April 19, 2019 - Life jackets a safety necessity when boating on cold water

Men 20-60 years old least likely to wear life jacket, most likely to drown

With waterways across the state clearing of ice, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anxious boaters that wearing a life jacket is a critical safety necessity during the spring “cold water” season. 

While boaters should always wear a life jacket no matter the water temperature or season, public safety officials stress wearing a life jacket – not just having it on the boat – is the one action that significantly increases the chances of surviving a fall into cold water.

“The shock of falling into cold water triggers your gasp reflex, which more than likely means inhaling water,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR boating safety representative. “Wearing a life jacket gives you a fighting chance to get your head above water, stay calm instead of panicking, and call for help before hypothermia sets in.”

Though air temperatures continue to rise, water temperatures statewide are still dangerously cold – cold enough to cause the gasp reflex and incapacitate even strong swimmers in less than one minute.

In Minnesota, more than 30 percent of boating fatalities occur on cold water, and accident records show the victims are disproportionately male.

“Over the past decade, we’ve seen a steady and troubling trend that indicates men between the ages of 20 and 60 are the most likely to drown while boating, and are the least likely to be wearing a life jacket,” Dugan said.

“Cold-water drowning victims in Minnesota are also much more likely to be anglers than any other type of recreational boater. Add this up, and it’s clear that if male anglers were to put their safety first and put on their life jackets, a significant percentage of boating deaths could easily be prevented.”

More information is available at mndnr.gov/boatingsafety.



April 17, 2019 - DNR fisheries seeks comments on Aitkin area management plans

Citizens interested in learning about or commenting on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) strategies for managing Aitkin area lakes and streams have until April 29th to ask questions or submit comments.

“Lake management plans lay out past management efforts, describe the current status of the fish community and set goals for what we would like to see,” said Rick Bruesewitz, Aitkin area fisheries manager. “Reviewing plans gives the public an opportunity to share their insights and provide comment on fisheries management activities planned for that lake over the next five to 20 years.”

Every year DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake and stream management plans for several waters in each management area. In the Aitkin area, plans for the following lakes will be reviewed. All waters are located in Aitkin County.

  • Vanduse (01-0058).
  • Waukenabo (01-0136).

People can review the current plan for these lakes as well as recent fish population assessment information at the DNR’s Aitkin area fisheries office, 1200 Minnesota Ave. S, in Aitkin 56431. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Individuals also may call 218-429-3033 or email aitkin.fisheries@state.mn.us to obtain copies of the draft plans for review. Comments may be submitted via mail, email or phone.

Suggestions for management of any of the other lakes and streams in the Aitkin area are welcome at any time and will be considered when those plans are due for review.

The DNR’s lake and stream management activities are largely funded through the sale of fishing licenses and the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Act.



April 17, 2019 - Cook County fishing closures will protect spawning fish

Anglers in Cook County will notice fishing closure signs at several area lakes this spring. These temporary closures are regularly enacted to protect concentrations of spawning walleye. Closures on Minnesota-Ontario waters are made in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and affect both sides of the border.

The following closures took effect April 1:

  • Sea Gull River from Sea Gull Lake through Gull Lake to Saganaga Lake approximately 1/3 mile north of the narrows; closed through May 24.
  • Saganaga Falls on the Minnesota‑Ontario border where the Granite River enters Saganaga Lake; closed through May 31.
  • Maligne River (also known as Northern Light Rapids) on the Ontario side of Saganaga Lake; closed through May 31 by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • Unnamed channel between Little Gunflint and Little North Lakes on the Minnesota‑Ontario border; closed through May 31.
  • Cross River (inlet to Gunflint Lake) from the Gunflint Trail to Gunflint Lake; closed through May 24

The following areas will be closed to fishing from May 11 through May 24:

  • Tait River from White Pine Lake to the Forest Road 340 crossing, including a portion of White Pine Lake.
  • Junco Creek from the first log dam above County Road 57 downstream to Devil Track Lake, and including a portion of Devil Track Lake near the river mouth.

