MINNESOTA WILDS MANAGEMENT
It's time to go ice fishing Jan. 14-16, in the Minnesota wilds. Courtesy DNR
Time to take a kid ice fishing
MINNESOTA WILDS—It’s "Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend" this Saturday, Jan. 14, through Monday, Jan. 16! During the three-day weekend, any Minnesota resident can go ice fishing for free if fishing with a child 15 years old or younger. Minnesotans 15 years old or younger don’t need fishing licenses any time of the year.
If you’re new to ice fishing and want to give it a try, we have helpful information on our website to get you started. Check the DNR’s learn to ice fish page for more information about ice fishing, including a recorded webinar with tips and techniques anglers can use to have fun catching sunfish, crappie and perch.
Ice conditions vary and there is no such thing as 100% safe ice. Always check local ice conditions before heading out to a lake or river. Visit the DNR ice safety page for ice safety guidelines.
Try the DNR TroutFinder
Looking for information about that stream you’ve seen and want to fish? Try the DNR’s TroutFinder tool.
This online tool, which works on mobile and desktop devices, allows you to easily locate and display detailed information about many Minnesota trout streams. Information available includes a description of the stream, which includes its location, characteristics and special features; species of fish it contains; population information from past and present stream surveys; fishing regulations; and access sites.
Lakes containing trout also are listed and linked to DNR LakeFinder, which provides detailed information from physical characteristics and fish species to special fishing regulations and lake reports and maps.
Trout in lakes season dates
Getting ready to go fishing for trout in lakes? Here are the 2023 winter season dates:
Jan. 14 to March 31 for lakes outside or partly outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Dec. 31 to March 31 for lakes entirely within the BWCAW.
Check the DNR TroutFinder for a list of Minnesota trout lakes. Fishing regulations are available on the DNR fishing page.
Please keep the ice clean
Let’s talk trash! Make a plan before you head out on the ice. Add an all-waste receptacle and colored trash bags to your ice fishing equipment list. Store your trash off the ice in a vehicle, the bed of a truck or in the fish house. If you bring it on, please bring it off.
From the mighty Mississippi to the Minnesota and Kettle rivers
IN THE MINNESOTA WILDS—With over 16,000 miles of rivers and streams, Minnesota is blessed with beautiful flowing landscapes. From the mighty Mississippi to the Minnesota and Kettle rivers, the winding system of waters includes 4,500 miles of state water trails.
Discover Itasca State Park in the winter and experience the iconic Headwaters of the Mississippi River. Make your way down the Great River Road, along the south shore of Minnesota, and enjoy views from the majestic bluffs towering over the Mississippi at Frontenac, John Latsch and Great River Bluffs state parks.
Prairies, forests, lakes
While only 2 percent of the original 18 million acres of prairie that once covered the state exist today, Minne- sota’s prairies provide critical habitat for pollinators, songbirds, waterfowl and other wildlife species that evolved with this unique landscape.
Drive through the bison range at Minneopa State Park. The bison herd is part of the Minnesota Bison Conser-vation Herd, managed to protect wild bison and preserve their genetic diversity. Visit Glacial Lakes State Park and stand on top of the scenic glacial hills to experience the vast, open prairie. Ski the trails at Glendalough or William O'Brien state parks. Wrap up your visit with a night at a camper cabin. All these parks have at least one accessible camper cabin.
Get your Great Minnesota Ski Pass to enjoy miles of ski trails at state parks, forests, trails, as well as grant-in-aid trails. Fifty-two native tree species grow on 17.4 million acres of forestland in Minnesota providing us oxy- gen, food, shade, wildlife habitat, forest products, carbon sequestration and recreation opportunities. Minnesota State Forests offer miles of trails for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding and more.
From 31,700-square-mile Lake Superior along our North Shore to 6-acre Spoon Lake in Maplewood, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is actually home to about 11,842 lakes, many originating from melting glaciers of the last Ice Age.
Don't be deceived by the occasional warm day. Water temperatures are now too cold for kayaking or canoeing. Until your next paddling adventure, and when the ice is thick enough, take advantage of the extra miles for snowmobiling, skiing and fat biking — or try ice fishing!
Minnesota has over 6 million acres of peatlands. More than any other state in the US besides Alaska. Peat- lands are among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth; they're critical for preserving global biodiversity, provide safe drinking water, minimize flood risk, and help address climate change.
Walk the boardwalks at Big Bog State Recreation Area, Lake Bemidji State Park and Hayes Lake State Park to get a look at the unique plant and animal life of three different bogs. You'll find something different to observe each of the four seasons. Lost Lake Peatland SNA (Scientific and Natural Area) offers a serene experience for hikers, skiers and snowshoers.
The David Dill/Arrowhead State Trail provides 135 miles of winter recreation opportunities. A network of state and regional trails connects communities throughout Minnesota and awaits your next snowmobiling, biking, cross-country skiing or walking adventure. When not covered in snow, state trails offer miles of accessible recreation for outdoorspeople on wheelchairs.
