March 2 is the last day to remove fish houses from ice

Published 9:10 am Friday, February 20, 2009

A reminder to all you ice fishermen that fish houses must be off the ice south of Highway 200 and Highway 2 on March 2. Although you can still ice fish with portables after this date there can be no houses left unattended.

With the warmer weather we had been experiencing this past week we must exercise caution when venturing out on the ice. Although the ice may have been 12-18 inches at one time it can be very dangerous now. Warm weather can cause slush and “dark ice” which means unsafe ice. Any body of water with a current or spring means that the honeycomb effect can occur and make the ice very unsafe. I don’t really think that driving on the ice is a good thing to do at this time.

If you are getting the itch to do some open water fishing there is hope on the horizon. The spring trout (catch and release only) season for Southeastern Minnesota opens on April 1 and runs through April 17. The regular season for the southeastern part of the state opens on April 18th and runs through September 13 of this year.

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If you are inclined to do a little river fishing there is usually always open water to be found in the Winona or Red Wing areas of the state.

DNR sends reminder to dog owners

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds dog owners that it is illegal to allow their pets to harass deer and other big game.

Every winter, conservation officers receive reports from throughout the state of dogs chasing and sometimes killing deer or other big game. Wildlife regulations hold dog owners accountable for dogs chasing big game and conservation officers are authorized to put down dogs that do so. Dog owners would also be subject to a civil penalty. Capt. Ken Soring, acting DNR enforcement chief, advises dog owners to be aware of the possibility that their dogs may be chasing big game and to take steps to prevent them from doing so.

“Deer are particularly vulnerable at this time of year because they are expending every bit of energy to stay alive, and the additional stress of being chased can affect their winter survival,” Soring said.

The Minnesota Game and Fish Laws handbook reads that a person who observes a dog wounding, killing or pursuing in a manner that endangers big game may kill the dog without liability: At any time, if the person is a peace officer or conservation officer; or Between Jan. 1 and July 14, if the person is not a peace officer or conservation officer and the discharge of firearms is allowed.

A few fishing reports:

BLACKDUCK — The fishing on Blackduck Lake for walleye and perch has been good. Pimushe and Rabideau have been good for panfish. Lake Gilstad has also been good. There are reports of a few more crappies being caught on upper red, and the walleye bite has been okay.

BRAINERD/NISSWA AREA — The guys are doing pretty good on walleyes in 18 to 31 feet of water using golden shiners and rainbows on Gull and North Long.

Crappies in 10-25 feet of water with glow jig and minnow or eurolarve. Try the south end of Gull and Margret, North Long, it’s been good all over.

Northerns are shallow in 8-12 feet of water using big minnows, very active right now.

ELY — The rainbow trout bite continues to please many anglers in search of these tasty dinner entrees. Tofte, High and Dry lakes are providing their fair share of these fish that are being taken on small jigs tipped with small minnow heads or wax worms, or small spoons fished anywhere from five to 20 feet of water. In these crystal clear waters, you can virtually sight fish watching each twitch of your bait. The crappies are being cooperative on Twin lakes (north of Burntside) as well as Johnson and Bass lakes. Small minnows under a slip bobber seem to be the preferred method of taking them.

Prime areas are drop-offs in the 8-15 foot range.

RED WING — Some are getting fish at Frontenac beach area, some sauger and walleyes with rattlers and buckshots. They are getting a few more walleyes down by Baypoint now and panfish. And at Colville Park, guys are casting into open water from the dock and getting a few walleyes and sauger.

Until next time stay warm, play safe, keep off the thin ice and get out and enjoy the great Minnesota outdoors.

Remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers during the coming year.