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For trout fishing in southeastern Minnesota,
these are the good old days -
April 16, 2015

If waiting until Saturday, May 9, for the walleye opener seems like an exercise in extreme patience, an entirely different type of fishing can be found after a short hike to the bank of a southeastern Minnesota trout stream. 

“The Minnesota stream trout opener is Saturday, April 18, and the southeastern part of the state is an angler’s paradise for anyone willing to park the boat and do some walking and wading,” said Vaughn Snook, Lanesboro assistant area fisheries manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “The area has more than 700 miles of designated trout streams.”

Anglers can find all three of Minnesota’s trout species in southeastern streams: brook trout, the only native species; brown trout, the most abundant, with reports of 30-inch monsters caught each year; and rainbow trout, stocked in catchable sizes where angling pressure is high.

Places to fish in the southeast also are ample. With 221 miles of angler easements – land along streams that’s privately owned but open for fishing – access to trout streams is readily available. State parks such as Whitewater, Forestville Mystery Cave and Beaver Creek Valley also provide quality cold-water angling opportunities.

The DNR publishes a booklet of maps highlighting where to access streams in the southeast. The maps also are available at www.mndnr.gov/fishing/trout_streams by clicking on southern Minnesota maps.

“With this year’s early spring, anglers should find conditions favorable for an excellent opener,” Snook said. “The absence of a late snowmelt or heavy rains means waters should be clear and easy to wade.”

Warmer temperatures will likely mean more active fish. There are even reports of some early insect hatches, adding an element of interest for fly-fishing anglers who may try to “match the hatch.” Anglers can check with DNR area fisheries offices in Lanesboro or Lake City for current conditions.

The southeast’s prominence as a cold-water destination is largely the result of the area’s unique geology. Fractured limestone bedrock – or karst – gives rise to numerous underground streams that bubble up as springs, providing the cold, clean water needed by trout. A wet cycle over the past few decades has helped recharge those springs.

Better land use practices within the largely agricultural watersheds of southeastern Minnesota streams also have benefitted water quality. And in-stream improvement projects undertaken by the DNR in partnership with Trout Unlimited have helped provide more trout habitat. The result is some of the best trout fishing anywhere in the upper Midwest.

“These streams represent a real success story,” Snook said. “With twice as many fish per mile now as back in the 1970s and 1980s, these are the good old days when it comes to trout fishing in southeastern Minnesota.”

Anglers need a trout stamp when fishing in designated trout lakes and streams, unless they are 65 or older, or younger than 18, or are fishing with a valid 24- or 72-hour license, or are otherwise exempt from fishing license requirements.

Anglers fishing a nondesignated trout lake or stream do not need a trout stamp unless they are trying to catch trout or decide to keep one. Anglers 65 or older, or younger than 18, or fishing with a valid 24- or 72-hour license, do not need a trout stamp to fish for or keep trout anywhere. The stamp adds $10 to the cost of a fishing license, and for an additional 75 cents anglers can have the pictorial stamp mailed to them.

More information on trout fishing can be found at www.mndnr.gov/fishmn/trout.

DNR awards more trap range grants - April 16, 2015

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued $823,359 in a second round of trap range grants to 29 facilities across the state as part of a statewide effort to promote the development and enhancement of trap-shooting facilities.

There were 26 small trap range grants approved for funding totaling $323,627. Three grants larger than $25,000 were also approved for funding totaling $499,732. That compares to 41 small trap range grants totaling $400,000 last year. Small grants range from $2,500 to $25,000, while large grants begin at $25,000.

The Minnesota Legislature last year authorized more than $2 million for matching grants to recreational shooting clubs for developing or rehabilitating trap shooting sports facilities for public use, with an emphasis on enhancing youth participation opportunities.

“We funded a lot of worthy projects from the first two rounds of grants,” said Chuck Niska, DNR shooting range program coordinator. “We still have approximately $1 million remaining for round three as well.”

Development of the grants program follows a significant rise in youth trap shooting, especially by high school students who are part of a statewide league. Existing trap ranges sometimes struggle to meet demand.

“This program aims to increase opportunities for youth trap shooters, youth trap teams and adult shooters,” said Niska.

