It's interesting that purchasers of Minnesota cabins or lakeshore homes often make decisions whether to buy or not — and what to buy — based on the lot and structure, and less so on the lake.
But in fact, consideration of a lake's particulars is crucial, not only to understanding which fish and other critters live in it, but also to appreciate whether the new property might rise in value over time, or, conversely, fall in value.
The state's problems with invasive species such as Asian carp and zebra mussels make the point. Both potentially affect rivers and lakes, sometimes in ways that are not yet fully understood. Lakeshore buyers should understand this, and investigate its possible consequences on the lake for recreation, including fishing.
A step in the direction of becoming better educated is available at the DNR State Fair Building this year, where fish tanks display typical waters and fish species from different parts of the state.
These include a northern Minnesota lake tank, a central Minnesota tank, a southwestern Minnesota tank, and tanks each from southeastern Minnesota trout streams and warm-cool water large rivers, such as the Mississippi.
Each plays host to a variety of fish, some of which overlap in waters throughout the state. But some others don't.
To my mind, understanding these lake and river types, and basing lake home or cabin purchase decisions on these understandings, should be the first consideration made by prospective buyers, and lot size and type, and structure size and type, should follow.
Norway is a land of midnight sun — and big fish.
Marco Liebenow, a German angler, recently caught a halibut off the Norway coast that weighed 513 pounds, according to a report in Outdoor Hub, an online aggregator of hunting, fishing, shooting and related news.
Liebenow fought the fish for nearly 90 minutes from his small boat near Kjollefjord, Norway, according to The Daily Mail newspaper.
It's possible the big halibut will displace the previous rod-and-reel record of 419 pounds held for Atlantic halibut.
Four men were needed to attach a sling around the fish’s tail and tow it to shore. There, the anglers employed a crane to haul the halibut out of the water. The meat was distributed among the anglers and donated to charity.
In May, another German angler fishing in Norwegian waters also made a potential world record catch. Michael Eisele’s staggering 103-pound cod outweighed the previous record by five pounds.
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.
Ducks may be scarce again this fall in Minnesota — and certainly will be compared to historical norms — but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is undeterred: Once again it's proposing "liberal'' duck seasons here and nationwide.
In Minnesota, that means the same 6-duck daily bag limits as in recent years. But for those lucky enough to kill 18 ducks in a season (the average Minnesota waterfowler downs less than half that number before freeze-up) the possession limit will increase to three times the daily limit.
Here's what the service says about the continent's duck and goose populations and breeding conditions this spring and early summer:
"Overall, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season. In the traditional survey area, which includes the north-central United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska, the 2013 total duck population estimate was 45.6 million birds, a decrease of six percent from last year’s estimate of 48.6 million, but still 33 percent above the long-term average (1955-2012).
"Overall, habitat conditions were similar to or slightly improved from last year. The 2013 pond estimate for the north-central U.S. was 2.3 million. Pond numbers in the U.S. were 41 percent higher than 2012. While initially dry, late spring rains helped recharge wetlands, which benefited late-nesting waterfowl.
"The proposed federal frameworks include duck hunting season lengths of 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway (with an additional 23 days in the High Plains areas), and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway. The proposed frameworks include a full season on pintails with a two-bird daily bag limit nationwide, and a full season on canvasbacks with a two-bird daily bag limit nationwide. The Service is also proposing to increase possession limits for ducks and geese to three times the daily bag limit. The proposed late season waterfowl frameworks will appear in a mid-August edition of the Federal Register for public comment.''
Here's what the service proposes for the Mississippi Flyway: (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin):
Ducks: A hunting season is proposed of not more than 60 days between September 21, 2013, and January 26, 2014. The proposed daily bag limit is 6 and may include no more than 4 mallards (2 hens), 3 wood ducks, 1 mottled duck, 2 redheads, 3 scaup, 2 pintails, 1 black duck, and 2 canvasbacks. The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is 5, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. In states that include mergansers in the duck bag limit, the daily limit is the same as the duck bag limit, only 2 which may be hooded mergansers.
Geese: Generally, seasons for Canada goose would be held between September 21, 2013, and January 31, 2014, and vary in length among states and areas. States would be able to select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days with 20 geese daily between September 21, 2013, and March 10, 2014; for white-fronted goose the proposed season would not exceed 74 days with a 2-bird daily bag limit or 88 days with a 1-bird daily bag limit between September 21, 2013, and February 16, 2014; and for brant it would not exceed 70 days with a 2-bird daily bag limit or 107 days with a 1 bird daily bag limit between September 21, 2013, and January 31, 2013.
To watch a video produced by the service regarding the current status of waterfowl, go here.
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.