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Entries in Minnesota (47)

Friday
Oct202017

Virus May Be Way To Control Carp, Mussels, Other Exotic Species

University of Minnesota researchers may be able to use a recent fish virus outbreak to combat an invasive species plaguing state lakes.

Researchers with the university's Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center are studying Koi herpesvirus to see if it can be used to control the invasive carp population, Minnesota Daily reported.

"We want to find ways to kill carp and zebra mussels and all these invasive species," said MAISRC Director Nick Phelps. "We started this particular project in 2014 — went two years and didn't see (the virus) anywhere, then saw it in seven to eight lakes in a matter of a month and a half."

 

The center first confirmed a naturally-occurring case of the virus in early August. Researchers confirmed several more cases in early October.

Carp have been in the area for more than 180 years and can disturb lake environments, said Isaiah Tolo a first-year doctoral student with the research center.

"It's a big problem here," Tolo said.

Phelps said his team hopes to release the virus into Minnesota lakes to stop the spread of invasive carp. Koi fish are a subspecies of common carp so they're both susceptible to the virus. The disease won't harm other fish because it specifically targets carp, he said.

"We've never found it in a walleye, musky or bait fish," Phelps said.

Phelps said Australian researchers have spent a decade looking into bio-control to eliminate carp. Australian researchers plan to release the virus into the environment next year, he said.

"It'll be the first time that pathogens will be used for aquatic animal control," he said. "They're pushing the envelope a bit, so we're sitting back and learning what we can from that experiment."

Friday
Aug112017

Angler Answers Anti-Tournament Criticism in Minnesota

Jake Lee (left) and Jacob Foutz of Bryan College maintain their lead on the second day of the 2017 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops on Lake Bemidji out of Bemidji, Minn., with a two-day total weight of 34 pounds, 10 ounces.

Angry that the Bassmaster College Series National Championship is being held on "his" waters, a Bemidji, Minn., area resident wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. That letter is below, followed by a response from guide Jason  Rylander.

His reply to the anti-tournament comments is spot on, and reveals Rylander to be an excellent spokesman for recreational fishing, tournament style and otherwise.

The letter writer asked good questions, but what offended me, and I suspect many others, is that he already has made up his mind that tournaments are a bad thing and really isn't looking for answers to those questions. HIs anti-tournament bias is a commonly held view in the North, often based on the beliefs that the water is theirs and that fish are to keep and eat.

Letter to the editor: How many fishing tournaments can our local waters handle?

I live on the Mississippi River east of Bemidji. It’s a narrow, serene stretch of water that this morning is crawling with big bass boats. The air smells like gasoline. Promoted by the marketing department at Bemidji State University, the Bassmaster College National Championship fishing tournament is in town.

“Pre-fishing” has begun. Ninety heavy boats. Six full days of fishing ending with the weigh-in on Saturday. So I have questions.

How many fishing tournaments can our local waters handle in one summer? Who decides this? What is effect on water quality of 90 heavy powerboats over six days? What is the relationship of fishing tournaments to the introduction invasive species (zebra mussels, milfoil)? The Bassmaster tourney is catch-and-release, yes, but with what effect on fish kept in live wells the entire day? Do “pro” fisherman ever read studies on delayed fish mortality? And what are the larger messages of the Bassmaster world view?

Expensive boats, high tech equipment, faster-is-better fishing, then leave town? Bemidji State University recently won a major, national award for sustainability. We can do far better by our school, our waters, and our general economic development than these tournaments.

A sign on my dock reads, “Bassmasters Not Welcome.”

------------

Mr. Weaver, you asked a few questions in your letter to the editor in today's Bemidji Pioneer. Let me answer them the best I can.

1. Lake Bemidji, and its connecting waters, typically only host a few local bass club chapter outings. They don't regularly host any large scale bass tournaments.

2.The DNR issues permits for these tournaments upon approval; including all of the local walleye derbies held on Lakes Bemidji and Irvine.

3. The water quality effect of 90 bass boats for 6 days will be minimal. A vast majority of these boats are set up with new motors with higher pollution/efficiency regulations than most of the motors you see go past your dock. The boats are designed for shallow water, and will be forced to respect the no-wake zones.