The next round of grant applications will be announced this summer. Here is a list of the latest awarded grants:

Small trap range grants:
Agate Bay Gun Club,  $4,206
Albany Sportsmen’s Club,  $7,510
Becker County Sportsmen’s Club, $3,435
Cripple Creek Outdoors, $25,000
Evavold Investments Dalton Outdoors, $18,695
Forest Lake Sportsmen’s Club, $4,899
Fosston Sportsmen’s Club, $25,000
Hardwood County Sportsmen’s Club, $6,650
Hasty Silver Creek, $2,500
Head of the Red Trap Club, $3,129
Henning Range, $25,000
Montgomery Sportsmen’s Club, $3,099
Morristown Gun Club, $24,648
Northland Range & Gun Club, $10,560
Owatonna Gun Club, $18,277
Pelican River Shooting Club, $4,893
Pine Island White Pine SC, $8,381
Plummer Area Sportsmen’s Club, $12,000
Shooters Sporting Clays, $24,622
Silver Beaver Rifle and Pistol Club, $5,184
Tri-County Sportsmen’s Club, $25,000
Warroad Lost River Sportsmen’s Complex, $12,497
Wells Rifle and Pistol Club, $15,435
Wild Rice Conservation Club, $6,500
Willmar Trap Club, $11,500
Winona Sportsmen’s Club, $15,007

Large trap range grants:
Northland Regional Shooting Sports Park, $419,732
Delano Sportsman’s Club, $30,000
Minneapolis Gun Club, $50,000

Minnesota state parks – they’re for the birds! - April 16, 2015

As far as Bob Janssen is concerned, Minnesota state parks are for the birds.

A noted ornithologist and avid birder, Janssen has written a new book highlighting state parks as a great place to observe the wide variety of birds that nest in the state or pass through on their spring and fall migrations. More than 400 different species have been spotted at one time or another in Minnesota, and about 300 of the 315 regularly occurring bird species in the state have been recorded in state parks.

“Birds of Minnesota State Parks” divides the state into four ecological areas known as “biomes,” with detailed information on the parks in each one: what kinds of birds are likely to be seen there and recommendations on where to find them. The book includes park maps, photos and insights from the author.

“Looking for birds and trying to identify them is something nearly everyone can enjoy, and Minnesota state parks offer some of the best viewing opportunities around,” said Erika Rivers, director of the Parks and Trails Division at the Department of Natural Resources. “This new book will be a great resource for serious birders as well as beginners.”

Most state parks have birding kits, which can be checked out for free. The kits include binoculars, guide books and a list of birds for each park.

The book will be available for $19.95 at state parks with nature stores. It also can be ordered from Minnesota’s Bookstore at http://tinyurl.com/kfxp7ay, or by calling 651-297-3000 or 800-657-3757 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday).

Janssen will be at the following state parks to talk about his birding experiences and sign books:

  • Saturday, June 6, 6 p.m. – Sibley (New London).       
  • Saturday, June 20, 7 p.m.  – William O’Brien (Marine on St. Croix).
  • Saturday, June 27, 7 p.m. – Mille Lacs Kathio (Onamia).
  • Thursday, July 23, 6:30 p.m.  – Fort Snelling (St. Paul).
  • Saturday, Aug. 1, 6:30 p.m. – Tettegouche (Silver Bay).
  • Saturday, Aug. 8, 1 p.m. – Itasca (Park Rapids).
  • Saturday, Aug. 22, 6:30 p.m.  – Whitewater (Altura).

A variety of birding programs — including an entire Bird Bonanza Weekend at St. Croix State Park, May 22-24, — also are scheduled at Minnesota state parks from now into the fall.

Details about the book signing and birding programs can be found on the Parks and Trails Division’s birding Web page at www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/birding.html.

The book is a joint project of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division and its Nongame Wildlife Program, which helps support more than 700 species of Minnesota animals, including many that are threatened or endangered.

Funding for this publication was cooperatively provided by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment and by donations to the DNR Nongame Wildlife Checkoff on Minnesota tax forms.

