Cloquet artist Stuart Nelson’s painting of a rainbow trout rising to mayfly has won the DNR's 2014 Trout Stamp.
The painting was one of 13 submissions.
Nelson also won the 1999 trout stamp contest with a painting of a brook trout but hadn't’t submitted an entry since.
Other finalists were: Stephen Hamrik of Lakeville, second place; Nicholas Markell of Hugo, third place; and Timothy Turenne of Richfield, fourth place.
The five judges this year were Amy Beyer, DNR creative services graphic designer; Ron Anderson, Outdoor News graphic designer; Bruce Vondracek, University of Minnesota professor; Mark Johnson, Twin Cities Trout Unlimited Chapter president; and Davin Brandt, director of Minnesota Steelheader.
The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the artist retains the right to reproduce the work
These species are eligible for the 2015 stamp: brook, brown, splake and lake trout, coho, pink, Chinook and Atlantic salmon.
The summer rains have stopped, at least for a while, and area river levels are falling.
Good fishing should follow.
Here are a couple of suggestions to try for river smallmouth bass.
• The Mississippi River north of the Twin Cities. The nearest good stretch might be between Monticello and Elk River. A canoe or kayak will get you downstream safely, also a john boat, provided you're willing to take an occasional nick on your outboard's skeg and perhaps prop. Mepps spinners are a must, and throw in various small crankbaits, including surface baits you can twitch on top as you retrieve them after casting them toward shore. Jigs with rubber legs — Ugly Bugs work great — will produce a lot of fish, as will, for fly anglers, poppers.
• The Upper St. Croix, paddling down to Grantsburg, Wis., (as in the photo above) from any number of upriver launch sites. If you have a canoe, shuttle service is available from Wild River Outfitters in Grantsburg. If you don' t have a canoe, Wild River will rent one to you. Fly fishing can be very productive along this stretch of the river, as can spin fishing (rigged the same way as described above). The possibility of picking up a northern, walleye and even muskie also exists.
Minnesota fishing license sales remain significantly down from recent years, due, most likely, to the inclement weather this spring and early summer.
Sales numbers tallied recently by the Department of Natural Resources show 591,864 licenses purchased this year, compared to 713,744 last year and 679,276 in 2011.
The decline from a year ago is about 17 percent — representing a loss to date of about $2.7 million in revenue to the DNR.
Sales this summer are off 13 percent from 2011.
It’s possible license sales will pick up as the summer progresses, depending on weather.
Still, it remains true that many Minnesotans only fish on opening weekend.
Smallmouth bass fishing is improving quickly in the metro area, particularly on the St. Croix
River, despite high water levels.
Meanwhile, excellent walleye fishing continues across much of northern Minnesota, where water temperatures remain cool.
Smallmouth on the St. Croix can be taken on a variety of artificial baits and flies. Mepp's spinners cast close to rocky shorelines and retrieved at moderate speeds have produced hits, as have a variety of crankbaits.
Stick baits also are worth a try, as are surface poppers.
Skirted Jungle Jigs cast to rocks, or Ugly Bugs or similar lures, also will take fish and can be tipped with artificial or live bait.
Up north, walleye fishing has been good on Leech Lake, also Winnibigoshish, Cass and Bemidji, among other waters, as the cool, wet spring seems to have prolonged the season's best bite, keeping fish in fairly shallow water.
Crankbaits trolled "long line'' style at night are producing, as are jig and sliding-sinker style rigs.
Fly fishing pro and casting instructor Bob Nasby, left, of St. Paul, has long been an adviser to and tester of 3M fly lines. Here he's fishing with his grandson, Bobby McGraw, on the Upper St. Croix River.
The Orvis Company of Manchester, Vt., is buying Scientific Anglers and Ross Reels from 3M, Orvis announced today.
Orvis will continue to operate the Midland, Mich., based business independently under the Scientific Anglers brand. Ross Reels will also continue to operate independently under its brand name from Montrose, Colo.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Scientific Anglers always has been a bit of an odd fit for 3M. But it endeared itself to many of the company's fly-fishing executives over the years. Many have been the tales from the old days when 3M execs directed one of the company's jets toward West Yellowstone or another far-off destination to "test'' products.
But the business had a serious side. 3M had the chemists and other scientists that allowed it to develop new fly lines that ultimately were easier to cast, floated higher in the water and dried quicker. The Scientific Anglers brand is known worldwide.
"Our goal is for Scientific Anglers to be the world leader in fly lines, leaders and tippet, and for Ross to be the leading innovator in American-made fly reels," said Jim Lepage, newly appointed President of both businesses. "We plan to maintain strong investment in R&D at both businesses and we intend to bolster their sales and distribution resources here in the U.S. and build both brands internationally."
"We think both businesses have incredible opportunities to drive fly-fishing innovation well into the future," said David Perkins, Orvis Executive Vice Chairman. "Jim Lepage will move to Midland and from there he will be dedicated to running both S.A. and Ross. He and the excellent teams already in place will build these strong brands for the future. Neither consumers nor the trade will likely notice much of a difference in the branding of these fine businesses under Orvis ownership. What they will notice is renewed marketing energy, well-supported sales and service staff and an even higher level of new product innovation."
Interestingly, Orvis will not carry Scientific Anglers-brand fly lines in its catalog, stores or website, nor are there plans to more widely distribute Orvis products through S.A.'s established wholesale accounts. "Each brand must remain focused on being the leading innovator in their respective product categories and distribution channels," Lepage said. "Maintaining that clarity will be the key to our success."