4. Although I have no research from any studies to back up my opinion here. The tournament anglers will have to follow state laws regarding AIS. In my experience, most avid anglers are more diligent about cleaning their boat, trailer, and live wells than your average boater/pontooner. I'm sure an organization such as Bassmaster is taking all necessary precautions to avoid any spread of AIS.

5. Bass mortality in tournaments is pretty low. They survive very well in livewells, much better than the walleyes. The study I found with the highest delayed mortality rate was 27%. This isn't good, I'll admit that. There wasn't a study available that I could find for MN tournaments though. I was happy to hear that Bassmasters is providing release boats that will be releasing the fish back near the waters they were caught from.

6. I don't know much at all about the Bassmaster larger message, aside from they are promoting angling, getting kids outdoors, and providing an awesome competition for college anglers. Aside from maybe making a few bucks and employing a handful of people, I am unaware of any hidden agendas.

Mr. Weaver, I disagree with your letter to the editor. I believe events like this are great for the community, bring extra income in for local businesses, and the exposure the area will get is far worth it. I've heard that the television airing will be viewed by as many as 5 million people on ESPNU.

These are young people who love fishing, who are promoting the sport of angling, and I think Bemidji is blessed to have them here for a week. Let's have them leave here having felt welcome and with good memories, so that someday they might return with their families to vacation and enjoy all that Bemidji has to offer.

To have them drive past your dock, with your "Bassmasters Not Welcome" sign, is embarrassing. I'm going to make my own sign, "Bassmaster College Anglers Welcome to Bemidji."

Sunday
Jul232017

Mining Threatens Boundary Waters, Says BHA

A sportsmen's advocacy group is sounding the alarm regarding a renewed attempt to develop copper mines within the watershed of Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, one of the most visited wilderness areas in the country.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) reports that Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan hopes to convince the Interior Department to approve leases mines on the edge of the designated area. In December, both Interior and Agriculture declined to renew the leases.

"Minnesotans – including hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists – have made clear the value of the Boundary Waters, of fish and wildlife, and of our treasured public lands traditions," said BHA's Will Jenkins.

 "That Congressman Nolan would attempt to dismiss these interests and jeopardize a crown jewel of America's wilderness system shows where his loyalties lie."

Thursday
Jun292017

Mille Lacs Lake Tops Bassmaster List for 2017

Minnesota’s state motto is “Star of the North,” which seems appropriate seeing Bassmaster Magazine has crowned the state’s second largest lake as the best bass fishery in the nation based on the recent release of the publication’s 100 Best Bass Lakes rankings.

Mille Lacs Lake, a 132,516-acre natural lake located 100 miles north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, soared to the No. 1 spot after months of research unveiled its unbelievable production of smallmouth bass. Mille Lacs was ranked No. 6 in the nation last year.
 
“This fishery really got our attention last September during the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, when 94 limits of smallmouth were weighed in that topped the 20-pound mark,” explained Bassmaster Magazine Editor James Hall. “Had that been a four-day event, eventual winner Seth Feider may have topped the 100-pound mark with smallmouth, a feat that has never, ever happened before.”
 
But it takes more than one good event to push a fishery to the top of these rankings.
 
“After months of research and processing data from dozens of sources, we realized that the Angler of the Year event was hardly impressive production for the lake. Thirty-pound limits were weighed in during five team events last fall, including two limits breaking the 36-pound mark. Remember, these are limits of smallmouth. Just incredible,” Hall said.
 
This year, the rankings highlight the Top 12 fisheries in the nation regardless of location. The remaining lakes are ranked within one of four regions (Northeastern, Southeastern, Central and Western), so readers can easily identify the Top 25 lakes nearest them.
 
The Central division, which has been dominated by Toledo Bend Reservoir the past two years (it was the first fishery to be ranked No. 1 more than one time), experienced the biggest shakeup of the rankings. As Mille Lacs took over the No. 1 spot here, Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas also jumped ahead of Toledo Bend (which fell to No. 4 in the region). Lake Erie, fishing out of Buffalo, N.Y., took top honors in the Northeastern division (No. 7 nationally). California’s Clear Lake ended up the best in the West (No. 3 in the nation). As for the Southeastern division, North Carolina’s Shearon Harris Lake topped all other fisheries (No. 4 in the nation).
 