The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Wildfire Prevention Week April 19-25 - April 16, 2015

Gov. Mark Dayton has declared April 19-25 as Wildfire Prevention Week in Minnesota to increase awareness of outdoor wildfire hazards.

In Minnesota, most wildfires occur in the spring between snow melt and vegetation green up because last year’s dry vegetation can quickly catch fire. So far this year, more than 800 fires have burned over 15,000 acres. The DNR has already responded to almost twice as many fires as the agency did in the entire last year.

On average, fire agencies in Minnesota annually respond to 1,200 wildfires that burn over 38,000 acres at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

“With last year’s drought, lack of winter snow fall and early spring, wildland firefighters and rural fire departments are already battling wildfires this spring,” said Linda Gormanson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildfire prevention coordinator.

Most wildfires fires are human-caused, and the number-one cause is escaped debris from burning fires. Finding alternatives to burning such as mulching or composting can go a long way to avoiding these fires in the first place.

A burning permit is required to burn vegetative material unless there is at least 3 inches of snow on the ground. The DNR or local governments may also restrict burning if weather conditions warrant.

Current information on statewide fire danger and burning restrictions is available at www.mndnr.gov/forestry/fire. Burning permits are available online, from local fire wardens or DNR forestry offices.

Campfires, defined as a fire no larger than 3 feet in diameter and height, and surrounded by a cleared area, may be used without a permit. Be safe with fire. Keep a shovel and water at hand, never leave the fire unattended, and make sure fires are completely out before leaving.

DNR to begin reforesting state land in northeastern Minnesota - April 16, 2015

Spring is a busy time for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources forestry staff. As timber harvesting activities wind down, attention turns to regeneration of recently harvested forest stands.

Starting in late April, tree planting crews contracted by the DNR are scheduled to begin planting more than 800,000 tree seedlings on state forests in northeastern Minnesota. A combination of bareroot and containerized seedlings from the Minnesota State Forest Nursery and private industry partners will be planted. Most of these will be conifers such as red, white and jack pine, white and black spruce, and tamarack. Some hardwoods such as yellow birch, red oak and bur oak will also be planted.

“The DNR selects trees that are native to the area and that are best suited for the planting site so they will grow strong and live long,” said Rick Klevorn, DNR silviculture program coordinator.

In addition, about 3,600 acres will be aerially seeded with black spruce, tamarack, and jack, red and white pine. Aerial seeding is an inexpensive and effective way to give lowland conifer sites an excellent chance for successful regeneration.

Aerial photography will be analyzed to determine the success of these reforestation efforts and the need for follow-up care such as weed control and removal of competing vegetation. This is an effective way to evaluate wetland sites that are difficult to reach by road during the summer. A percentage of the sites will be visited by DNR staff to ensure accuracy of the remotely sensed data.

It’s not too late to purchase seedlings for spring plantings on private forest land. Visit www.mndnr.gov/forestry/nursery/index.html or contact the Minnesota State Forest Nursery at 800-657-3767 for a list of available trees.

Questions and comments can be directed to Rick Klevorn at 651-259-5274 or rick.klevor@state.mn.us.


DNR offers guidance for turkey hunters -  April 14, 2015

ST. PAUL - While avian influenza has not yet been found in wild turkeys, hunters are nonetheless reminded of ways to avoid potentially spreading the virus.

To date, highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been found in Cottonwood, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lyon, Meeker, Nobles, Pope, Stearns and Watonwan counties. So far, it has only been confirmed in domestic turkey farms. Waterfowl are the natural reservoirs for the virus.

Wild turkeys are presumed to be susceptible to HPAI. Raptors are known to be susceptible.The virus presents a low risk to humans but it is important to avoid contact with sick birds. 

“Turkey hunters can take steps to minimize the risk of spreading HPAI, and they can be excellent scouts in helping identify wild birds like raptors or turkeys that could have been affected,” said Michelle Carstensen, wildlife health program supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The USDA makes the following recommendations for turkey hunters to protect themselves and their birds from avian influenza.

