Dick Herfindahl: DNR releases new regulations for opener

Published 7:40 pm Friday, March 9, 2018

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl

I know that most of us, if not all, are getting pretty sick of winter. I don’t have a magic wand to wave so that I can move on to the next season. I do however, have a few things that may help to ease the suffering of the dreaded cabin fever. Now is a good time to start planning a summer vacation or just a long weekend camping trip.

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Planning a fun vacation and or camping trip is a good way to get excited about the upcoming season. My only wish for this is that we can enjoy a fairly normal spring and not jump from winter to summer without stopping to enjoy the season between.

I have mentioned in previous articles how watching fishing/outdoors shows always helps to ease the pain. I have also mentioned cleaning out the old tackle box and planning a trip to the local outdoors store.  We have a good bait shop (Bubba’s) in our area that carries a decent amount of tackle along with plenty of bait. Now if you are looking for something more, a trip north to Cabela’s or Fleet Farm in Owatonna may be the answer.

As a fisherman and outdoors enthusiast I can’t think of two better places to satisfy your outdoor needs. I could spend a lot of time in either one just browsing while adding some necessities to my wish list.

Planning a family vacation, whether it be staying in a cabin or camping, is always a good way to forget the winter blahs. Camping is always a subject that is dear to my heart because our family spent the majority of their time doing just that. When we first started camping it was with a tent and we eventually graduated to a pickup camper. I chose that type of camper so that I could haul my boat along. In looking back, there were very few camping trips that didn’t involve the boat or at least fishing. I don’t believe that I ever went camping without having at least one or two fishing poles stashed away somewhere in the camper.

Over the years, I have shared my love for fishing with both of my sons and all four of my grandsons and it makes me proud to know they all like to fish and more importantly, they have respect for the sport and its rules. They all enjoy a good meal of fish, but they take only what they will eat and the rest is always catch and release.

Speaking of fishing, the DNR has just released their new regulations regarding northern pike fishing in Minnesota.

New regulations for catching and keeping northern pike will be the most significant change anglers will see when they open up the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Booklet being distributed throughout the state.

“Anyone who wants to keep pike in Minnesota’s inland waters needs to take a close look at these regulations and be prepared to measure the pike they want to keep starting on the Saturday, May 12, fishing opener,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The new fishing regulations have three distinct zones to address the different characteristics of pike populations in Minnesota. While not designed to manage for trophy pike, the new regulations are meant to restore pike populations for better harvest opportunities across the state for sizes that make good table fare, up to around 28 inches or so.

The new pike harvest regulations apply to inland waters of the state.

North-central: Limit of 10 northern pike, but not more than two pike longer than 26 inches; all from 22 to 26 inches must be released.

Northeast: Two pike; anglers must release all from 30 to 40 inches, with only one over 40 inches allowed in possession.

South: Two fish; minimum size 24 inches.

Darkhouse spearing regulations for pike change slightly and those regulations are listed in the spearing section of the regulations booklet.

For more information on the new zone regulations, visit mndnr.gov/pike or contact a local area fisheries office. Contact information can be found in the fishing regulations booklet, available online at mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.

Until next time, it’s a good time to start planning that next camping trip. An old friend once said, “A vacation is 75 percent anticipation and 25 percent participation” makes sense to me.

Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Also, take some time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops serving today.