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Special Weather Statement issued December 22 at 9:24PM CST by NWS

Crow Wing weather - 1 hour 39 min ago

DNR expands winter trout fishing in southeastern Minnesota

MN DNR - 9 hours 54 min ago

By David Schueller, DNR information officer

Fly fishing guide Dan Michener walked to a partially snow-covered riverbank in Whitewater State Park. He cast a tiny nymph into the water several times then let it drift through deeper pools, hoping to entice a trout to bite. 

Although Michener bought his first fly rod in 1967 and is no stranger to winter trout fishing, this season is bringing him some firsts. For the first time, starting on Thursday, Jan. 1, streams in an eight-county area in southeastern Minnesota will open to catch-and-release trout fishing. In the past, winter fishing in the area was limited to only a few designated streams. And for the first time, trout fishing in southeastern Minnesota state parks is open all year.

“This is a new era for winter fishing,” Michener said.

Fly fishing guide Dan Michener.

Fishing for trout in winter weather adds some unique challenges. Anglers use tackle generally designed for finesse during a season when cold and bulky clothing seem to bedevil attempts at graceful movement. Fingers stiffen up. Ice seeks to clog line guides and can foul up fly line, making casting difficult. Because of the cold, outings usually are limited to a couple hours or so.

But all that isn’t stopping Michener, who has reached fishing spots in snowshoes, during blizzards and in the cold. He had good luck in the cold last winter on a designated trout stream nearby.

“It was three degrees. I was in Lanesboro last year and I had really good fishing,” Michener said.

Winter weather also is not appearing to stop the numerous anglers interested in winter fly fishing who have been calling the Whitewater park office and the area fisheries office of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with questions.

“Most have never fished in winter,” said Vaughn Snook, assistant area fisheries supervisor in Lanesboro who’s worked since 2009 to help expand southeastern Minnesota trout fishing opportunities. He receives phone calls on a regular basis. “They want to know what fly patterns to use or where to go.”

Michener holds a brown trout he caught in Whitewater State Park in early December.

The new regulations that went into effect this year make trout fishing in the southeast more accessible. In the eight southeastern Minnesota counties included in the new regulations – they are Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties – anglers get a catch-and-release season that runs from Jan. 1 to the beginning of the harvest season.

The harvest season runs from Saturday, April 18, to Monday, Sept. 14. Following that, southeastern streams are open to a fall catch-and-release season from Tuesday, Sept. 15, through Thursday, Oct. 15.

Outside of state parks, fishing closes for two and a half months to reduce competition between hunters on private land and anglers, and during spawning of brown and brook trout. It’s a somewhat simpler story in state parks, where anglers can fish all year under either a catch-and-release or harvest season.

In state parks, the new 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.

Regardless of the expanded opportunities, anglers who plan to fish for trout should still 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.

Winter fishing tends to be most productive between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Michener said that when the fishing is really good an angler can catch and release 20 fish in an hour or two.

Besides the action from the fish, a winter angler can see birds and other wildlife along the river. And winter fishing is another reason to get outdoors and seek some solitude.

“I think it’s a lot of people who don’t like ice fishing. They don’t snowmobile or cross country ski. You sit at home and tie flies and look for something to do,” Michener said.

On that early December day, even though the fishing was slow, Michener still managed to get three strikes on his nymph, and before long the drag on his reel hummed as the rod bent sharply. He landed a brown trout.

“Healthy. A great looking trout,” Snook said, looking on.

Michener released the fish, which darted back toward a pool in the river under the steep sandstone banks, perhaps for another angler to catch some day.

To find more information on trout fishing, including seasons and limits, go to the Web page.

Fishing over the limit nets big fine, loss of boat

MN DNR - 9 hours 59 min ago

An Illinois angler faces nearly $2,200 in fines and restitution, plus the loss of his boat and equipment, following an investigation by conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Charles H. Siegerdt, 54, Keenyville, Illinois, was recently found with a gross over the limit of 21 bass (42 fillets) and 19 northern pike (38 fillets) at an Itasca County resort. The daily possession limit in Minnesota is six bass and three northerns.

“Mr. Siegerdt admitted to possessing an over limit in the initial contact, about 14 bass and northerns combined,” said Conservation Officer Jayson Hansen of Big Fork.

When asked where he kept his fish, Siegerdt pointed to the resort cabin he had been staying at and said the fish were in the cabin freezer.

Siegerdt led the officer into the cabin and opened the freezer.

“The freezer was full of plastic bags with frozen fish in them. I immediately recognized this as over the legal limit,” Hansen said.

When asked if he had skin patches on all the fillets, Siegerdt said, “No.”

Minnesota law requires anglers leave at least a one-square-inch patch of skin with scales so fish species can be identified when transporting them.

Siegerdt said he had been coming to Minnesota to fish for 35 years.