In the field

  • Do not harvest or handle wild birds that are obviously sick or found dead.
  • Dress your game birds in the field whenever possible.
  • Use dedicated tools for cleaning game, whether in the field or at home. Do not use those tools around your poultry or pet birds.
  • Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning game.
  • Double bag the internal organs and feathers. Tie the inner bag, and be sure to take off your rubber gloves and leave them in the outer bag before tying it closed. Place the bag in a trash can that poultry and pet birds cannot access. This trash can should also be secure against access by children, pets, or other animals.
  • Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling game. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol wipes.
  • Wash all tools and work surfaces with soap and water. Then, disinfect them. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while cleaning game.

At home

  • If you clean a bird at home, keep a separate pair of shoes to wear only in your game cleaning area. If this is not possible, wear rubber footwear and clean/disinfect your shoes before entering or leaving the area.
  • Wash all tools and work surfaces with soap and water. Then, disinfect them.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Keep uncooked game in a separate container, away from cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
  • You should always cook game meat thoroughly; poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill disease organisms and parasites.

The risk to the public is very low, and there is no food safety concern, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The DNR also advises hunters that if they see any birds that have died in the field or appear sick (ruffled feathers, swollen wattles, discoloration of the feet and impaired balance) notify DNR staff as soon as possible and don’t touch or attempt to move the birds.

If you see a dead or sick wild turkey or raptor, mark the location by GPS if possible and contact DNR with the coordinates. Contacts are:

  • Wildlife Health Program Supervisor Michelle Carstensen at 612-390-9979;
  • Wildlife Health Specialist Erik Hildebrand at 612-597-8141; or
  • Contact your local area wildlife manager by finding their information at www.mndnr.gov/wildlife and clicking on the area contact map.

Additional information about avian influenza is on  the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/avianinfluenza.

Aquatic Invasive Species Law - April 13, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A House budget bill would change Minnesota's law aimed at requiring watercraft owners to get training on how to spot and prevent aquatic invasive species.

The House environment finance bill slated for committee action Tuesday would repeal the requirement that boaters affix a special trailer decal they would get after completing a training course on invasive species.

The Department of Natural Resources had previously postponed the decal program amid anticipation of legislative action. It was due to go live in July.

Instead, the House bill would rely on an affirmation process for license holders to profess awareness of invasive-species prevention.

Minnesota has tried to keep zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and other damaging species from spreading into lakes and harming native fish.

A competing Senate bill hasn't been released.

A Hunter's Story - April 13, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An 84-year-old hunter who asked Minnesota lawmakers for help bagging another deer may get his wish.

A provision tucked in House Republicans' budget bill for environmental and natural resource agencies would allow hunters 84 and older to kill a doe without a permit. Its place in the bill released Monday gives it a good chance at becoming law.

The change was designed for George Krog of Two Harbors. Krog says he can't stay out hunting as long anymore and he rarely sees bucks. He wrote a letter in December to Senate Majority Leader Bakk and other lawmakers asking for help.

The change could impact as many as 2,200 older hunters.


Lake Bemidji State Park opens group camp - April 9, 2015

ST. PAUL (AP) - Up to 50 people can soon stay at the new Lavinia Group Camp at Lake Bemidji State Park. With five 50-amp electric hookups for RVs and a large tenting area, the facility is the first of its kind in Minnesota state parks, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The location is private and has its own water supply. There are two vault toilets on site, with showers and flush toilets a short walk away at the park campground building. A screened picnic shelter offers four picnic tables, counter space and electric outlets. Two pedestal grills and a custom-made “council” fire ring are just outside. The site includes parking for vehicles, trailers and boats. One of the RV sites is ADA-accessible.

This project was made possible with funding from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

“The Lavinia Group Camp is a premier example of a Legacy-funded development project that will better meet the needs of today’s park visitors,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “It gives people another great reason to visit Lake Bemidji State Park, which is already a popular vacation destination with a swimming beach, a bog walk, great fishing and year-round naturalist programs.”
The new group camp is located off of the Pine Lane loop of the main campground and just west of the old Lavinia Road. A drawing of the site can be found on the park’s website.

“The Lavinia Group Camp is perfect for family reunions and other outdoor get-togethers,” said Pete Harrison, Lake Bemidji State Park manager.  “Many campers have told us this is exactly what they are looking for. Currently, larger groups must rent multiple campsites for friends and family, which tends to scatter them throughout the campground.”

