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced the schedule for lake and stream surveys and fish population assessments for the Brainerd area for the summer of 2006. Fisheries crews will conduct nettings and electrofishing assessments on 34 lakes and two streams in Crow Wing and Cass counties.
The surveys and assessments will involve the use of seines, trap nets, gill nets, and electrofishing gear to assess fish populations. Water transparency will be measured and critical habitat will be surveyed for location of emergent plants. In addition, physical habitat evaluations, aquatic plant surveys and standard chemical analyses will be completed on lakes with full resurveys.
Lakes with special assessments scheduled for the fall of 2006 are: Gull, Washburn, Cross, Edward, Lower Hay, North Long, Pelican, Round, Whitefish, and Allen. Lakes with special assessments scheduled for the spring of 2007 are: Big Bass, Washburn, Mitchell, Big Rabbit, East Big Rabbit, Gladstone, Goodrich, and Blackbear.
If you have any questions please contact the Area Fisheries Office in Brainerd at 218-828-2550 or Area Fisheries, 1601 Minnesota Drive, Brainerd, MN 56401.

Brainerd area survey lakes and dates:
Fish population assessment nettings
O’Brian Lake June 19-21
Big Thunder Lake June 19-23
Gladstone Lake June 26-29
Stark Lake July 10-13
Goodrich Lake July 17-20
Sylvan Lake July 19-28
North Long Lake July 24-28
Gilbert Lake July 31-August 3
Rogers Lake July 31-August 2
Ross Lake August 7-9
Pelican Lake August 14-18

Full lake survey
Crooked Lake June 5-8
Hanks Lake June 5-7
Leavitt Lake June 12-14
Portage Lake June 12-14
Emily Lake June 26-29
Roosevelt Lake (deep water) July 5-7
Camp Lake July 10-13
Roosevelt Lake July 17-21
Lawrence Lake August 7-10

Stream surveys
Daggett Brook July and August
Stoney Brook population estimate August 28-Sept 6

Grand Marais and Finland areas
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fish and Wildlife Division will be surveying several lakes and streams in the Finland and Grand Marais areas (Lake and Cook Counties) in 2006. Survey results are used to evaluate management efforts and to determine whether additional efforts are needed. Results are also used to update individual lake management plans. Preliminary results of these surveys will be available shortly after field work has been completed, but final reports will not be available until April 2007, and may not appear on the DNR’s web site until the summer of 2007.
Questions may also be sent by e-mail to: steve.persons@dnr.state.mn.us
Management plans for many of the above lakes will be reviewed and revised over the next year or two. Public comments on or suggestions for future management of these lakes are welcomed at any time. Current management plans are available for review at the DNR offices listed here.
Questions on these surveys can be addressed to DNR Fisheries staff at: 1356 Hwy 61 E, Grand Marais, MN 55604, (218) 387-3056 or P.O. Box 546 (6686 Hwy 1), Finland, MN 55603, (218) 353-7591.

Tentative schedule for field work on these surveys in the Grand Marias and Finland areas, by the Monday of each week is:

May 22
• Finland - Gypsy L., East Split Rock River
• Grand Marais - Caribou Creek

May 29
• Finland - East Split Rock River
• Grand Marais - Murmur Creek

June 5
• Finland - Egge Creek, Feather L.
• Grand Marais - Murmur Creek, Bench L., Topper L.

June 12
• Finland - Egge Creek, Scarp L., Hogback L., Big Snow L.
• Grand Marais - Little John L., John L.

June 19
• Finland - Frank L., Two Deer L., Trappers L.
• Grand Marais - Little Portage L., Pit L., Pike Lake, Sled L., Scabbard L.

June 26
• Finland - Flathorn L., Chipmunk L., Inga L.
• Grand Marais - Devil Track L., Rice L., Iron L., Little Iron L.

July 3
• Finland - East Chub L.
• Grand Marais - Bally Cr., Ward L.

July 10
Finland - Stony L., Campers L.
Grand Marais - Pike L., Tom L.

