DNR to stock muskellunge in Gull and Fairmont chains of lakes
Decision follows 2-year public input process
Muskellunge will be released this fall in the Gull Lake chain of lakes near Brainerd and the Fairmont chain of lakes in southern Minnesota as part of an effort to establish new muskie angling opportunities throughout the state.
“We listened to and considered the more than 1,800 public comments we received during the past two years,” said Don Pereira, fisheries section chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We want to thank everyone who helped guide this process.
“Our lakes are Minnesota’s most important natural resource and that’s one reason public participation is so important. The majority of the responses were positive and supportive of diversifying these fisheries in the Gull Lake and Fairmont chain of lakes and expanding opportunities that will benefit these areas recreationally and economically.”
The public input process and local discussions also prompted the DNR to decide not to stock Big Marine Lake in Washington County and to withdraw the proposal to stock the Franklin, Lizzie or Loon lakes in Otter Tail County.
Stocking muskie is part of an effort to respond to a growing interest in muskie fishing. Estimates suggest that a significant proportion of the state’s anglers either already target muskies or want to try muskie fishing.
“Minnesota is the crown jewel for muskie fishing in the United States," said Al Lindner, one of Minnesota's most well-known anglers who also produces educational fishing programs. "Creating more places to catch muskie where it’s biologically appropriate provides more than fishing opportunity for a growing number of younger anglers. It also offers a great economic benefit to resorts and tourism."
Several years ago, the DNR prepared a long-range plan designed to balance interest in expanded muskie fishing opportunities with those opposing muskie management and continued stocking. The compromise reached in this plan called for eight new waters to be stocked with muskie by 2020. Three of those lakes – Roosevelt, Pokegema and the Sauk River Chain – already have been stocked.
Last year, the DNR proposed several new waters for stocking and began asking the public for comments and meeting with angling groups, local governments, lake associations, property owners associations and others. This input was taken into account along with data from angler surveys and biological assessments.
Additional information, including a summary of more than 1,800 comments about the stocking proposals and DNR responses, is available on the DNR’s muskie management page at www.mndnr.gov/muskie.
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Grant program aims to help increase number of hunters, anglers
A dozen organizations are receiving funding to help increase how many people hunt or fish – or support those who already do – through a new Minnesota Department of Natural Resources grant program.
“We’re excited about how these organizations plan to support fishing and hunting in Minnesota,” said Jeff Ledermann, DNR angler recruitment and retention supervisor. “What these groups shared was a commitment to getting people outdoors for these pursuits.”
The Angler and Hunter Recruitment and Retention Grant Program began this year and award winners are posted at www.mndnr.gov/angler_hunter_grants.html. The program was very competitive with 35 applicants in round one.
The application for round two of the grant program can be found at the same webpage. Organizations interested in applying for the grant program are invited to apply by Thursday, Oct. 13.
“We are preparing for a second round of this program and organizations can apply for funding,” Ledermann said. “We give priority to programs that are new and innovative and have an ongoing impact, rather than one-time events.”
Grant awards range from $5,000 to $50,000, and require a dollar-for-dollar match of the state grant award amount, or else a match of the value of labor, materials or services of the state award. The DNR expects to have over $100,000 to distribute in round two.
Eligible projects have a purpose that supports angler or hunter recruitment and retention. Types of activities could include fishing and hunting educational programs, clinics, workshops and camps, and funding for fishing and hunting equipment and transportation. Second-round projects must be completed in Minnesota and be finished by June 30, 2018.
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Youth can hunt with adult mentors during special deer hunts
Youth can apply to hunt deer in select state parks and other refuge areas during 17 special deer hunts in October and November.
“Parents or other adult mentors go with youth to the fields and forests during these annual hunting opportunities,” said Mike Kurre, Department of Natural Resources mentoring coordinator. “Time spent outdoors together is important and continued adult support can shape youth into lifelong hunters.”
Youth have until Friday, Aug. 19, to apply for the hunts. Of the 17 special hunts, 15 are firearms hunts for youth ages 12 to 15, and two are archery hunts for youth ages 12 to 17.
Participation in other deer hunting seasons remains an option for youth who take part in the special youth deer hunts, but any deer harvested count against the youth’s season bag limit. An adult parent, guardian or mentor must accompany the youth at all times while hunting, but only the youth may hunt. Both youth and mentor must attend a mandatory pre-hunt orientation clinic.
A limited number of either-sex permits are available for each hunt. However, the hunt in Buffalo River State Park and Camden State Park are for antlerless deer, and in the Lake Shetek State Park hunt youth need to harvest an antlerless deer before getting a permit to harvest a buck.
The two archery hunts are for youth, ages 12 to 17.
- Camp Ripley, 175 permits, hunt is Oct. 8-9, clinic is Oct. 7-8.
- Lake Alexander Preserve, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 8-9, clinic is Oct. 7.
The 15 firearms hunts are for youth, ages 12 to 15.
Youth must apply for the hunt of his or her choice, which can be done anywhere DNR licenses are sold, at the DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, or online at
- Afton State Park, 25 permits, hunt is Nov. 5-6, clinic is Oct. 15.
- Banning State Park, six permits, hunt is Oct. 29-30, clinic is Oct 28.
- Blue Mounds State Park, 10 permits, hunt is Nov. 19-20, clinic is Nov. 18.
- Buffalo River State Park, 14 permits, hunt is Nov. 5-6, clinic is Nov. 4.
- Camden State Park, 15 permits, hunt is Oct. 29-30, clinic is Oct. 28.
- Itasca State Park, 75 permits, hunt is Oct. 15-16, clinic is Oct. 8 or Oct. 14.
- Kilen Woods State Park, six permits, hunt is Oct. 22-23, clinic is Oct. 21.
- Lake Bemidji State Park, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 21-23, clinic is Oct. 20.
- Lake Shetek State Park, 12 permits, hunt is Nov. 19-20, clinic is Nov. 18.
- Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, 15 permits, hunt is Oct. 22-23, clinic is Oct. 21.
- St. Croix State Park, 90 permits, hunt is Oct. 29-30, clinic is Oct. 22 or Oct. 28.
- Savanna Portage State Park, 25 permits, hunt is Oct. 29-30, clinic is Oct. 28.
- Sibley State Park, 10 permits, hunt is Oct. 29-30 clinic is Oct. 28.
- Tettegouche State Park, 10 permits, hunt is Oct. 29-30, clinic is Oct. 28.
- Zippel Bay State Park, 20 permits, hunt is Oct. 22-23, park will mail clinic information.
www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. For archery hunts, apply with code 630; for firearms hunts, apply with code 631.
If the number of applications exceeds the number of permits, the DNR will randomly draw names to choose participants. Youth may apply for one archery hunt and one firearms hunt. Successful applicants also must meet all firearms safety requirements, purchase appropriate licenses and follow hunting regulations.
In addition to the 17 application-only hunts in state parks and refuge areas, any youth ages 10 to 15 also can participate in the youth deer season that runs Oct. 20-23, in 27 permit areas that encompass portions of southeastern and northwestern Minnesota and portions of the Twin Cities metro area.
For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/discover and click on youth deer hunts.
To learn more about deer, visit the DNR website: www.mndnr.gov/deer for deer management information and www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer for deer hunting information.
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