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Yes they are and finally the regulations are out for this year.  Some of you will have the same regulations and some like me have had a change made.  I hunt in area 180 and last year we were bucks only.  This year we are lottery again.  Still can only shoot one deer, a buck or a doe with a lottery tag.  You must apply for the lottery tag by September 8th.  Firearms deer season is my favorite time of the year.  For me it’s just being out there and if I do harvest a deer, well that’s just a bonus for me.  Plus some venison to eat and sausage to make from  it as well.  Check out your area here: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/deer/index.html .


Heavy storms in northern Minnesota hit several state parks knocking out power and temporarily closing some overnight facilities.  Itasca State Park received the most damage.Heavy storms and damaging winds in northern Minnesota downed trees and knocked out power in several state parks and recreation areas including Itasca State Park early Thursday.

No injuries have been reported.  DNR staff are still assessing state parks, trails, water accesses, roads and facilities in the northern half of the state for potential damage.  Visitors are reminded to check online at http://www.mndnr.gov/closures for updates on current conditions and closures before traveling.  With power and telephone lines down, updates will be made as soon as possible.

Visitors should beware of dangers posed by the aftermath of the storm, such as downed or uprooted trees, other debris on trails and at accesses, and localized flooding.  The DNR is alerting guests with camping and lodging reservations impacted by closures.

The Itasca State Park remains open for day use.  The north and south entrances are open, but the east entrance is temporarily closed.  Visitors are encouraged to use caution because parks and trails crews are busy cleaning up downed trees and other damage.

Most of the park’s public buildings, including cabins, the lodge and the visitor center are temporarily closed.  Power and phone lines are out at this time.  Camping and lodging availability will be assessed daily.  It is best to go online http://www.mndnr.gov/itasca for the latest updates and current conditions.


Minnesota’s ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were up 18% statewide this year compared to last year, according to a survey conducted by the DNR.  Ruffed grouse populations tend to rise and fall on a 10 year cycle and counts this year are typical of what’s expected during the rising phase of the cycle.

Drumming is a low sound produced by males as they beat their wings rapidly and in increasing frequency to signal the location of their territory.  Drumming displays also attract females that are ready to begin nesting.  Ruffed grouse populations are surveyed by counting the number of ruffed grouse heard drumming on established routes throughout the stat’s forested regions.

Drumming counts are an indicator of the ruffed grouse breeding population.  The number of birds present during the fall hunting season also depends upon nesting success and chick survival during the spring and summer.  For the past 67 years, DNR biologists have monitored ruffed grouse populations.  This year, DNR staff and cooperators from 14 organizations surveyed 126 routes across the state.  Grouse season opens Sept. 17.

To count sharp tailed grouse, observers look for males displaying on traditional mating areas, which are called leks or dancing grounds.  The average number of sharp tailed grouse was similar this year compared to 2015, but may be at a decline when considering changes in the number of leks counted or changes at the same leks counted in both years.


There were a couple of big muskies  caught recently.  Fish of a lifetime, some would say.




Andrew Slette cought this massive musky on Pelican Lake, in Otter Tail County.  It is believed to tie the state record.  Andrew did release the fish.  It was 57 inches long.




This was a 52 inch musky caught by Sean Bertie of Blaine Minnesota.  Sean did not say where he caught this beauty.


Yes we had a great vacation up north last week.  We went to Ash Riviera Resort and RV Park.  It is located on the Ash River Trail which is a gateway to Kabetogama Lake and more.  Great resort and it sure is a place to get into some nice fish.  There is a slot there of keeping walleye’s  17 inches and under.  Not a problem for us at all.  We did however catch more over the slot than under.  Lot of walleye’s over 20 inches the week I was there.

The real bonus here are the perch as you will see in the pictures.  This has to be the place for jumbo perch.  Many between 12 and 14 inches, with bodies like footballs.  They made up our fish fry’s.  I was just amazed by the numbers and the size of  these perch.  What a place for smallmouth as well.  Haven’t caught any  under 15 inches.  I will post more pics in my Where To Go page but here are some.


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That walleye up on top and to the left was 15 inches, so you can see how big these perch are that we caught.