July 17
• Finland - Stony L.
• Grand Marais - Pike L., Devil Track L., Murmur Creek, Gust L.

July 24
• Finland - North McDougal L., Egge Creek
• Grand Marais - Pike Lake Creek, Caribou Creek, Poplar L., Little John L., Scabbard L.

July 31
• Finland - East Split Rock River
• Grand Marais - Caribou Creek, Poplar L., Bally Creek, Jonvick Creek, Timber Creek

August 7
• Finland - East Split Rock River
• Grand Marais - Poplar L., Timber Creek, Flute Reed River, Carlson Creek, Little Iron L.

August 14
• Finland - Lax L., Dumbbell L.
• Grand Marais - Kadunce Creek, Kimball Creek, Gauthier Creek, Devil Track L.

August 21
• Finland - Four Mile L., Crooked L.
• Grand Marais - Devil Track L., Poplar R., Onion R., Devil Track R., Temperance R.

August 28
• Finland - Wanless L., Shamrock L., Split Rock R., Baptism R., Beaver R., E. Beaver R.
• Grand Marais - Thrush L., Junco Creek, Triangle L., Crystal L.

September 4
• Finland - Beaver River, Isabella L.
• Grand Marais - Daniels L., Gust L.

September 11
• Finland - Beaver River, Isabella L.
• Grand Marais - Moose L.

September 18
• Finland - Beaver River

September 25
• Finland - Beaver River, Divide L.
• Grand Marais - Thrush L., Leo L.

October 2
• Grand Marais - Turnip L.

October 9
• Grand Marais - Gillis L. (lake trout egg take), Mountain L. (lake trout egg take)

October 16
• Finland - Divide L.
• Grand Marais - Gillis L. (egg take), Mountain L. (egg take), Thompson L.

October 23
• Grand Marais - Thrush L, Turnip L., Olson L.

International Falls area
Fisheries staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) International Falls Area office will be sampling several lakes and streams in northern St. Louis and Koochiching counties in 2006. Survey and assessment results are used to evaluate and plan management efforts such as stocking, experimental regulations, habitat protection, etc.
The surveys and assessments may involve the use of seines, trap nets, gill nets, and electrofishing gear to assess fish populations. Water transparency will be measured and critical habitat will be surveyed for location of emergent plants. In addition, physical habitat evaluations, aquatic plant surveys and standard chemical analyses will be completed on lakes with full resurveys.
All the information collected is available to the public and inquiries are welcome. Reports on these activities will be available by April 1, 2007.
Please call Kevin Peterson at 218-286-5220, send an Email to kevin.peterson@dnr.state.mn.us or stop by the DNR Fisheries office located at 392 Hwy 11 East, International Falls with any questions or comments.
Survey plans are tentative - lakes may be added or dropped, and timing may change.

Tentative schedule for sampling in 2006 in the I-Falls area follows:
Ek Lake June 12-16
Pine Lake June 19-23
Bell Lake June 26-30
Clear Lake June 26-30
Net Lake July 10-14
Little Vermilion July 24-28
Franklin Lake July 31-August 4
Elephant Lake August 7-11
Echo Lake August 14-18
Long Lake August 21-25
Fat Lake August 21-24
Crane Lake August 28-31
Rainy Lake September 1-15
Kabetogama Lake September 18-22
Sand Point Lake September 25-29
Namakan Lake September 25-30
Lost River Various dates
Trout Brook Various dates
Littlefork River Various dates

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Ted's blogs, pictures and recent posts
Daily Subscription Msg 2 Posted: 07:21 AM 06/08/06 (CST)
Good Info CK...


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WebDude's blogs, pictures and recent posts
Daily Subscription Msg 3 Posted: 10:35 AM 06/08/06 (CST)
yeah, thanks CK!

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CrappieKeith's blogs, pictures and recent posts
Daily Subscription Msg 4 Posted: 11:42 AM 06/08/06 (CST)
I'm trying to post meaningful info vs. my ramblings.
You guys have a good week end eh!

DNR to survey lakes/the list - - - 4 messages. Showing 1 through 4.
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