It might not look like it, but Minnesota trout streams will open next weekend for the catch-and-keep fishing season. Five days later, hunting season will open for wild turkeys.
The state offers year-round trout fishing in 720 miles of designated streams, but the catch-and-release restriction gets lifted for five months starting April 14 and all trout streams come into play.
The winter stream fishing season in southeastern Minnesota has been highlighted by clear, normal water flows, but it's uncertain how this week's snow will affect conditions throughout the driftless region starting in 10 days.
The same land of rolling hills, hardwood forests and cold-water streams provides some of the highest turkey concentrations in Minnesota. The state's eastern strain of wild turkeys was released in the region in the 1970s, and the first hunting seasons began there in 1978.
Hunters who previously applied for tags through a DNR lottery will start hunting April 18 in the spring turkey "A" season and the subsequent "B" season.
After that, an unlimited number of permits are available for four remaining time periods starting May 2-8. Archery and youth turkey hunters can hunt the entire season without applying for the lottery. Any licensed hunters who did not bag a bird during their assigned time period can try again from May 23-31.
Trap season is here
The spring season for high school trap shooting already is under way. The state's 349 teams were allowed Sunday to start practicing for competitions that begin during the last full week of April.
John Nelson of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League said 10 new schools have joined the league this year, increasing the number of student participants to nearly 12,000. He said about 90 percent of metro area high schools are now involved in the sport, with many teams also formed in smaller cities and in rural areas.
The regular spring season ends with an invitation to all student athletes to participate in a giant trap shooting championship held yearly in Alexandria. The trap shooting season culminates later, on June 22 in Prior Lake, at a state tournament presented by the Minnesota State High School League.