The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources received a $974,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The DNR will use the funding to support Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program and its ongoing work to protect and enhance coastal resources. Full Story
DNR receives $974,000 to protect coastal resources
Several youth hunting opportunities offered this fall
Youth can hunt with adult mentors during several organized youth hunting opportunities this fall. Full Story
Learn camping basics at Lake Bemidji State Park
Learn to camp or refresh rusty outdoor skills at Lake Bemidji State Park by attending a two-night I Can Camp! event from 2:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14, to 10:00 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 16. Full Story
Deadline to apply for mentored youth waterfowl hunts is Aug. 10
The deadline is Monday, Aug. 10, for youth ages 12 to 15 to apply for the chance to hunt waterfowl under the guidance of experienced mentors on Minnesota Youth Waterfowl Day, Saturday, Sept. 12, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
Reminder: Apply by Aug. 14 for 2015 Camp Ripley archery hunts
Hunters can apply now for the 2015 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. Full Story
Last day to fish for walleye on Mille Lacs Lake is Monday, Aug. 3
Mille Lacs is one of the nation’s top destinations for
smallmouth bass fishing, ranked 10th nationally
Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will close at 10 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3. A recent angler survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found the walleye harvest by anglers has exceeded the state’s allotment for 2015 by more than 2,000 pounds. Other fish species including smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskellunge remain abundant in the lake. Fishing for these species will remain open with loosened regulations that allow anglers to keep more of what they catch.
“This action is necessary to conserve walleye populations in Mille Lacs Lake for the long term. Despite the walleye closure, Mille Lacs remains a world class fishing destination with some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the country,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Working together – tribes, local businesses, local government and the state – we will get through this difficult period.”
To help alleviate the economic challenges facing local businesses, Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders will meet to discuss emergency relief legislation and a special session to pass it. Governor Dayton supports a financial aid package consisting of no-interest loans, property tax abatements, and additional funding for tourism advertising. The Governor also has directed the DNR to aggressively address the issues related to the decline of the lake’s walleye population.
Mille Lacs Lake remains one of America’s premiere fishing destinations. Special regulations allowing anglers to catch and keep more and larger northern pike and smallmouth bass have been implemented to attract more anglers to the lake. DNR tagging studies also indicate that muskies larger than 50 inches have never been more abundant.
The Mille Lacs Lake walleye population is already poised for a comeback. DNR fishery surveys indicate Mille Lacs contains a large population of walleye hatched in 2013 that now are 10-13 inches long. The survival of these fish suggests that the population will improve if more of these walleye and walleye hatched in later years survive their first year and beyond so they eventually can spawn. Population assessments this fall will provide additional information about the walleye population in the lake.
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s traditional leaders decided Friday that the Band will temporarily suspend netting through the end of spring 2016.
More on the Aug. 3 walleye closure
The decision means Monday, Aug. 3, is the last day anglers can fish for walleye on Mille Lacs Lake. The closure will remain in effect through Monday, Nov. 30. Fishing for other species remains open. Commissioner Landwehr stressed that Mille Lacs remains one of the premier fishing destinations in the country for other species such as smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskellunge.
Despite restrictive regulations implemented earlier this year, unexpected increases in fishing pressure, catch rates, and hooking mortality in July pushed the harvest by state-licensed anglers to more than 30,700 pounds. The state’s allocation was 28,600 pounds of the 2015 total safe harvest of 40,000 pounds. Tribal harvest was approximately 1,200 pounds below the tribes’ 11,400-pound walleye limit.
Warm water greatly increases walleye mortality on fish that must be released because they did not fall within the harvest slot. This “hooking mortality” of walleyes that die after being released counts toward the state’s limit.
Mille Lacs Lake Management
DNR and eight Chippewa bands in Minnesota and Wisconsin work cooperatively to set safe walleye harvest levels on Mille Lacs. Each year limits are set that determine how many pounds of fish state anglers and the tribes can harvest. This year’s limit for walleye was deliberately reduced to 40,000 pounds to protect the existing spawning stock while providing more time for the abundant young fish in the lake to potentially survive to spawning age to rebuild the lake’s walleye population.
Since 2008, not enough young walleye are surviving to maturity and replenishing the Mille Lacs Lake population. As a result, Mille Lacs walleye numbers are currently at a 30-year low. In response, the state has instituted more restrictive walleye regulations to protect the spawning stock and allow young walleye better odds of surviving to maturity.
