AIS, fish of Minnesota on display at fair
It’s not deep-fat fried and on a stick – no, not even this. But with overwhelming concern over aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Minnesota these days, an exhibit at the DNR building could be a staple at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.
Fairgoers can get a close-up look at invasive species such as emerald ash borer, buckthorn, zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil as part of a new exhibit on these threats to our natural resources and recreational activities.
There will be new displays, interactive activities, models, specimens and a small theater featuring informational videos about invasive species. One exhibit will feature four invasive species stations – ISI: invasive species investigation; invasive earthworms; invasive plants; and aquatic invasive species. Staff will be on hand daily to answer questions and visitors can participate in a scavenger hunt with prizes and a daily grand prize drawing.
The exhibit, in the indoor theater area in the DNR building on the state fairgrounds, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through the fair, which runs through Sept. 2
As usual, the DNR fish pond also is expected to be a big draw again this year. The pond, located on the south side of the DNR building, was stocked Wednesday, Aug. 22. Approximately 45 species of fish ranging from sunfish to paddlefish were to be added to the exhibits.
The DNR’s live fish exhibit is one of the fair’s most popular attractions.
Started in 1905, the fair’s first live fish exhibit used aquariums purchased from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
One of the most popular fish with fairgoers has been the paddlefish. Characterized by their long, paddle-like bill, paddlefish are found in the lower Mississippi River below Minneapolis. Paddlefish grow to be quite large, with fish up to 200 pounds being recorded.
The largest fish in the exhibit is the lake sturgeon, which exceeds 50 inches. A state fair veteran, this specimen was the gift of an angler who harvested it legally from the St. Croix River several years ago. The largest sturgeon reported in Minnesota was a 215-pound fish found dead along the shore of Lake of the Woods in the early part of the 20th century.
Upgraded mobile website adds fishing regulations, invasive species
The DNR recently made its popular LakeFinder application compatible with more mobile devices and upgraded content to include special fishing regulations, invasive species information, lake contour maps and public access locations.
LakeFinder may be accessed by just about any device that runs a web browser.
“On GPS-enabled devices, our new version knows where you are geographically and can tell you what you need to know about the lake you are on,” said Steve Lime, DNR web applications manager. “If you are on Lake Mille Lacs, it knows that. You can quickly get a listing of species in the lake, special fishing regulation information and what invasive species inhabit the lake. It’s all at your fingertips.”
Lime said the upgraded LakeFinder application has improved mapping capabilities, too, as DNR data has been integrated with Google maps. All of the updated information has been reformatted to fit smaller smart phone screens.
To access LakeFinder, visit www.mndnr.gov/mobile/lakefinder.
DNR encourages hunters to apply early for deer permits, wolf licenses
Hunters who have yet to apply for an either-sex deer permit or wolf hunting and trapping licenses are encouraged to do so well before the Thursday, Sept. 6, deadline.
Nearly half of the state’s deer permit areas now are lottery areas, which means hunters must apply for and be selected to receive a permit that allows them to shoot antlerless deer in lottery areas.
Because many of these areas – focused in the northwestern, north-central and a portion of northeastern Minnesota – have not been lottery areas for years, the DNR strongly recommends that hunters check to ensure areas where they hunt have not become a lottery area.
Hunters already have applied for more than half of the licenses available in each of the three wolf hunting seasons to be conducted this fall and winter. Applying early allows time for hunters to gather information needed for applications. Early application also helps reduce long lines and bottlenecks that can occur when hunters apply at the last minute.
DNR officials offer advice to those reporting possible AIS discoveries
The DNR Invasive Species Program recently made several confirmations of new aquatic invasive species (AIS) infestations in lakes around the state. The DNR urges people who think they may have discovered an aquatic invasive species to contact the DNR immediately or bring it to a local DNR office for verification.
After a report is received, the DNR’s first step is to obtain the sample from the individual who discovered it. If the specimen is confirmed as an invasive species, DNR fisheries and AIS crews survey shorelines and lake bottoms near the reported discovery sites. A typical survey involves shoreline searches in the immediate area of the discovery and lake bottom surveys in open water.
The DNR offers these suggestions to those who think they may have made a discovery:
• Place the specimen in a bag or other container to keep it intact; if the specimen is an animal (e.g., snail, zebra mussel, spiny water flea), pour rubbing alcohol on it to preserve the animal.
• Take a photo of the suspected invasive species.
• Mark on a lake map or GPS the exact location where the specimen was found.
• Contact the local DNR office immediately to arrange transport to a DNR official.
• Email a photo and the location of the possible discovery to a local DNR office.
A zebra mussel volunteer monitor report form is available online for lakeshore owners to complete and send to the DNR, even if zebra mussels are not found, at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteering/zebramussel_monitoring/index.html.
RGS banquet at Deep Portage
The Deep Portage Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society will host its 23rd annual Sportsmen’s Banquet on Aug. 30 at the Deep Portage Conservation Reserve, 2197 Nature Center Drive NW, Hackensack, beginning with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.
Individual membership and dinner tickets are $60. There is also an optional family membership package for $95, which includes two dinners. Additional family dinners are available at $30 each. Banquet, Conservation and Sustaining sponsorship packages are also available at $275, $500 and $1,000, respectively. Youths under the age of 16 who recently took and passed a hunter education course and/or women who have participated in a recent Outdoors Women program, and can verify same, will receive a complimentary dinner ticket.
The evening will feature a live and silent auction, games, drawings and door prizes.
For more information and/or tickets, contact Jerry Lamon at (218) 947-3870 or Jblamon@tds.
As with all RGS fundraiser’s, proceeds from the event will be used to restore and protect grouse and woodcock habitat.
— Compiled by Brian S. Peterson, contributing writer