The monthly meeting of the Brainerd chapter of the Minnesota Walleye Alliance is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5 at Paul Bunyan's Sports Bar and Grill.
The featured speaker will be Mike Simpson, director of educational videos at In-Fisherman as well as the director and scriptwriter of the Professional Walleye Trail television shows. His topic will be "Walleyes in the First Degree, Tactics for Cold Water Walleyes."
The meeting is free of charge and open to the public, but membership in the Alliance is encouraged. Dues are $20 annually, half of which goes directly to walleye stocking efforts in the Brainerd lakes area. Youth memberships are available for $10 for persons 17 and under. Corporate sponsorships are also welcome. Door prizes will include a rod and reel combo, a $30 S & W Bait certificate and PWT videos.
For more information call Chuck Carlson at 828-6362 or Jeff Stirewalt at 828-2177.
Burning restrictions begin Monday
Burning restrictions take effect Monday in Crow Wing and Cass counties. The restrictions come earlier than normal this year because of unusually dry conditions. They are scheduled to be lifted May 15 if conditions allow.
During the restriction period burning permits will not be issued, though the DNR might issue permit variances for construction, agriculture or resource management projects if the need is considered essential.
Vegetation can be burned in approved burners between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. Camp fires are allowed if they are less than three feet in diameter and three feet high and if all combustible material is cleared within five feet of the base.
In an average year DNR foresters respond to about 1,500 wildfires statewide. Last year 58 wildfires burned 135 acres in the Brainerd area. Already this year the DNR reports that 21 wildfires have burned 630 acres.
For updates on wildfire conditions visit the DNR's Wildfire Information Center at www.ra.dnr.state.mn.us/fire
Oasis Sport Shop to host walleye seminar
Professional walleye fisherman Chris Gilman will provide tips and answer questions at a free walleye seminar Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. at Oasis Sport Shop in Pequot Lakes. Seating will be limited so call 568-4426 for a reservation.
White pine care kits available
White pine care kits are available to private landowners through the partnering efforts of the Minnesota DNR and some of the state's soil and water conservation districts.
The kit includes a White Pine Planting and Care Guide that provides landowners with tips and information on how to properly plant and protect white pine seedlings. It also includes 25 wire marker flags to help the landowner located small seedlings for follow-up care, and bud-capping paper to be applied in the fall as a sleeve to protect a small seedling's small terminal bud from being browsed by deer during the winter.
Copies of the White Pine Planting and Care Guide are available by calling 1-888-MINNDNR. It is also available on the DNR web page: www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/white_pine/.
Anglers urged to get the lead out
This spring the DNR urges anglers to get the lead out of their tackle boxes by trying new non-lead sinkers. The use of non-toxic sinkers helps protect the common loon as well as other wildlife such as trumpeter swans.
The ingestion of just one lead sinker can poison a loon, said Carrol Henderson, DNR nongame wildlife program supervisor. When lead sinkers are lost through broken lines or other means, loons can inadvertently eat them, causing lead poisoning.
Non-toxic sinker alternatives are made of bismuth, tin, stainless steel, tungsten, ceramic and natural granite. Some states like Maine have already passed legislation to ban the use of lead sinkers, but the Minnesota DNR is urging anglers to switch on a voluntary basis.
Rochester conservation officer receives award
State Conservation Officer Dean Olson, Rochester, is the recipient of the first annual Willard Munger Wetland Achievement Award. Olson received the honor during a recent DNR Division of Enforcement awards ceremony at Camp Ripley.
Olson, who has been a conservation officer for 10 years, has excelled in all aspects of the implementation of the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) and in the protection of wetlands.
The Willard Munger Wetland Achievement Award is named after the long-time legislator who died last year leaving a 43-year record of extraordinary environmental activism.
DNR offers fact sheets on native Minnesota plants
The Minnesota DNR has developed a series of 15 fact sheets about native plants in Minnesota. Included in the series are topics such as growing plants native to Minnesota, prescribed burning (including equipment needed, suppliers, and what prescribed burn means), native plant suppliers and landscapers, choosing the best plant materials, growing native plants, landscape designs, as well as references on cultivating, propagating and managing native plants.
The fact sheets are available by calling the DNR Information Center at 1-888-MINNDNR.
Snowmobile trails officially closed Saturday
Minnesota Grant-in-Aid trails officially closed April 1 despite being unofficially closed for weeks due to unseasonably warm weather. The trails are always off limits to motorcycles and ATVs.
The DNR has a grant-in-aid all-terrain-vehicle program under which clubs can develop and maintain trails and be reimbursed for their efforts. People looking for places to ride ATVs should contact their local DNR office.
Minnesota anglers broke nine big fish records in 1999
Nine anglers caught Minnesota record-breaking fish in 1999, joining the ranks of those who've landed the largest of particular fish species in this state.
"Nine record fish is more than usual," said Cindy Tomcko, who keeps track of fish records for the DNR. "Most years only about five or six records are broken."
Four different trout records were topped -- three for the same species -- and new record weights were also recorded for saugeye, lake whitefish, pumpkinseed, freshwater drum and tiger muskellunge.
Controversy surrounded the record for a tiger trout, a brook-brown trout hybrid. Chris Nelson caught a 2-pound, 9.12-ounce tiger trout from Mill Creek on Aug. 7, 1999. Though 1984 DNR rules do not allow new hybrids to be included in the record books, the DNR's State Record Fish Committee reviewed the case and developed new guidelines that qualified Nelson's catch as a state record for tiger trout while adding a new hybrid species to the record list.
Fishing for splake must have been a popular pastime last year because the state record for splake was broken three times. Gregg Luoma first broke the record when he caught an 11-pound, 3.36-ounce splake on Jan. 16, the trout opener, in Tofte Lake.
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