Additional information about Mille Lacs Lake, the season closure and what DNR is doing to rebuild the walleye population is available on DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.
‘Think Zero’ aims for no violations of aquatic invasive species laws
Boaters and anglers are encouraged to “Think Zero” this weekend: Zero spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and zero violations. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources holds Think Zero weekend annually to raise awareness of efforts to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in the state. Full Story
DNR mid-summer report: More deer seen after milder winter
Reports of good white-tailed fawn numbers are coming in from around Minnesota as a milder winter and a conservative approach to the 2014 hunting season are already starting to show results. Full Story
Another conservative deer season set to rebuild population
Licenses on sale Aug. 1
Hunters can expect another conservative deer season in 2015 as management continues to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said. Full Story
Hunters can harvest Canada geese in August
Hunters can hunt Canada geese in west-central Minnesota from Saturday, Aug. 8, through Sunday, Aug. 23, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
Designs due Aug. 28 for waterfowl stamp
Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2016 Minnesota Migratory Waterfowl Stamp from Monday, Aug. 17, through 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. Full Story
Zebra mussels confirmed in Big Cormorant Lake in Becker County
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Big Cormorant Lake in northwestern Minnesota’s Becker County. Full Story
Fewer barriers for fish means better fishing in Red River basin
Concrete and steel dams once served to generate electricity and provide water for domestic use and irrigation in the Red River basin, but they took their toll on fish populations by preventing fish migrations, a problem that contributed to wiping out lake sturgeon from the basin and reduced fishing opportunities in many streams. Full Story
Mississippi River cleanup was largest and best in 12 years
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Adopt-a-River program removed 12,780 pounds of trash from the Mississippi River on June 17 near the Wakota Bridge in Newport and South St. Paul. Full Story
DNR to hold October sale of state park land
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering seven parcels of land for sale located within the boundaries of Lake Bronson State Park, Kittson County. All are developable cabin site properties in the Lakeside Subdivision. State park land and private residential lots are in the immediate area. Full Story
Lt. governor, DNR announce plans for affordable housing at Fort Snelling Upper Post
Plan would rehabilitate 26 historic buildings, create 190 affordable housing units
Public invited to join DNR Commissioner’s Prairie Pedal, July 29-31
The public is invited to join Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr at stops along a 122-mile “prairie pedal” bicycle ride from Luverne to Marshall, July 29-31.
Lake Mille Lacs Walleye Fishery Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the status of the state’s allocation of the walleye quota?
A: As of July 15th, when the last angler survey was conducted, the state was within just 3,000 pounds of reaching the State’s 28,600-pound limit for this twelve-month period. Full Story
Strong catch, warm weather push Mille Lacs walleye fishery toward state quota
Other fishing on Mille Lacs unaffected, remains strong and near record highs Full Story
Spiny waterflea confirmed in Lake Vermilion
Spiny waterflea has been confirmed in Lake Vermilion in northern Minnesota. Full Story
DNR offers advice for dealing with storm damaged trees
Cleanup following a windstorm can be an overwhelming task for homeowners. Knowing which trees to save and which to remove can impact safety and the survival of remaining trees, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
Designs due Aug. 14 for Minnesota Trout and Salmon Stamp
Wildlife artists can submit entries for the 2016 Minnesota Trout and Salmon Stamp from Monday, Aug. 3, until 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 14. Full Story
Free permanent card for small game, deer licenses available to disabled vets
Minnesota resident veterans with 100 percent service-connected permanent disability can apply for a free permanent card that allows them to receive a free small game and either-sex deer hunting license each year. Full Story
DNR seeks comments on Knowlton Creek stream restoration project
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Knowlton Creek stream restoration project in Duluth. Knowlton Creek is located upstream of the Lower St. Louis River, within the Spirit Mountain Recreation Area. Full Story
Lost game warden history found
As part of National Law Enforcement Memorial Week in May, conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources placed wreaths at cemeteries across the state to honor the 14 Minnesota conservation officers who have died in the line of duty since 1922. Full Story
Zebra mussels confirmed in Clearwater Lake, Ruth Lake; Red River also added to infested waters list
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will list three water bodies as infested with zebra mussels: Clearwater Lake in Wright and Stearns counties, Ruth Lake in Crow Wing County, and the Red River bordering northwestern Minnesota. Zebra mussels likely found their way into these water bodies one of two ways, either overland or downstream spread.