Nice smallmouth my daughter caught.  20 inches.



Many walleye’s like this one in the 20 to 22 inch range.



Amazing perch fishing.  Mid day was the best for these jumbo’s.



Nice catch heading for the cleaning shack.  Great time.


Honoring veterans and first responders is something I do every day not just on a holiday set to honor them.  Same with Veterans day.  One day is not enough to honor them, it’s an everyday obligation for me.  While we honor our veterans and first responders many families go to graveyards to spend time with family members and friends who have gone to be with God.  I’m sure most think of their loved one’s nearly everyday as well.

As a veteran myself  I deeply appreciate our veterans of the past, present, and future along with our first responders who keep us healthy and protect us.  So I hope all is well with you and your family and spend a safe and fun weekend.  When you see a soldier, walk up to him or her and thank them for their service.  Keep your family and our veterans and first responders in your prayers daily.



Have a great weekend on the lake as well.  This is a older photo of a lake we camped on north of Duluth.


Eat well also this weekend like this bacon wrapped homemade  chili dog I made.  If you need the recipe for chili dogs or other sausages check out the Homemade Sausage Page.  Lot’s of good stuff on the Smokin Hot page or the recipe page as well.  Have a great weekend.  Reinhard


Another successful walleye egg-collection operation is in the books-and in the jars.  Walleye egg collection operations wrapped up April 29 when the final batch of eggs was collected in Fergus Falls.  In all, more than 4,500 quarts of walleye eggs were collected at 10 operations throughout the state.

Each year, Minnesota DNR fisheries staff set up temporary egg stripping and fertilizing operations at various locations around the state to meet the stocking needs prescribed by individual lake management plans.  After eggs are collected and fertilized, the initially fragile eggs are hardened for several hours with fresh water.  After hardening, the eggs are transported to a hatchery building and measured into special hatching jars where they incubate for two to three weeks before hatching into fry.


Roughly one-third of the 360 million fry anticipated to hatch this year will grow in rearing ponds throughout the summer and then be stocked as fingerlings in 362 lakes this fall.  The other two thirds of the fry are stocked directly into 302 lakes  within a few days of hatching.  Fisheries biologists check on the survival of stocked fingerlings or fry with follow-up assessments.

“While stocking walleye is an important part of our fisheries management strategy, it’s also important to note that 85% of walleye caught by anglers are naturally produced,” said Chris Kavanaugh, northeast regional fisheries manager.  “Many Minnesota lakes have excellent natural walleye  reproduction without any stocking, but in some lakes, the walleye fishery exists solely because of stocking.”

Individual lake management plans prescribe the timing and amount of any stocking based on the available habitat, prey availability and past success.  Not all lakes can benefit from stocking.  While time and labor intensive, walleye eggs collected this way have a much higher hatching success rate than what occurs in nature.  However, maintaining good water quality and natural spawning habitat with a healthy adult population can produce many more walleye than hatcheries can provide.  Each lake that has an egg collection operation is restocked with fry to more than compensate for the egg collection activity.


That time of the year again, and just in case you are wondering:

Fishing Dates To Remember

Saturday May 14;  Minnesota fishing opener for walleye and northern pike, and stream trout in lakes; bass opener in northeast; bass catch-and -release season opens statewide except northeast.

Saturday,  May 28: Bass season opens statewide

Saturday, June 4; Muskellunge season opener

Friday, June 10, to Sunday, June 12; Take a Kid Fishing Weekend

You can already fish for panfish, trout in streams, catfish and a variety of other species.  Going to be a great year!!!

DNR  To Implement Northeast Deer Permit Area Changes In 2017

Public response to a proposal to re-align a handful of deer permit areas in the northeast part of the state has prompted the Minnesota DNR to wait to implement the change in 2017.  The agency made the proposal and asked for public comment about it earlier this year, with possible implementation as soon as this fall.  However, comments on the proposal showed that the information presented did not clearly explain the reasons for the proposed changes, implications for deer populations and potential health benefits for moose.