Closures apply to fishing only; travel is permitted through these areas. All closed areas will be posted. The closures are intended to protect concentrations of spawning walleye that may be vulnerable to over-harvest.

Late ice-out is expected for Cook County lakes in 2019. Anglers and other visitors are urged to call ahead to check on ice conditions, or be prepared to look at alternative lakes for open water.  Shallow or dark-water (bog-stained) lakes are more likely to be open sooner than the county’s deeper, clear-water lakes.

Questions can be directed to the DNR fisheries office in Grand Marais at 218-387-6021, or to Steve Persons, Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor, at steve.persons@state.mn.us.



April 15, 2019 - Commercial fisher captures invasive silver carp in St. Croix River

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the capture of a silver carp on the St. Croix River. The invasive carp was caught by a commercial fisher near Prescott, Wisconsin, during routine spring netting. 

“Captures of individual invasive carp are disappointing but not surprising,” said DNR invasive fish coordinator Nick Frohnauer. “This silver carp was captured in an area that is heavily fished in the spring, as it is an overwintering area for several species of fish. In 2017, two silver carp were captured at this same location.”

The most recently captured silver carp was a 26 1/4 inch male weighing seven pounds.

The commercial fisher had informed the DNR area fisheries office that his crew would be netting in the area. Upon discovering the silver carp in the catch, the commercial fisher immediately contacted the DNR.  A DNR invasive carp specialist secured the fish and transported it back to the area office for further processing. DNR staff are working with the commercial fisher to conduct additional netting at the location of this discovery.

Frohnauer noted that while the DNR continues to be concerned about the potential impact of invasive carp in the St. Croix River and other Minnesota waters, individual adult fish captures do not indicate reproduction or an established population of invasive carp in the St. Croix.

“In this instance, there was one invasive carp out of the hundreds of fish handled in the haul,” Frohnauer said.

Invasive carp progressed upstream since escaping into the Lower Mississippi River in the 1970s. These large fish compete with native species and pose a threat to rivers and lakes. No breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters.

Individual invasive carp have been caught as far upstream in Mississippi River Pool 2 near the Twin Cities (bighead, grass, and silver), the King Power Plant on the St. Croix River by Oak Park Heights (bighead), and just downstream of Granite Falls in the Minnesota River (bighead).

The DNR Invasive Species Program has built partnerships with state and federal agencies, conservation groups, university researchers and commercial businesses to prevent the spread of invasive carp. The 2015 closure of the Mississippi River lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis was a major accomplishment of these efforts.

The DNR is actively engaged with several prevention efforts.

  • The DNR is an active partner in the Upper Mississippi River Invasive Carp Workgroup. The group includes representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and several federal agencies.
  • In partnership with the DNR, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota is testing and evaluating carp deterrents in Mississippi River locks and dams. Previously, MAISRC had installed and evaluated a speaker system at Lock 8. Development of this technology will continue this year with the installation of an updated speaker system at this location.
  • The DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division leads a comprehensive sampling program to monitor fish population changes and impacts of management actions. This includes working with commercial fishers, as demonstrated by this incident.

State funding sources, including the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund and Outdoor Heritage Fund, have provided key funding for deterrent actions and the DNR invasive carp detection and response program.

Invasive carp captures must be reported to the DNR immediately. Call 651-587-2781 or email invasivecarp.dnr@state.mn.us. People who think they may have captured an invasive carp should take a photo and transport the carp to the nearest DNR fisheries office or make arrangements for it to be picked up by a DNR official.

For more information about invasive carp go to mndnr.gov/invasive-carp.



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Starry Stonewort in Pleasant Lake

Starry Stonewort has now infested Pleasant Lake (Annandale, MN).  See attached article from August 11, 2018:  startribune.com/Starry Stonewort Infests Wright County Lake

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Local News APR 19th

Life jackets a safety necessity when boating on cold water

Men 20-60 years old least likely to wear life jacket, most likely to drown With waterways across the state clearing of ice, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anxious boaters that wearing a life jacket is a critical safety necessit...

Read More