“There are a lot of surprises this year,” Hall admits. “Shearon Harris may be one of the biggest. But this lake produced two limits this year that topped 40 pounds. Can you imagine an 8-pound average?”
 
Other highlights include the comeback of Michigan’s Lake St. Clair, a former No. 1 lake on this list that faced a serious downturn two years ago. This smallmouth factory has climbed back to No. 9 in the nation. New Bullards Bar in California (No. 4 in the Western division) has produced several world-record class spotted bass in the past 12 months, including an 11.25-pounder. South Carolina’s Santee Cooper Lakes (Marion and Moultrie) are again producing near-30-pound limits, earning them the No. 8 spot in the nation and top spot in the Southeastern division.
 
As for bragging rights for the individual state with the most lakes making the Top 100, Texas wins by a long shot. The Lone Star State features 11 lakes that made the cut. California was a distant second, with a still-impressive showing of seven lakes being ranked in the Top 100.
 
Bassmaster’s 100 Best Bass Lakes will be published in an 11-page section of the July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine. The complete rankings will also be featured on Bassmaster.com.
 
The Top 12 In The Nation
1. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota [132,516 acres]
2. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas [114,500 acres]
3. Clear Lake, California [43,785 acres] 
4. Shearon Harris Lake, North Carolina [4,100 acres]
5. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California [1,153 square miles]
6. Lake Berryessa, California [20,700 acres]
7. Lake Erie, New York [30-mile radius from Buffalo]
8. Santee Cooper Lakes, Marion and Moultrie, South Carolina [110,000 acres and 60,000 acres, respectively]
9. Lake St. Clair, Michigan [430 square miles]
10. Falcon Lake, Texas [83,654 acres]
11. Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River), New York [50-mile stretch]
12. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee [36,240 acres]
 
Central Division
1. Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota
2. Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas
3. Falcon Lake, Texas
4. Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas/Louisiana [185,000 acres]
5. Lake Palestine, Texas [25,560 acres]
6. Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin [4,945 acres]
7. Newton Lake, Illinois [1,775 acres]
8. Lake Ray Roberts, Texas [29,350 acres]
9. Lake Oahe, South Dakota/North Dakota [370,000 acres]
10. Lake Amistad, Texas [64,900 acres]
11. Lake Fork, Texas [27,690 acres]
12. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri [54,000 acres]
13. Caddo Lake, Texas/Louisiana [25,400 acres]
14. Squaw Creek Reservoir, Texas [3,275 acres]
15. Table Rock Lake, Missouri [43,100 acres]
16. Lake Texoma, Texas/Oklahoma [89,000 acres]
17. Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas [34,300 acres]
18. Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, Oklahoma [46,500 acres]
19. Lake Waco, Texas [8,465 acres]
20. Millwood Lake, Arkansas [29,500 acres]
21. Lake Bistineau, Louisiana [15,500 acres]
22. Lake Ouachita, Arkansas [40,324 acres]
23. Mississippi River Pools 4-10, Minnesota/Wisconsin [from Lake City past La Crosse]
24. Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas/Missouri [45,000 acres]
25. Okoboji Chain of Lakes, Iowa [12,687 acres]
 
Northeastern Division
1. Lake Erie, New York
2. Lake St. Clair, Michigan
3. Thousand Islands (St. Lawrence River), New York
4.  Lake Erie, Ohio [30-mile radius of Sandusky]
5. Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont [490 square miles]
6. Saginaw Bay, Michigan [1,143 square miles]
7. Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan [32 miles long, 10 miles wide]
8. Burt/Mullett lakes, Michigan [17,120 acres and 16,630 acres, respectively]
9. Bays de Noc, Michigan [Escanaba to Little Summer Island]
10. Lake Charlevoix, Michigan [17,200 acres]
11. Cayuga Lake, New York [38 miles long, 3 1/2 miles wide]
12. Oneida Lake, New York [79.8 square miles]
13. China Lake, Maine [3,845 acres]
14. Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia [20,600 acres]
15. Webber Pond, Maine [1,233 acres]
16. Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania [5.8 square miles]
17. Candlewood Lake, Connecticut [5,420 acres]
18. Great Pond, Maine [8,533 acres]
19. Lake Barkley, Kentucky [58,000 acres]
20. Kentucky Lake, Kentucky/Tennessee [160,309 acres]
21. Chautauqua Lake, New York [13,156 acres]
22. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky [65,530 acres]
23. Stonewall Jackson Lake, West Virginia [2,630 acres]
24. Upper Chesapeake Bay, Maryland [The entire bay is more than 64,000 square miles, but the best fishing is in the top one-third.]
25. Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire [20 miles long, 9 miles wide]
 
