The Minnesota DNR is closing portions of some rivers in northwest Minnesota for opening weekend and some days thereafter to protect staging walleyes preparing to spawn, or spawning.
Here is the list of waters that will be closed, and dates, from the DNR:
Closed through May 17
Blackduck River – Beltrami County – County Road 32 north to Red Lake Reservation boundary.
Clearwater River – Clearwater County – below Clearwater Lake Dam for 900 feet.
Long Lake – Hubbard County – below the inlet culvert south of State Highway 34.
Mississippi River – Beltrami County – below Otter Tail Power Dam to Big Wolf Lake.
Otter Tail River – Becker County – below Highway 10 culvert near Frazee.
Pelican River – Becker County – below Bucks Mill Dam to Buck Lake.
Shotley Brook – Beltrami County – State Highway 72 to Upper Red Lake.
Tamarac River – Beltrami County – from Upper Red Lake upstream to Beltrami-Koochiching county line.
Turtle River – Beltrami County – below Three Island Dam to Turtle River Lake.
Closed May 9 until further notice
Toad River – Otter Tail County – inlet to Big Pine Lake upstream to County Road 13.
Closed through May 24
Unnamed water – Hubbard County – connection between Lake Emma and Big Sand Lake.
No fishing will be allowed during these periods in the specified areas. Signs will be posted at access points within the closed areas.
"The closures are necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around historic spawning sites," said Henry Drewes, DNR Northwest Region fisheries manager. "It's always a difficult decision to close the areas and restrict recreation. Our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery."
The DNR said this is the first time since 2008 that so many locations have been closed on the opener.
Although closed to fishing, there are no restrictions on boat travel through these areas.
For more information, contact the Northwest Region fisheries office in Bemidji, 218-308-2623.
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."
The Department of Natural Resources said Thursday that wet weather statewide will require it to close some road and trails.
Many of the affected roads and trails are in state forests, state parks, recreation areas and wildlife management areas. Road and trail conditions are deteriorating rapidly this spring, the DNR said.
The closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather.
“These are normal spring closures that happen when roads and trails become wet and fragile,” said Richard Peterson, recreation program coordinator for the DNR’s Forestry Division. “We ask that people use good judgment, obey the closures and frequently check the DNR website for updates.”
State forest closures can be particularly problematic. Oftentimes, all roads and trails in a forest will be closed, but not always, the DNR said.
Online road and trail condition information is updated every Thursday by 2 p.m. Check out the “Current Conditions” page on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/trailconditions/index.html).
Closure information is also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free, 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Doug Hannon — a man perhaps unknown to many everyday anglers, but nonetheless a legend in modern fishing — died unexpectedly last week at his Florida home. He was 66.
His death followed complications from recent neck surgery.
Hannon was widely known as the "Bass Professor.''
A brilliant innovator, Hannon most recently developed the WaveSpin fishing reel, which produces tangle-free casts.
Hannon was widely know for catching and releasing more than 800 largemouth bass weighing 10 pounds or more.
I fished with him in the 1980s in Florida, and neither of us caught bass that big on that outing — though we did catch a lot of bass.
He was a classy guy and a lot of fun in a boat.
“He was deeply analytical and had an exceptional ability to visualize and solve complex issues, especially when it came to fishing tackle, lures and components geared to helping anglers enjoy the sport,” said Russ Riley, a longtime friend and president of the company Hannon launched eight years ago to produce and market his new fishing reels. “You could instantly see and feel his passion when he was showing anglers at fishing shows his engineering designs. He absolutely loved the sport.”
Hannon’s WaveSpin spool design won nearly every award including the “Best of the Best” from Field & Stream Magazine. It was called the “first significant advancement in spin fishing in more than 50 years,” by Outdoor Life Magazine.
In 2000 Hannon was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis..
“Anglers found him to be very approachable,'' Riley said.
A conservationist, Hannon often railed against the irresponsible use of herbicides in lakes and rivers.
He wrote three books, "Hannon's Field Guide for Bass Fishing,'' "Catch Bass,'' and "Big Bass Magic,'' and produced videos for 3M called Understanding Bass, Catching Big Bass, and Bass-Formula for Success.
He published the Hannon Moon Times nationally for TV, magazines, newspapers and radio, and an annual pocket guide for anglers called the Moon Clock now in its 32nd year.
Born in Winnipeg in 1946 to a Canadian mother and a father from Texas, Hannon moved to the U.S. at age 7. He attended Governor Dummer Academy in Massachusetts and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans.
He was an accomplished guitarist, playing in rock and roll bands, and was a lifelong runner.
Hannon's wife, Lynn, died of cancer in 2006. They had no children.
The Q&A below issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and reported by the Outdoor Wire details how that state manages its wolves, and its wolf hunting and trapping.
Q. How many wolves were harvested during the 2012-13 hunting and trapping season?
A. The total harvest was 225 wolves, 36 percent more than last season. Hunters took 128 wolves and trappers 97.
Q. How long were the hunting and trapping seasons?
A. The hunting season ran 181 days from Sept. 1, 2012 through Feb. 28, 2013. The 76-day trapping season opened Dec. 15, 2012 and closed Feb. 28, 2013.
Q. Will the final 2012 minimum wolf population estimate incorporate the results of the entire 2012-13 hunting and trapping season?
A. No. The verified minimum count is for the Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2012 calendar year. A total of 95 wolves taken by hunters and trappers after Dec. 31, 2012 are not included in the 2012 minimum count, but will be considered in the minimum counts for the 2013 calendar year.
Q. Were the seasons successful?
A. Yes. FWP officials are generally pleased with the results. The overall harvest of 225 wolves this season reflects the increased opportunities for harvest that were incorporated into the 2012-13 seasons.
