MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #54 July 21, 2014
IN THIS ISSUE
DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DNR simplifies southeastern Minnesota trout regulations
New trout fishing regulations that took effect July 14 expand opportunities for anglers and simplify regulations in southeastern Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources said.
The regulations extend catch-and-release seasons in eight southeastern Minnesota counties and seven trout streams in Minnesota state parks. Barbless hooks are no longer required. And beginning Jan. 1, 2015, southeast Minnesota streams are open in winter to catch-and-release trout fishing.
“The new regulations make trout fishing more accessible and easier to understand,” said Brad Parsons, central region fisheries supervisor. “Anglers will be able to catch-and-release trout for more of the year and in more streams.”
Southeastern Minnesota counties included in the regulations are Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona. If anglers plan to fish for trout, they need to check to see if there are any special regulations, including slot limits and required use of artificial lures and flies, for the stream where they plan to fish.
In state parks, the regulations include the following waters: East Beaver Creek in Beaver Creek Valley State Park; Forestville Creek in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park; Canfield Creek in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park; South Branch Root River in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park; Trout Run Creek in Whitewater State Park and Middle Branch Whitewater River in Whitewater State Park.
2014 TROUT SEASONS
In southeastern Minnesota, the fall catch-and-release season on trout streams has been extended. The season starts Monday, Sept. 15, following the end of the currently open harvest season and runs through Wednesday, Oct. 15. The harvest season is the period during which anglers may keep trout.
The catch-and-release season in southeast area state parks follows the harvest season and is extended through Wednesday, Dec. 31.
2015 TROUT SEASONS
In southeastern Minnesota in 2015, the winter season catch-and-release season begins Thursday, Jan. 1, and extends to the beginning of the harvest season on Saturday, April 18. The harvest season runs through Monday, Sept. 14. The fall catch-and-release season will be from Tuesday, Sept. 15 through Thursday, Oct. 15.
The catch-and-release season in southeastern area state parks runs the whole year, aside from the harvest season, which runs from Saturday, April 18 through Monday, Sept. 14. For more information, see www.mndnr.gov/fishmn/trout.
DNR seeking information from Red River basin anglers on lake sturgeon
Anglers who catch a lake sturgeon in the Red River or its tributary streams and lakes are encouraged to send information about the catch to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
While it is not legal to fish for lake sturgeon in the Red River basin, anglers may unintentionally catch sturgeon while targeting other species such as catfish.
“Little is known regarding the movements and distribution of Lake Sturgeon in the Red River and its tributaries,” said Jamison Wendel, Red River fisheries specialist. “Angler catch reports provide important information regarding fish distribution throughout the basin.”
If an angler catches a sturgeon in the Red River or west-central Minnesota lakes and rivers, they should report it to the DNR fisheries office in Detroit Lakes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 218-846-8340. Anglers should report:
Lake sturgeon restoration efforts are focused on stocking and habitat improvement. With careful management, DNR fisheries biologists hope to see the Red River sturgeon population grow and produce bigger fish.
For lake sturgeon fishing regulations see www.mndnr.gov/fishmn/sturgeon or the printed regulations guide. For general information on lake sturgeon, visit www.mndnr.gov/minnaqua/speciesprofile/lake_sturgeon.html.
Minnesota man pleads guilty to numerous illegal hunting charges
A Baudette, Minnesota man faces heavy fines, jail time and revocation of his hunting privileges following an investigation for illegal bear and deer activities by the Department of Natural Resources.
Keith R. Slick, 33, was sentenced July 9 in Lake of the Woods County Court on numerous counts including felony fleeing in a motor vehicle, gross misdemeanor second degree DWI, gross misdemeanor transporting a big game animal, lending/borrowing a bear license, two counts of taking/possessing an over-limit of bear and one count of failing to register a bear.
Sentencing included 90 days in jail, 30 days electronic home monitoring and 120 hours of community service.
Fine and restitution for the violations totaled $2,090. The court reported that $11,000 in fines and fees and a one year jail sentence were stayed pending successful completion of probation. Conditions of probation include no firearms possession or drinking for three years.
Slick’s hunting privileges have also been revoked for three years. Big game violations normally carry a three-year revocation; but given the severity and magnitude of the crimes Slick’s big game, small game, and trapping privileges were revoked.
A forfeited rifle and bow used in the commission of the crimes will be sold at a state auction later this year.
