Subscribe to MN DNR feed
MN Department of Natural Resources -- News Releases
Updated: 46 min 34 sec ago

Timber harvest workshop for private landowners is May 6

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 12:17pm

Private landowners interested in learning more about managing their woodlands for habitat and income can attend a low-cost workshop and field tour from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 6, at the Cohasset Community Center at 3rd St. NW, Cohasset.

The Itasca County Private Woodlands Committee is hosting the workshop with assistance from the Department of Natural Resources Cooperative Forest Management (CFM) program.

The workshop aims to educate landowners about timber management and how to thoughtfully and purposely harvest trees to create better wildlife habitat and generate income from a timber sale. Woodland owners can also learn about options for enrolling in a tax incentive program to reduce property taxes.

The day will begin indoors with a series of educational sessions about managing forests to benefit a variety of wildlife, working with a consulting forester to write a stewardship plan, the mechanics of a timber sale, and how to contract with a qualified logger. After lunch, participants will board busses for an afternoon tour of different sites to see first-hand the differences in unmanaged and managed timber, and previously cut timber in various stages of regeneration.

“Our last workshop this winter in Palisade had over 100 attendees and we are anticipating strong interest in the Grand Rapids area, too,” said Grand Rapids area CFM Forester, Josh Donatell. “Over the last 20 years, there has been a decline in timber harvest from private lands. This program helps restore lost habitat on private land as well as promote a more stable supply of wood and fiber for the timber industry.”

Pre-registration is required. The $20 cost includes lunch and field tours. Participants should dress appropriately for outdoor weather and wear sturdy shoes or boots.

Anyone interested in attending or registering can contact Josh Donatell by email at, or by phone at 218-328-8912. An agenda can be viewed online at


Itasca County fishing closures will protect spawning fish

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:27am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is implementing several fishing closures in Itasca County during the beginning of the 2017 fishing season to protect concentrations of spawning panfish.

The following closures took effect April 1 and are closed through June 30:

  • Bass Lake: north basin on the west shore near the Pincherry access and south basin along the north shore in the Elm Point area.
  • Johnson Lake: south end of the lake, north bay, and a small bay on the west shore.
  • All closed areas will be posted. The closures are intended to protect concentrations of spawning panfish that may be vulnerable to over-harvest.

Questions can be directed to the DNR fisheries office in Grand Rapids at 218-328-8836, or to Dave Weitzel, Grand Rapids area fisheries supervisor, at

Experimental northern pike regulations repealed on Bowstring, Round lakes

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:26am

After reviewing public comments, the experimental northern pike regulations currently in place for Bowstring and Round (including connected Alice) lakes in Itasca County were repealed March 1, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The experimental regulation currently in place for Sand Lake will remain in effect for now.

Since 2007, these lakes have been managed with an experimental regulation that allows a possession limit of nine northern pike and requires all pike from 22 to 36 inches long to be immediately released. The intent of the special regulation was to encourage harvest of an overabundance of small northern pike and develop a quality fishery of larger northern pike.

A statewide regulation change was proposed for northern pike that, if passed, is expected to produce good results on Bowstring and Round lakes. The northern pike zone proposal would create three distinct zones in Minnesota, each with its own harvest regulation for northern pike. The zone proposal for northern pike management has continued to progress, but currently needs legislative action to be finalized and will not be in place for the 2017 fishing opener.

This means that the limit on Bowstring and Round lakes will revert back to the current statewide three fish bag limit with one over 30 allowed in possession for the 2017 fishing season. The status of the Sand Lake pike fishery was not as clear, and the current experimental regulation will be extended by one year so additional biological data can be collected. “The last summer assessment on Sand Lake was conducted in 2011, when the regulation was only a few years old,” said Grand Rapids are fisheries supervisor, Dave Weitzel. “At that time, the regulation was too new to expect a significant change in the pike size structure. Sand Lake is scheduled for an assessment in 2017 and this assessment will provide much better information on pike size potential. By extending the regulation, we will have a better understanding of the current pike status in the lake, and know more about when the zone approach might be put in place.”

The DNR will review the regulation again in 2017, with an additional comment period and public meeting next fall.

For more information contact the Grand Rapids Area Fisheries office at 218-328-8836 or find it on the DNR website at

Grand Marais area fisheries announces survey work

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:24am

Fisheries staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Grand Marais area office will conduct surveys and assessments on several Cook County lakes and streams during the next few months.