Plan Your Visit: Travel north on your snowmobile from Tower to International Falls on the David Dill/Arrow- head State Trail, through Kabetogama State Forest, and the Lost Lake Peatland SNA, past rolling hills and aspen, spruce and ash forests.
Pheasants Forever, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have launched a new program to get new hunters into fields and forests. Courtesy DNR
Pheasant hunting opens
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Pheasants Forever are inviting hunters to join the Hunter Mentor Challenge and take someone hunting who has never hunted before or has not hunted in a while.
The Minnesota pheasant hunting season opened Saturday, Oct. 15 with an avowed pledge through the Hunter Mentor Challenge to take a new hunter to the fields or forests, who will qualify for a discount code for ALPS OutdoorZ gear and be entered to win a custom YETI cooler from Pheasants Forever.
The program is open to all types of hunting in Minnesota that are legal and in-season — including but not limited to pheasants, grouse, waterfowl, squirrels, deer or wild turkey in the fall and spring. People can also participate by taking someone hunting who hasn’t hunted for a few years.
Pheasant hunters ages 16-64 must purchase a small game license and pheasant stamp. Pheasant hunters must also wear at least one visible article of clothing above the waist that is blaze orange or pink. Bag and possession limits, pheasant transportation requirements, a hunting prospects map and more information are available on the DNR pheasant hunting.
Anyone curious about learning how to hunt pheasants can watch a recorded DNR webinar about pheasant hunting strategies, techniques and how to get started.
Participation is simple: hunters visit the DNR page on the Pheasants Forever website where they take the pledge. After taking the pledge, hunters are asked to take action by mentoring a novice or returning hunter during the 2022-23 season and snapping a picture or short video of the hunting trip. The last step is to submit contact information, a story and a photo or video on the submission page to be entered for prize giveaways. All online entries must be received by June 30, 2023.
The DNR has helpful information for new hunters and experienced hunters who would like to become mentors. To learn more, visit the DNR hunting mentor page.
DNR deer, goose, waterfowl, prairie chicken hunts and wild rice harvest
Metropolis News Service
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL—Stay informed! Here’s a summary of upcoming Department of Natural Resources DNR) wildlife and habitat management activities and ways you can discover, explore and experience Minne- sota’s outdoors.
The public is invited to talk with DNR staff about deer on Thursday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Wildlife managers throughout the state will be available to discuss deer-related topics in local area offices or by phone.
In addition to discussing general concerns about deer, you’re free to talk with DNR staff about upcoming hunting season changes, identify topics that the DNR’s deer advisory committee should be aware of, and learn about other opportunities to provide thoughts and feedback regarding deer management throughout the year.
DNR staff are always available to talk with members of the public throughout the year, and office hours will be set specifically to invite conversation about deer management. How to contact your area wildlife manager
CWD meetings coming up for Grand Rapids
During two upcoming public meetings, DNR staff with the wildlife health and big game programs will share information about hunting regulation changes, CWD management in the Climax and Grand Rapids areas, and answer questions. Attend a CWD public meeting in person, virtually or by telephone. The meetings pertain to deer permit areas 679 (formerly 179) and 661 (formerly 261).
Climax area meeting is 6-8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 22. Climax area background
Grand Rapids area meeting is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23. Grand Rapids area background
More details: Get meeting information
Camp Ripley, youth deer and prairie chicken hunts
Special youth deer hunt permits are for youth who will be 12-15 years old at the time of the hunt. Youth archery hunters in Sand Prairie Wildlife Management Area in Sherburne County can be 10-17 years old. There are a limited number of permits for each hunt. Apply for youth deer hunts
Finally, there are 125 permits for the 2022 Minnesota prairie chicken hunting season. The nine-day prairie chicken season begins Saturday, Sept. 24, open to Minnesota residents only. Apply to hunt prairie chickens
Early goose hunting, ammo tips
DNR has upcoming webinars about opportunities to hunt geese in Minnesota before the regular waterfowl season opens, and about hunting ammunition. The goose hunting webinar is at noon Wednesday, Aug. 24. The hunting ammo webinar is at noon Wednesday, Aug. 31. The webinars are free and registration is required.
Waterfowl counts numbers at or below long-term averages
Spring waterfowl population counts by the DNR provide data that the DNR uses to produce population esti- mates. This year, the estimates are average or below-average for several species of waterfowl that nest in Minnesota. More details: Get the results
Wild rice conditions reports
Each year DNR area wildlife staff and shallow lakes specialists across the state round up wild rice condition reports. The conditions reports are available now on the DNR wild rice page. Overall, many if not most wild rice waters in northern Minnesota are behind normal schedule this year. A cooler early spring meant many lakes had late ice-out and the wild rice growing season was pushed back up to two weeks.
Consequently, wild rice may ripen later than normal and wild rice harvesters going out during the upcoming season will find variable conditions this year in many areas of Minnesota. Ricers need to remember that it is illegal to harvest green rice. More details: Go to the wild rice page to get the conditions reports. From this webpage, you can also sign up for wild rice email updates.