With ice anglers out in force once again on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota game wardens have been writing numerous tickets for overharvesting, Conservation Officer Nicholas Prachar said Tuesday.
Prachar, who is based near Baudette, wrote in his weekly report that he cited anglers for being over the walleye limit, fishing with extra lines and for keeping walleyes of illegal length.
Conservation Officer Ben Huener, who patrols Lake of the Woods near Roseau, filed a similar report.
Prachar said he hasn't heard of anyone taking gross amounts of illegally harvested fish. In many cases, he said, offenders have been motivated to keep illegal limits of fish when they catch them because success has been spotty.
Crowds of ice anglers on Lake of the Woods have been significant this season, he said, with lots of traffic coming from out of state. In two years of patrolling the big lake, Prachar has met visitors from every state.
Under this season's special regulations for the U.S. side of Lake of the Woods, anglers must immediately return to the water any walleye that is 19.5 inches to 28 inches long. They can keep one walleye over 28 inches, and they can have an aggregate of eight walleyes and saugers in possession as long as the grouping doesn't have more than four walleyes.
Prachar said many small walleyes are being caught, a healthy sign for the fishery.
Michelle Carstensen, a top manager of the DNR's response to chronic wasting disease in Fillmore County, said Tuesday that a special hunt by landowners in the area is going slower than expected. The first week of the hunt yielded 82 whitetails old enough to be sampled for the disease.
Rainy, foggy weather and "maybe a lack of enthusiasm" tempered the hunt, she said. The DNR is hoping for greater participation over the next 18 days. The agency set a goal of sampling 900 adult deer for the fatal brain disease. Only dead animals can be tested. So far, around 700 have been killed.
The next reduction could involve sharpshooters.