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Ice fishing on local lakes is one of Minnesota’s favorite winter pastimes. It can be a beautiful scene out on a frozen, snowy lake. It can also be a dirty mess. It’s not difficult to find piles of garbage left next to an abandoned fishing hole.  

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There have many articles recently about the effects of our changing climate on animal and bird species in Minnesota. 

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Snow and ice are part of Minnesota winters; lakes are part of Minnesota summers. It’s becoming increasingly clear that these Minnesota staples are intricately linked – the future of one is dependent upon the way we deal with the other.  

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As we progress into the mid part of winter, the snow that has plagued the Midwest has now made ice fishing a huge challenge. The trick is getting to where you want to go and getting there safely.

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Can too much snow really be a bad thing for those who embrace all the wonderful opportunities there are for Minnesotans to do during the winter months? Absolutely yes!

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Conservation officers from the Department of Natural Resources are reminding all snowmobile riders to make safety their priority as the number of fatal crashes around the state has trended upward the past few years.

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So far the ice season of 2019-2020 is starting out with some very serious slush problems statewide.

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Shortly after Thanksgiving, there was a brief period of time during one brief morning that the sun briefly shone. If you slept in or simply didn’t look out the window during that brilliant span, you missed it. In short, it was lovely!

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Insects and diseases can hitchhike on trees and holiday greenery brought into Minnesota from other states. Now, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is asking residents to properly dispose of greenery and trees after the holiday season.

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The temperatures are finally dropping, signaling the beginning of the ice fishing season. Safety is the biggest concern on early ice, so I have a list of items that are needed especially for this early winter with the “iffy” ice.

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The Wild River Audubon chapter will conduct its 44th annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Saturday, Dec. 14. These bird watchers will try to accurately count as many birds as possible in Chisago County. 

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Winter is the most difficult season of the year for native wildlife.  For those animals that don’t hibernate or migrate during winter, finding food is the most important winter activity. The lush green vegetation is buried, leaving little forage available. There are certain trees and shrubs …

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For Mitch Albers, a bowhunter who lives in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities, bow hunting is a whole lot more than harvesting a deer. 

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Unseasonably cold weather means ice making has begun on many lakes across the state, but Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers advise people to stay off of the still-forming ice. 

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Gary Roach is one of Minnesota’s most acclaimed fishermen. He is a member of the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame and the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and is known nationally as “Mr. Walleye.” Gary was also one of the early members of the world-famous Nisswa Guides League, an organization …

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As I look out on the many trees and shrubs in my landscape, I can’t help but take notice of how many of them continue to retain their foliage. Even a couple of my maple trees still have green leaves, but also yellow ones, that are holding fast to the branches.   Literally all of my hydrangea…

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Winter anglers on Mille Lacs Lake will enjoy a walleye harvest this winter for the fourth season in a row, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Similar to last season, anglers will be allowed to keep walleye on Mille Lacs starting Sunday, Dec. 1, with a limit of one wa…

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Minnesota’s firearms deer season begins half an hour before sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 9, and the Department of Natural Resources expects nearly half a million hunters to participate. 

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After that long, long winter of 2018-19, it took forever for my perennial garden plants to break their dormancy, and now it seems like the season was way too short as my plants are fading back and yellow foliage is the predominant color in my gardens. Yes, like so many other gardeners, I do …

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WASCoB is an acronym that stands for Water and Sediment Control Basin. You might have seen one and not even known what it was.  

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Minnesota deer hunters must bring their harvested deer to sampling stations to be tested for chronic wasting disease in the central surveillance area, north-central and southeast management zones, and the southeast control zone on opening weekend of firearms deer season Saturday, Nov. 9, and…

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed multiple young of the year zebra mussels in Spectacle Lake in Isanti County, between the cities of Princeton and Cambridge. This is the first confirmation of zebra mussels in an Isanti County lake.

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Firearms deer season is right around the corner, but for many, the season began months ago. Does the deer season really end? Yes, if you’re talking harvest of a deer, but preparation for the deer season is a year-round activity which involves winter scouting for well-traveled trails, after-s…

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On July 17 of 2017 zebra mussels were confirmed in Comfort Lake, Minnesota. A vigilant resident discovered what she thought was a zebra mussel on July 12 attached to a piece of submerged wood.  The same resident found a second mussel on July 15 at another location on Comfort Lake. The Minnes…

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Walking in the beautiful Snake River in pursuit of fighting, thrashing fish is one of my favorite activities. Last year though, due to unsafe high water, I made just one such venture. As with most outdoor activities, fishing requires patience, and I had used up most of mine.