Siegerdt asked if he had to pay the fine and restitution immediately; he was told he could, or he could pay it later, or he could go to court.

“Mr. Siegerdt said he wasn’t going to fight anything,” Hansen said.

Conservation officers also confiscated Siegerdt’s boat, boat motor, and boat trailer. He also surrendered two rods and reels. Those items will be auctioned off at a later date with the proceeds going to the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund.

Siegerdt was cooperative during the investigation.

“After collecting his personal items from the boat he reached out and shook our hands, said he understood, and said it wouldn’t happen again,” Hansen said.

Hansen added, “Basically I want people to understand that if they are caught with a gross over limit they will face large fines, loss of privileges in all Wildlife Violator Compact states, and the loss of their equipment.”

The Wildlife Violator Compact is an agreement between states that recognizes the suspension of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses in member states. Minnesota is one of 43 states that participate in the compact.

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.

Minnesota state parks kick off new year with First Day Hikes

MN DNR - 10 hours 22 sec ago

A New Year’s Day activity, known as a First Day Hike, is being offered at seven Minnesota state parks Jan. 1.

“Naturalist-led First Day Hikes are a fun and inspired way to begin the new year with friends and family,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “They’re a great way to tap into the peace and tranquility of nature – and to get a little exercise and fresh air.”

First Day Hikes will take place in Minnesota at:

  • Afton State Park (Hastings), 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Jay Cooke State Park (Carlton), 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Lake Bemidji State Park (Bemidji), 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Lake Carlos State Park (Alexandria), 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Minneopa State Park (Mankato), 10-noon.
  • Tettegouche State Park (Silver Bay), 1-4 p.m.
  • Whitewater State Park (Altura), 1-3 p.m.

All 50 states are participating in the fourth annual national event that invites people to celebrate the new year with guided outdoor adventures. Last year, more than 27,000 people walked 66,000 miles on 885 hikes in state parks across the country.

The American Hiking Society, partnering with America’s State Parks for a second year to promote these hikes, reminds visitors to remember the weather and plan accordingly.

“We encourage families in cold-weather states to be prepared for First Day Hikes by dressing in layers, wearing hats, and appropriate footwear. We also recommend all hikers bring along snacks and water for the journey,” said Gregory Miller, president of American Hiking Society.

The New Year’s Day hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts.

A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks ($5 for a one-day permit or $25 for a year-round permit). Those who don’t already have a Minnesota state parks vehicle permit can purchase one at any of the parks.

For more information, visit the parks and trails online calendar or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on Twitter with hashtag #FirstDayHikes.

DNR solicits park and trail grant applications for 2015

MN DNR - 10 hours 3 min ago

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is now accepting applications for the following grant programs: outdoor recreation, local trail connections, federal recreational trails and regional trails.

These grant programs help local governments throughout the state create partnerships with the DNR to fund recreation opportunities.

The application due dates are Feb. 27 for the Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program and March 31 for the other programs. The DNR anticipates that both federal and state funding will be available during 2015 for these programs.

Program and application information is available on the recreation grants page of the DNR website.

For more information:

  • Contact the grants staff listed online.
  • Call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Send questions via email to info.dnr@state.mn.us.

DNR accepting applications for coastal program grants

MN DNR - 13 hours 58 min ago

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting grant applications for projects through its Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program. Approximately $400,000 is available for grants with funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management. The deadline for applications is Friday, Jan. 30.

Grant requests can range from $10,000 to $100,000. Applicants must provide 25 percent or 50 percent of the total project costs from a non-federal source; the amount varies depending on the grant request.

Eligible projects must align with at least one of the six following categories: coastal habitat, coastal hazards, water quality, public access, coastal community development or coordination and public involvement.

Projects must take place within Minnesota’s coastal area. Cities in the area include Beaver Bay, Carlton, Duluth, Grand Marais, Hermantown, Proctor, Scanlon, Silver Bay, Thomson, Two Harbors and Wrenshall. Townships in the coastal area include Beaver Bay, Canosia, Crystal Bay, Duluth, Grand Lake, Lakewood, Lutsen, Midway, Rice Lake, Schroeder, Silver Brook, Silver Creek, Thomson, Tofte and Twin Lakes.

Local and state governments, nonprofit organizations, area-wide agencies, regional planning agencies, colleges and universities, public school districts, port authorities, tribal governments, joint powers boards and sanitary sewer districts are eligible to apply.

“This is a really great opportunity,” said Amber Westerbur, program manager for Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.  “These grants are specially designed to help communities, agencies and organizations solve issues that impact Lake Superior and its coast.”

Application information is available at www.mndnr.gov/mlscp. Questions can be directed to Cynthia Poyhonen, grants specialist, 218-834-1447, or by email to mlscp.dnr@state.mn.us.

Bryant Lake Bowl Cabaret Theater

Twin Cities Movies - 18 hours 43 min ago

810 West Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55408

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