The Lavinia Group Camp will be available for $200/night and will rent as a complete unit only, meaning it will not be possible to rent a single RV site or building at a lesser rate.

Reservations can be made starting at 8 a.m. Friday, April 10, for groups arriving May 21 or later. Reservations can be made online at www.mndnr.gov/reservations or by calling 866-857-2757.

Customers who already have a reservation elsewhere at Lake Bemidji State Park may upgrade to the Lavinia Group Camp for a fee ($5 if modified online and $7 if done by phone, plus the difference in nightly site fees).

The Lavinia Group Camp may be available on a first-come, first-served basis before May 21, depending on conditions. For more information, call Lake Bemidji State Park at 218-308-2300, or visit the park website at www.mndnr.gov/lakebemidji.

DNR firefighters need help from drone operators - April 9, 2015

ST. PAUL (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources requests that operators of unmanned aircraft (drones) stay at least 5 miles away from wildfires to create a safe environment for firefighting aircraft and crew.

The DNR uses helicopters and airplanes to detect wildfires and to deliver water, retardant, firefighters and cargo. These aircraft face a demanding environment with hazards such as power lines, trees, towers, smoke and wind.

“Conditions for our pilots are tough enough,” said Bill Schuster, DNR wildfire aviation supervisor. “We don’t want to worry about when and where a drone could pop up into their flight path.”

Aircraft and crew are strategically located around Minnesota to quickly respond to wildfires. One or more aircraft may be dispatched to any wildfire in the state within minutes of its start, depending on what is threatened by the fire.

Over 99 percent of wildfires that occur in Minnesota are small, quick-moving and wind-driven, and these do most of their damage within the first few hours after igniting. With the increasing overlap between wild lands and urban areas in Minnesota, firefighters need to be aggressive and safe when putting out wildfires.

“While crews were fighting a wildfire near Ostego last week, a drone was flying nearby at the same time firefighting aircraft were conducting operations,” said Shuster. “Voluntary cooperation to not operate drones within 5 miles of wildfires would allow firefighters to do their job safely, efficiently and effectively.”

Visit www.mndnr.gov/forestry/fire/wildfire_update.html for wildfire updates in Minnesota.

The Federal Aviation Administration has partnered with several industry associations to promote “Know Before You Fly,” a campaign to educate the public about using unmanned aircraft safely and responsibly. Visit www.knowbeforeyoufly.org to learn more about this program

Want to go fishing? DNR has a license to fit April 9, 2015

ST. PAUL (AP) - A lone angler casts a lure into a glassy lake on a warm spring day, surrounded by the sounds of nature. What’s missing? A friend or family member could be sharing the scene.

“If you know someone who might be interested, ask them to go fishing. Many people won’t fish unless someone asks them to go,” said Jenifer Wical, of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources outreach section. “Before heading out, make sure to buy your fishing licenses.”

Buy licenses at any DNR license agent, online with a mobile or desktop device at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. An adult individual angling license is $22.

“There are types of fishing licenses to fit most anyone’s needs. There are licenses for married couples, for individual adults, and for 24-hour, 72-hour, and three-year time periods,” Wical said. “Lifetime licenses can make it easier for people to keep fishing long into the future, and licenses also come at reduced cost for children and those ages 51 and older.”

Youth ages 16 and 17 can buy an annual license for $5. Kids 15 and under are not required to buy a license to fish, but must comply with fishing regulations.

For those who hunt and fish, a Sports license includes angling and small game, and a Super Sports license includes a trout/salmon stamp, small game with pheasant and waterfowl, and a deer tag (archery, firearms or muzzleloader).

To read more about fishing licenses and regulations, see the 2015 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet or www.mndnr.gov/fishmn.


DNR imposes walleye restrictions on Mille Lacs April 8, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Fisheries managers have imposed the tightest restrictions yet for the upcoming season on Mille Lacs Lake, allowing anglers to keep only one walleye instead of two.

The Department of Natural Resources also says an extended night walleye ban will take effect the Monday after the opener on Saturday, May 9. The ban will extend to Dec. 1.