Prior to the 2017 deer hunting seasons the DNR will:

Clarify the agency’s overall goals for moose management and how the proposal supports that work.

Provide detailed deer population estimates and trends, detailed deer harvest reports by permit area, public survey information, and 2015 deer goal setting process and outcomes.

Describe how the proposal would maintain current deer populations in the moose emphasis areas, and increase deer populations elsewhere in the region.

Better explain the relationship of habitat, winter weather and predation to both deer and moose.  In addition, data being collected from ongoing studies at the University of Minnesota investigating deer and moose, as well as wolf and moose interactions, will be integrated into these efforts.

I hunt these areas so I will pay attention to future information on this.



Went up the North Shore again last Tuesday.  Met up with my brother Ed on Tuesday for a full day of fishing for steelhead and loopers [kamloops rainbow].  Was a bit on the chilly side with temps in the 30’s.  The fish are in the streams now.  I lost a very nice looper that would have gone an easy 8 pounds.  Tried to bank the fish and two feet from shore it said good by to me.

I seen fish swirling and rolling in the pools, and almost stepped on one crossing a stream as it was trying to make it’s way up to the next pool.  My brother did catch a nice one that he gave to me for smoking.  We had fish on during the day, but only catching that one nice rainbow.  So if your planning to go after these fine fish now is the time.  Should be good next week as well.  Here are some pictures of the day.


My bad on the picture.  Should have had Ed face the sun but you can make out the nice trout Ed is holding.


You can see the well beaten path next to this stream that has been used for years by anglers for this spring spawning run.  According to my phone I walked 3 miles that day and it was no walk in the park with the many hills, rocks, logs, and more.  But I love it.


Tail end of pools are often great places to fish for steelhead and loopers.


Rivers were flowing well and the fish were in.  Great time of the year.


Yes they are and there’s some good news from the catch.  Last Wednesday morning the Minnesota DNR was in the pool below the hatchery netting Kamloops [or loopers].  The big fish ranging from 5 to perhaps 8 pounds or more, were corralled in a seine net by the DNR fisheries officials.  As it turned out, the exact Kamloops total from the netting was 673.  Last year, a total of 888 Kamloops rainbow trout were captured at the French during the entire spring run, on par with the long-term [1992-2015] average of 884, according to the DNR.

This was the first step in the process to stock another year class of Kamloops rainbow trout along the North Shore about a year from now.  Unlike steelhead, Lake Superior’s other variety of rainbow trout that reproduce and sustain themselves with only limited stocking, the Kamloops population is dependent entirely upon stocking.

The first eggs for next years’s batch of Kamloops rainbows will come from the adult females that were swimming inside the seine net on Wednesday morning.  DNR employees used dip nets to scoop rainbows out of the seine net and load them into the waiting bucket of a small front-end loader.  The loader hauled the fish up the hill to the French River fisheries building, where eggs will be stripped from the fish and fertilized.

About twice a week from now until June, DNR fisheries workers will seine this pool near the mouth of the French River and collect eggs from adult rainbows.  Later , the young fish that emerge from eggs will be transferred to one of two DNR hatcheries.  After eggs have been collected from the adult Kamloops rainbows captured on Wednesday, those adult rainbows will be returned to Lake Superior.  Kamloops rainbow trout provide a unique fishery for anglers who fish from shore along Lake Superior, mainly from the Lester River to the French River.

After being raised in either, or in some cases both, the Spire Valley Hatchery near Remer and the French River Coldwater Hatchery near Duluth, the yearling Kamloops rainbows will be stocked in either the Lester River or at the mouth of the French River,  fisheries officials said.  The fish then typically spend three or four more years in Lake Superior before returning to the French or other rivers.  Little to no successful spawning occurs naturally among Kamloops rainbows.  I’ll be up next week to give it another try.

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t4.6.16 — cookKAMLOOPS0410c1 — Josh Blankenheim, (right) large-lake specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at French River, helps hold a seine net filled with Kamloops rainbow trout Wednesday morning at the French River. DNR employees will take eggs from the fish to be raised for next year’s stocking of Kamloops rainbows on the North Shore. Sam Cook / scook@duluthnews.com

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