Looking for warmer weather? Try Nome, Alaska

Published 3:07 pm Saturday, February 28, 2015

Column: Woods & Water, by Dick Herfindahl

It seems like we are destined to be blessed with cold temperatures for a while. I know we are all getting sick of the cold weather, but every time I find myself beginning to whine I think about those poor folks out east and realize that I don’t have to shovel the cold.

Pictured here is a cooler full of Alaskan King Crab that former Twin Lakes resident Lynn Johnson trapped this winter on the Bering Sea. Provided

Pictured here is a cooler full of Alaskan King Crab that former Twin Lakes resident Lynn Johnson trapped this winter on the Bering Sea. Provided

My brother-in-law Lynn who lives in Nome, Alaska, calls me just about every time we are having below-zero temperatures and Nome is in the ’30s. They have had above-normal temperatures and below-normal snowfall for the past few years, which is not a good thing for folks who hunt, trap and fish in that area. It took quite a while before the rivers were safe enough to travel on with snow machines, which is what they call snowmobiles up there. They need ice on the rivers to get to the areas that they want to trap. Falling through the ice in frigid temperatures can be deadly, especially when you are miles from help.

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Three years ago Lynn was able to do a lot of trapping, and I believe that he got 27 fox that season plus a wolf, wolverine and martin. The last two years the weather hasn’t been trapper friendly. A few weeks ago, he was able to put out some crab pots on the Bering Sea. Soon after he set the pots, he suffered a setback when he hit an ice heave that had been covered with snow and injured his ribs. After he felt good enough to go back, he started sending me pictures of his catch. He has gotten as many as 12 Alaskan King Crabs in a single day, some pretty good eating no doubt.


Light goose hunt is now open

A spring conservation hunt on light geese begins today and runs through April 30. Light geese are snow geese, blue-phase snow geese and the smaller Ross’s goose.

A federal conservation order, which permits the take of light geese during the spring, is in place to reduce the population of snow geese and Ross’s geese that breed in arctic coastal areas and around Hudson Bay. High populations of the birds have caused considerable habitat damage to these fragile ecosystems.

Minnesota participated in this spring conservation action each year since 2000. Harvest of light geese in Minnesota has varied from a few hundred to several thousand birds each spring.

To participate, a spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained through any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agent via telephone at 888-665-4236 or online. There is a $3.50 application fee to cover the cost of issuing the permit. No other license, stamp or permit is required.

A summary of regulations is available online, from license vendors, DNR wildlife offices or by calling the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367.

I know my grandson, Trevor, will be taking part in the light goose hunt again this year. Goose hunting is probably his favorite thing to do when it comes to hunting, and last year he did quite well.


Musky talk news

If hunting doesn’t do anything for your cabin fever, then maybe getting together with fellow fishermen and talking about the upcoming season will help. Ray Hangge of Muskies, Inc. has sent me the latest news release from the area chapter.

The March meeting of Cross Roads Chapter 54, Muskies Inc., will be 7 p.m. March 11 at Eagles Club in Owatonna. Our guest speaker will be Travis Nielsen of Winnebago. Travis guides on Southern Minnesota and North Iowa lakes. Our meetings are the second Wednesday of the month and include informative speakers as available, updates, door prizes, raffle and lots of musky talk. No need to be a member to attend. Bring a friend and help improve musky fishing in Southern Minnesota. Mark your calendar for the 2015 Minnesota Musky Expo, April 10 to 12.

Until next time, stay warm, check those tackle boxes, take some time to enjoy the outdoors and remember spring is just around the corner.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.


Dick Herfindahl’s column appears in the Tribune each Sunday.