The new regulations will let Mille Lacs sport anglers to keep one walleye 19 to 21 inches long, or one over 28 inches. Last year, Mille Lacs anglers could keep two walleye 18- to 20-inches long or one longer than 28 inches.

The DNR says the restrictive regulations are necessary to keep the walleye harvest within the established safe harvest level. The target has been reduced from 60,000 to 40,000 pounds for 2015.

Comments being taken on deer population goals April 8, 2015

SAINT PAUL - Comments on proposed deer population goals recommended by citizen advisory teams in 40 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas are being accepted through Wednesday, April 15, on the Department of Natural Resources website.

Specific population goal recommendations are posted online, along with the factors advisory team members cited when making recommendations. People should review this supporting information online before submitting comments.

Revisiting deer population goals began in 2012, when similar area teams helped set new goals for some permit areas in the Windom, Floodwood and Tower areas. Last year, new goals were set for southeastern Minnesota. The DNR plans to have new goals in place for all Minnesota deer permit areas before the 2016 firearms deer season.

More information on the process is available on the DNR’s deer management web page.

DNR officials promote Dayton's budget proposal April 7, 2015

SAINT PAUL (AP) – Officials with the Department of Natural Resources are touting Governor Mark Dayton’s proposal to boost funding for fish, wildlife, outdoors and enforcement programs, including more conservation officers.

DNR officials said Thursday that their goals include improving fish population surveys, creating more forest wildlife habitat, helping landowners improve grassland and prairie habitat, improving the monitoring and management of wildlife populations, and creating more opportunities to help kids and families get outside.

The DNR’s enforcement chief, Colonel Ken Soring, says the budget includes money to fill 11 out of 22 vacant conservation officer positions statewide.

Fish and Wildlife chief Ed Boggess says the money for proposed spending increases would come mostly from the state’s game and fish fund plus reimbursements from federal excise taxes on outdoor gear and marine fuels.

Minnesota fishing facts April 3, 2015

SAINT PAUL - The Department of Natural Resources compiled these Minnesota fishing facts in preparation for the fishing opener, which is Saturday, May 9.

Anglers and waters

  • There are about 1.5 million licensed anglers in Minnesota.
  • About 500,000 people are expected to fish on opening day of the walleye and northern pike season.
  • Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 5,400 of which are managed by DNR Fisheries. There are 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, including 3,800 miles of trout streams.
  • Average annual expenditure per angler is about $1,500.
  • Although not every kind of fish lives everywhere, 162 species of fish can be found in Minnesota waters.

Participation and the economy

  • Fishing contributes $2.4 billion to the state’s economy in direct retail sales, ranking Minnesota fourth in the nation for angler expenditures.
  • Fishing supports 35,400 Minnesota jobs.
  • Minnesota ranks second in resident fishing participation at 32 percent, second only to Alaska.
  • Minnesota is the third most-popular inland fishing destination in the country.
  • Minnesota ranks sixth among states with the highest number of anglers. The top three states are Florida, Texas and Michigan.

Who goes fishing

  • Most resident anglers – 855,000 of them in fact – are from urban areas. The remaining 474,000 resident anglers live in greater Minnesota.
  • Men account for 66 percent of resident anglers. Women account for 34 percent.

Fishing habits

  • Significantly more time is spent fishing on lakes than in rivers and streams.
  • The average Minnesota angler spends 15 days fishing each year, with 84 percent of resident anglers never fishing anywhere else but in Minnesota.
  • The most sought-after fish species, in order of preference, are crappie, panfish, walleye and northern pike.

State parks see to bump fees March 25, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Department of Natural Resources is asking the Minnesota Legislature to raise entrance fees at state parks so it can maintain services at existing levels.

Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposes to bump the current $5 daily vehicle fee by $1 to $6, and the current 12-month $25 vehicle fee by $5 to $30.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr says the money will allow the state parks and trails system to ensure the quality of services that visitors expect.

Parks and Trails chief Erika Rivers calls it a "very modest" increase that will raise about $2.3 million over two years. She says surveys show strong visitor support. And she says the reception from lawmakers has been positive, with little to no opposition.

Minnesota state parks expect about eight million visitors this year.