DNR conservation officers assist in Boundary Waters rescue
Two conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were among the first responders to an emergency call July 7 inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. They joined other first responders from St. Louis and Lake counties after a teenage canoeist from Rochester became trapped in rapids after going over Basswood Falls near the Minnesota-Canadian border.
Windstorm prompts road, trail and campground closures in Pillsbury State Forest
All roads and recreational facilities in the Pillsbury State Forest, which is located just west of Brainerd, have been closed until further notice following a heavy rain and windstorm on Sunday, July 12, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division.
Apply by Aug. 14 for youth deer hunts at state parks and refuges
Minnesota youth have from now until Friday, Aug. 14, to apply for one of 18 special deer hunts in October and November. Full Story
15 candidates train to join conservation officer ranks
Fifteen Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer candidates will begin training on July 15 as protectors of the state’s natural resources.
Among the 15 are five candidates that participated in the DNR’s first CO Prep program. Full Story
DNR promotes officer
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Adam Block has accepted the position of District 14 supervisor for the Enforcement Division. District 14 includes four Twin Cities metro area counties. Full Story
Second confirmed case of avian influenza reported in wild birds
A second confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been reported in a wild bird. A chickadee recovered in Ramsey County and delivered on June 10 to a wildlife rehabilitation center later tested positive for avian influenza. Full Story
Zebra mussels confirmed in Forest Lake in Washington County
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Forest Lake, which will be designated as a zebra mussel infested water to limit further spread of the invasive species. Full Story
Learn mountain-biking basics at Cuyuna Country SRA
Experience the fun of mountain biking during introductory programs on Saturday, July 25, and Saturday, Aug. 29, at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Ironton, about 140 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Three I Can Mountain Bike! sessions will take place each day, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., from noon to 2:30 p.m. and from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Full Story
Zebra mussels confirmed in Fish Trap Lake in Morrison County
Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Fish Trap Lake near the city of Motley in Morrison County, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Fish Trap Lake will be designated as zebra mussel infested. Full Story
Wildlife Drive opening July 18 at Roseau River Wildlife Management Area
The 27-mile “Wildlife Drive” through the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), 20 miles northwest of Roseau, will be open to vehicular travel July 18-26 and the following weekends through Aug. 16. The drive traverses wetland, woodland, brushland and farmland habitats, providing visitors ample opportunity to see wildlife.
Apply for mentored youth waterfowl hunts by Aug. 10
Youth ages 12 to 15 can apply for the chance to hunt waterfowl under the guidance of experienced mentors on Minnesota Youth Waterfowl Day, Saturday, Sept. 12. Full Story
DNR seeks comment on Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comment on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project in Becker County. Full Story
DNR reminds visitors to bring only approved firewood onto state lands
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants to remind visitors that only approved firewood is allowed on lands administered by the DNR, such as state parks, state forests and wildlife management areas. Firewood restrictions are needed to help prevent the introduction or spread of damaging forest pests, including emerald ash borer, gypsy moth and oak wilt. Full Story
Zebra mussels confirmed in Lake Eunice in Becker County
Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Lake Eunice in Becker County in northwestern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Full Story
DNR to sell land in Pine County
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will conduct a sealed bid auction for 81 acres in Pine County. The parcel for sale includes frontage along the Tamarack River, buildings, and recreational opportunities. Open houses are scheduled 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on both Thursday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 8. Full Story
DNR names new enforcement regional manager
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named a new Enforcement Division regional enforcement manager. Full Story
Funding for Minnesota state parks and trails is good news for Fourth of July visitors and local economies
A good year at the Capitol means visitors to Minnesota state parks and trails will enjoy the same high-quality services as they have come to expect in recent years. This is good news for the millions of people who visit each year and the local economies that depend on them. Full Story
Prairie chicken hunt lottery opens July 1
Starting Wednesday, July 1, hunters can enter a lottery for one of 126 permits available for the 2015 Minnesota prairie chicken season. Full Story
Ruffed grouse counts similar to last year
Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were unchanged this year compared to last year, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Natural Resources. Full Story