Q. There's been much discussed about the effectiveness of hunting and trapping in Montana's overall wolf management program. How well did hunters and trappers perform over the past season?
A. The combined harvest of hunters and trappers together continues to grow. Hunters and trappers are the core of Montana's wildlife conservation program and are helping to manage Montana's most recently recovered native species. They're spending the time to learn about wolf behavior to increase their effectiveness in harvesting wolves.
Q. What makes hunters and trappers so engaged?
A. It's all in the numbers. A total of 18,889 wolf hunting licenses were purchased for the past season-246 by nonresidents. Additionally, more than 2,400 prospective wolf trappers participated in mandatory educational certification classes held by FWP last fall. About 1,500 of the certified trappers purchased trapping licenses. In all, 84 wolves were taken between Sept. 1, 2012 and the end of Montana's general big game hunting season, which closed Nov. 25, 2012. About 76 percent of the 84 wolves taken before Nov. 25 were taken opportunistically by hunters who were in the field hunting another species. The majority of the overall harvest, however, took place after the general hunting season by hunters and trappers who were exclusively seeking wolves.
Q. Do you think that the wolf population is now in balance?
A. Confirmed livestock loss has been on a general downward trend since 2009, and we have more tools now for affecting wolf populations. In some areas, where hunting, trapping and livestock-depredation removals have been effective, it looks like the wolf population's growth has been curbed this year. In other areas the population may be leveling off, but we have more work to do. There are still places where we need to manage for a better balance among other Montana wildlife and with Montana's livestock producers.
Q. How many wolves would come closer to the balance you talk about?
A. We are not yet sure what number of wolves will ultimately be considered the right number for Montana. Montanans have demonstrated there is a place in Montana for wolves and have worked for nearly a generation to make room for them. Montanans, in no small measure due to the state's unique private and public landownership patterns, and perhaps more than the citizens of other states, have had a direct hand in helping to recover the wolf. And while it would be an extraordinary success story for any wildlife species, the wolf's recovery hasn't been pain free for the people who live and work here. Wolves are now a part of this state's wildlife ecology and FWP is committed to managing a recovered population. FWP's legal mandate includes working on behalf of the citizens of Montana to determine what number of wolves will best fit with the other wildlife species they will share the landscape with and public tolerance, including that of landowners. FWP will continue to use reasonable tools to optimize harvest opportunities until Montana reaches an acceptable number of wolves.
Q. Can you get there with hunting and trapping alone?
A. While wolf harvest has increased each of the last three seasons, it remains to be seen how or if hunting and trapping can reduce the state's wolf population in areas where that needs to be accomplished. This year FWP sought and received from the 2013 Montana Legislature additional tools to increase the wolf harvest in the future. The wolf management bill won swift and overwhelming bipartisan legislative support and was signed into law on Feb. 13 by Gov. Steve Bullock. The new law immediately allowed hunters to purchase up to three wolf licenses and lowered the price of a nonresident wolf license from $350 to $50. The new law also allows wolf hunters to use their license 24 hours after purchase, instead of after a five-day wait; authorizes the use of electronic calls; and removes the requirement for wolf hunters to wear hunter-orange after the general deer and elk hunting seasons have ended.
Q. Can you explain why some wolves are equipped with radio collars?
A. About 50 wolves in Montana are now equipped with radio collars to allow wolf biologists and technicians to remotely keep track of the movement patterns of wolf packs and individual animals from the air and from the ground. Over the course of the past year, FWP researchers collared 24 wolves and federal Wildlife Services collared 14. Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides federal support in managing problems caused by wildlife.
Q. Sounds expensive.
A. It is. Last year the equipment alone cost nearly $12,000. FWP purchased 24 new collars and refurbished 15 others.
Q. It's clear some collared animals are taken by hunters. Why go to the expense and trouble if the wolves are harvested?
A. FWP wildlife biologists use radio collars for a variety of scientific research projects. FWP equips wildlife with collars to track movements, obtain counts, study reproduction rates and predator-prey relationships and to help researchers learn more about how, where, and why mortalities occur. In Montana, we acknowledge that the practice is time-intensive and expensive and that some collared wolves, like other animals FWP collars, will die. Hunting and trapping mortality rates are important for managers to know and are determined in part from the harvest of radio collared animals. All of this is consistent with wildlife management programs that primarily focus at the population level not on individual animals.
Q. Okay, but won't FWP manage wolves differently near Yellowstone and Glacier national parks?
A. Montana's new wolf management legislation allows FWP to close areas near national parks only after established wolf harvest quotas are met. In each of the past three wolf hunting seasons, FWP established conservative quotas in wolf management units near the national parks. Also, in signing the new legislation, Gov. Steve Bullock asked FWP to ramp up educational efforts aimed at averting the harvest of collared and heavily studied wolves near national parks.
Q. Will that resolve the issue of protecting wolves that inhabit national parks?
A. The two national parks were essentially incubators for the successful wolf recovery. Neither park, however, functions independent of the ecosystems in which they are only a part. The wolves were introduced to Yellowstone National Park, as a "nonessential experimental" population, in large part to repopulate Montana and Wyoming. Wolves introduced to YNP successfully colonized Montana by migrating north and wolves that migrated naturally from Canada to Glacier National Park migrated farther south into Montana. Such connected corridors are essential because they allow wolves to travel about freely to join existing packs or form new packs. This in part ensures the genetic diversity of wolves throughout the region. Wolves, like other species, do not recognize human-drawn boundaries. The wolves that depart the national parks-just like bison, elk and other wildlife-do so to exploit resources that aren't available to them in the parks. Fortunately, the success of the species at the current robust population levels is not dependent upon the survival of specific individual animals. Rather, management in Montana is directed at the population level and all indications are that the Montana wolf population is very healthy.