State conservation officer Robert Gorecki who investigated the case hopes the fines, jail time, and revocation of hunting privileges serve as a deterrent for others.
Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.
DNR enforcement managers retire
Two high-ranking conservation officers (COs) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources retired July 15, taking nearly 70 years of experience with them.
“I always wanted to become a CO, it was a goal from my earliest memories,” said Meier who in 1995 was promoted to lieutenant and served as a district supervisor in Mille Lacs Lake, Park Rapids, and Fergus Falls before being promoted to captain and DNR’s southern region enforcement supervisor at New Ulm in 2009.
In 2012, Meier was promoted to major and named the DNR Enforcement Division’s operations manager. The operations manager directs the division’s field operations, which includes public contacts and field response, customer service, human-wildlife management conflict, and law enforcement.
“It felt good to be part of an agency that protects what can’t protect itself,” Meier said. “And there are so many things out there, whether our traditional core work, such as Game and Fish enforcement, to aquatic invasive species, to water appropriations. Each is tied to our quality of life in Minnesota.”
Capt. Mike Hammer, a state conservation officer since 1985, carried on a tradition that began with his father, who served as a state conservation officer or game warden for 36 years, including time as DNR Enforcement chief.
“All of my mentors while growing up were game wardens,” Hammer said. “I got to ride along a lot as a kid, especially in the summer when they were checking fishermen. I learned how to treat people with respect, how to catch those who were stealing our natural resources and gained a great appreciation of nature’s wonder.”
He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant and regional training officer for the metro region in 1987. Prior to that, he served in the Fort Snelling, Mound, Bloomington and Hopkins field stations.
In 2004, Hammer was promoted to captain and named DNR Enforcement education program coordinator. During his tenure, more than 500,000 students have received safety training certification as a cornerstone of their future outdoor adventures.
Meier said the expectations of those recreating have never been greater.
“People today spend a large amount of money to purchase equipment for recreation and they have certain expectations, not only an area to ride, but it also has to be challenging and safe. Those type of expectations not only affect the enforcement division but the department,” said Meier.
The job of CO has changed.
“When I started we were still mostly focused on game and fish enforcement. Then ATVs, jet-skis, and the Wetlands Conservation Act, and then aquatic invasive species changed us to a broader environmental scope which is a challenge to balance with game and fish enforcement when there has been no recognizable increase in staffing in the past 60 years,” Hammer said.
Meier and Hammer retired on the same date that 10 new conservation officers graduated from the CO Academy at Camp Ripley.
Meier’s plans to spend more time with his wife and family, while Hammer has other plans.
“I’m not retiring; I’m repurposing my passions and continuing to look for ways to get kids involved in the outdoors,” he said.
DNR NEWS -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 21, 2014.
Free DNR decontamination training for businesses
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering training this summer for lake service provider businesses interested in learning hot-water/high-pressure decontamination methods to remove aquatic invasive species (AIS). Participants will receive hands-on practice cleaning boats using the specialized equipment.
“This is our second year offering decontamination training to lake service providers,” said April Rust, DNR invasive species training coordinator. “The class helps businesses gain the skills they need – and learn the tricks of the trade – to provide AIS decontamination services to their customers.”
Businesses that complete the training will be included on the DNR’s online list of lake service providers trained to use hot-water/high-pressure decontamination equipment.
Space in the class is still open. Preregistration is required. The training is scheduled on:
• Aug. 6 (1-4:30 p.m.), Tonka Bay Marine, Tonka.
The registration deadline is July 31. The class will be cancelled if the registration minimum is not reached.
To register, or get more information about decontamination training, contact April Rust, AIS training coordinator, at email@example.com or call 651-259-5706 or 888-646-6367.
Q: How old do muskie get, and how long does it take to grow a 50 incher?
A: The oldest muskellunge I have aged was 22 years, and muskellunge in Canadian waters have been aged up to 30 years old.
In both cases, ages were assessed using the cleithrum, a calcified structure that requires lethal sampling and is collected from harvested fish anglers bring into taxidermy shops.
Traditional aging methods used scales because they were easy to sample and fish didn’t have to be sacrificed. Various studies have since found the scale aging method underestimates age, particularly for larger fish.
Growth and ultimate size can vary among bodies of water, depending on factors such as lake productivity, forage and genetics. Depending on the body of water, muskellunge in Minnesota could take 13 to 21 years to reach 50 inches.
Jerry Younk, DNR fisheries research biologist