In 2008, Leech Lake returned as a major Minnesota walleye fishing destination. And there was no drop-off in 2009.
Doug Schultz, DNR large lake specialist, said fishing pressure during the open-water season totaled 785,000 hours, the highest total observed since 1999. And, according to Schultz, "the walleye catch rate was nearly a fish an hour and the harvest rate was a quarter of that. Those are strong numbers."
Schultz attributed the success to a special walleye regulation, habitat conservation, walleye stocking and cormorant control.
Joe Mix, DNR assistant regional fisheries manager, said the DNR is already working with a citizen committee to adopt another five-year fisheries management plan similar to the one that will expire in 2010.
For more on the committee and the plan, go to http://mndnr.gov/fisheries/ management/llfmp.html.
BHS grad is world champion duck caller
Brainerd High School graduate Mike Anderson has earned the title of the world's top duck caller.
Anderson, 29, a 1998 BHS grad, won the 74th World's Championship Duck Calling Contest on Nov. 28 in Stuttgart, Ark.
Anderson, now a passenger elevator mechanic in Mankato, topped a field of 67 to reportedly become the first Minnesotan to win the prestigious award. He received $8,000, a duck boat, a diamond ring and a trophy.
Anderson has duck hunted since a child growing up in Brainerd, but didn't start competitive calling until about 2003. With this year's world championship victory, he earned an automatic invitation into next year's event.
Special late-season deer hunt scheduled
As part of Minnesota's effort to eradicate bovine tuberculosis in northwestern Minnesota, hunters may participate in a special late-season deer hunt from Dec. 26 through Jan. 10 in deer permit area 101.
Rules governing the special hunt allow hunters to:
• Take an unlimited number of deer of either sex.
• Tag deer of either sex with any remaining unused tags from the 2009 season, including bonus and disease management permits.
• Use any archery, firearm or muzzleloader 2009 license and any bonus, disease management or early antlerless permit.
• Purchase additional disease management permits for $2.50.
Hunters must have a license and use the legal weapon for that license. Those with an archery license, for example, cannot hunt with a firearm.
New or replacement licenses may be obtained at any DNR license agent.
All deer harvested during the special hunt must be registered at one of the following registration stations during regular business hours:
• Olson Skime Store, Skime.
• Riverfront Store, Wannaska.
• DNR offices at Thief Lake or Red Lake wildlife management areas.
There will also be collection barrels placed at these locations. Hunters may drop off a deer head if staff is not available to collect a sample.
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