Fisheries surveys are performed on a regular basis to monitor changes in fish populations and to determine if management strategies have been effective. Survey methods and frequencies vary based on the types of information needed for ongoing management evaluations in individual lakes and streams.

Large lakes and trout streams with heavy use are surveyed more frequently than small, remote lakes and streams. Stocked lakes are also sampled more often to better assess stocking success. Most lakes are surveyed using gill nets and trap nets, while most streams are surveyed using backpack electrofishing gear.

Waters scheduled for surveys or assessments (by week) include:

  • April 17 – mark Northern Pike in Little Cascade Lake.
  • May 1 – place temperature monitors in about 20 streams, and in Tait Lake.
  • June 5 – survey Missouri and Little Cascade Lakes.
  • June 12 – survey Portage Lake and conduct a targeted survey of Smallmouth Bass in Caribou Lake (Lutsen).
  • June 19 – survey McDonald and Pickerel Lakes.
  • June 26 – survey Gillis and Mit Lakes.
  • July 3 – survey Caribou Lake (Lutsen).
  • July 10 – continue the Caribou Lake survey.
  • July 17 – survey Musquash and Muckwa Lakes.
  • July 24 – survey Trout and Tait Lakes.
  • July 31 – survey the Onion River, and begin a survey of Saganaga Lake.
  • Aug. 7 – continue the Saganaga Lake survey, survey the Flute Reed River, Kadunce and Kimball Creeks, the Devil Track River, and Irish Creek.
  • Aug. 14 – continue the Saganaga Lake survey and survey McFarland Lake.
  • Aug. 21 – continue the Saganaga Lake survey and survey Greenwood Lake.
  • Aug. 28 – survey Gull Lake, measure water temperature and dissolved oxygen in Gillis, Owl, and Portage Lakes.
  • Sept. 4 – survey Loft Lake.
  • Sept. 11 – survey Wee and Kraut Lakes.
  • Sept. 18 – survey Little Saganaga Lake.
  • Oct. 16 – survey Olson Lake.
  • Oct. 23 – recover temperature monitors from area streams

Fisheries surveys are largely funded by license fee dollars and are subject to change. The number of lakes and streams scheduled for survey in 2017 has been substantially reduced due to an anticipated funding shortage. Lakes and streams may be added or dropped, and the timing and duration of some surveys may change.

Questions and general information about area lakes and streams can be addressed to the DNR’s Grand Marais area fisheries office at 1356 Highway 61 E., Grand Marais, MN 55604. Questions also can be submitted by calling 218-387-6021 (note new number) or by emailing

Preliminary results for many of the 2017 surveys should be available in the fall of 2017. Final reports will be completed by the spring of 2018. Final lake survey results will be available online at or from the Grand Marais area fisheries office.

Cook County fishing closures will protect spawning fish

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:20am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is implementing several fishing closures in Cook County during the beginning of the 2017 fishing season to protect concentrations of spawning walleye. Closures on Minnesota-Ontario waters are made in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and affect both sides of the border.

The following closures took effect April 1:

  • Sea Gull River from Sea Gull Lake through Gull Lake to Saganaga Lake, approximately 1/3 mile north of the narrows; closed through May 26.
  • Saganaga Falls on the Minnesota‑Ontario border where the Granite River enters Saganaga Lake; closed through May 31.
  • Maligne River (also known as Northern Light Rapids) on the Ontario side of Saganaga Lake; closed through May 31 by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • Unnamed channel between Little Gunflint and Little North Lakes on the Minnesota‑Ontario border; closed through May 31.
  • Cross River (inlet to Gunflint Lake) from the Gunflint Trail to Gunflint Lake; closed through May 26.

Closures apply to fishing only; travel is permitted through these areas. All closed areas will be posted. The closures are intended to protect concentrations of spawning walleye that may be vulnerable to overharvest.

Due to an anticipated early ice-out and earlier-than-usual completion of spawning activity, areas normally closed on the Tait River, White Pine Lake, Junco Creek and Devil Track Lake, will be open for fishing on the May 13 fishing opener.

Questions can be directed to the DNR fisheries office in Grand Marais at 218-387-6021, or to Steve Persons, Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor, at