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As we head into midsummer, there are lots of clues that gamefish can give you if you know what you are looking for. Walleyes especially have a multitude of food sources during the summer months and monitoring your livewell will tell you what they have been feeding on and will clue you in on …

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Hunters can start planning ahead for significant changes to deer season regulations, including a youth deer season that’s expanded statewide, expanded deer feeding and attractant bans, and other updates related to managing chronic wasting disease.

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After enduring a long, cold spring, Mother Nature has finally turned up the temperature warming our rivers and lakes.  Rising water temperatures also means increased growth in aquatic vegetation and the beginning of a pan fish feeding binge.  For anglers looking to catch panfish, the search …

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding motorists that turtles are crossing roads to nest this time of year. Motorists are asked to watch for them and, whenever possible, allow them to cross the road safely.

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Perhaps no one relishes a fishing trip more than my daughter Brenda. Unfortunately, her job doesn’t allow much freedom to pursue the lunkers of which she frequently dreams. Sound familiar? 

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I have long been an advocate for getting more girls and women involved in fishing. The vast majority of folks running boats on our lakes and rivers are still guys. But that is slowly starting to change thanks in part to some unique clubs for women and the introduction and growth of high scho…

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Minnesotans with an all-terrain vehicle registered for private or agricultural use won’t need to pay the additional registration fee ($53.50 for three years) to ride the state’s public ATV trails, Friday through Sunday, June 7-9. Out-of-state riders can explore Minnesota ATV trails that week…

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I have been writing about the hard times that minnow trappers and bait shops are having collecting minnows for a number of years now.  This winter has been one of the harder ones for folks who trap their minnows from rearing ponds.  The harsh temperatures and the extreme snow fall have made …

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The Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteers for its loon monitoring program. As part of this effort, the DNR has launched a new online system that will help volunteers identify lakes available for monitoring.

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Docks and dock platforms provide access to Minnesota’s lakes and rivers and are regulated to help protect public safety as well as aquatic habitat. As summer approaches, the Department of Natural Resources encourages property owners and lake service provider businesses to review the regulati…

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Feeling that tug on the line, an angler sets the hook and reels in a small sunfish, then asks the perennial question: “Should I keep it?”

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When it comes to fishing, one could build a very strong case that lasting enjoyment arises from a blend of the old and the new. Success stories are told over and over to groups of family and friends, and the tales, while occasionally stretched to hard-to-imagine dimensions, seem to neither g…

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“Bears are roaming around now with the loss of snow and warmer weather,” said Eric Nelson, wildlife damage program supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources, “so interactions with people have started in many areas of Minnesota.”

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As we head into the early days of May, our thoughts turn to the fishing opener May 9-12. The ice has left our lakes much earlier than anticipated, meaning most of our deep, clear lakes of the north will be ice-free, as will the western and southern, shallower lakes. 

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I drove to Willow River recently. Up 107, over on 23 and up on 35 – the route I’ve traveled hundreds of times. This time, however, was my first in a couple weeks, and you know how appearances can change over time? Well, that not only applies to your old high school classmates! The outdoors u…

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After a most wonderful winter season, it’s a sad time as we have to put away our sleds for the summer. This past winter was no doubt the best conditions in 10 years for snowmobiling. Now it’s about servicing and putting away our sleds. Here are some tips.

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Among the sharp, cracking sounds of baseballs colliding with bats, there is a gentle whooshing sound from ... somewhere. An owl perhaps? And, through the continuing thuds of basketballs pounding the courts, you can detect the subtle sound of a slender “club” rapidly torquing its way through …

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Anglers on Mille Lacs Lake will be able to keep walleye during open water fishing for the first time since 2015. An improving walleye population has been protected by conservative fishing regulations in recent years, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

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As I make my way through the North Country, I can’t help but see the effect of our very cold temperatures and unusual heavy snowfalls on our wildlife. This very difficult winter has been a strain on fish as well as game. 

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Yes, the month of February can be very frustrating as Mother Nature throws all kinds of snow events, ice events and makes this month rather demoralizing. 

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Deicing salts do make getting around in the winter safer and easier, but we should consider deicers’ impact on groundwater, surface water, soil, vegetation, concrete, asphalt, metals and even our children and pets.

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As we head into the midsection of our winter angling, things have changed dramatically, especially in regard to ice conditions.

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Since many of my articles deal with critters and insects, I will start with an article I wrote in 2007. I came across an article by John Myers from the Department of Natural Resources writing about a disease in bats called White-Nose syndrome (WNS). The fungus damages the connective tissue, …