Southeastern Division
1. Shearon Harris, North Carolina
2. Santee Cooper Lakes, South Carolina (Marion and Moultrie)
3. Chickamauga Lake, Tennessee
4. Lake Okeechobee, Florida [730 square miles]
5. Pickwick Lake, Alabama/Mississippi/Tennessee [43,100 acres]
6. Lake Murray, South Carolina [50,000 acres]
7. Lake Seminole, Georgia/Florida [37,500 acres]
8. Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee [39,000 acres]
9. Lake Guntersville, Alabama [69,000 acres]
10. Bay Springs Lake, Mississippi [6,700 acres]
11. Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida (plus Kissimmee Chain of Lakes) [22,700 acres]
12. Cherokee Lake, Tennessee [28,780 acres]
13. Lake Istokpoga, Florida [26,762 acres]
14. Cooper River, South Carolina [30-mile stretch below Lake Moultrie Dam]
15. Stick Marsh/Farm 13, Florida [6,500 acres]
16. Fontana Lake, North Carolina [10,230 acres]
17. Clarks Hill Lake, Georgia/South Carolina [71,000 acres]
18. Wilson Lake, Alabama [15,930 acres]
19. Kenansville Reservoir, Florida [2,500 acres]
20. Lake Wateree, South Carolina [13,250 acres]
21. Lake Hartwell, Georgia/South Carolina [56,000 acres]
22. Kerr Lake, North Carolina/Virginia [50,000 acres]
23. Logan Martin Lake, Alabama [15,263 acres]
24. Lake Lanier, Georgia [38,000 acres]
25. Davis Lake, Mississippi [200 acres]
 
Western Division
1. Clear Lake, California
2. Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California
3. Lake Berryessa, California
4. New Bullards Bar Reservoir, California [4,790 acres]
5. Saguaro Lake, Arizona [1,264 acres]
6. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho [25,000 acres]
7. Diamond Valley Lake, California [4,500 acres]
8. Lake Havasu, Arizona/California [19,300 acres]
9. New Melones Lake, California [12,500 acres]
10. Apache Lake, Arizona [2,568 acres]
11. Dworshak Reservoir, Idaho [17,090 acres]
12. Columbia River, Oregon/Washington [191 miles from Portland to McNary Dam]
13. Siltcoos Lake, Oregon [3,164 acres]
14. Roosevelt Lake, Arizona [21,493 acres]
15. Potholes Reservoir, Washington [27,800 acres]
16. Sand Hollow Reservoir, Utah [1,322 acres]
17. Tenmile Lake, Oregon [1,626 acres]
18. Moses Lake, Washington [6,800 acres]
19. C.J. Strike Reservoir, Idaho [7,500 acres]
20. Lake Mohave, Nevada/Arizona [26,500 acres]
21. Brownlee Reservoir, Idaho/Oregon [15,000 acres]
22. Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona [108,335 acres]
23. Elephant Butte Reservoir, New Mexico [36,500 acres]
24. Lake Mead, Nevada/Arizona [158,080 acres]
25. Noxon Rapids Reservoir, Montana [7,700 acres]

Thursday
Dec012016

Smallmouth Bass Records Broken or Tied in Four States

Michigan's state record smallmouth bass, caught on a nightcrawler.During a year when the smallmouth bass record possibly has been broken or tied in four states, the most recent is arguably the most impressive for a couple of reasons.

First, Bruce Kraemer's catch Sept.11 on Michigan's Indian River nearly reached double digits, checking in at 9.98 pounds. That's more than a half pound heavier than the previous record, 9.33 pounds, caught less than a year before. The latter toppled a mark that was more than a century old, a 9.25-pound smallie caught in 1906.

Meanwhile in neighboring Wisconsin, the record of 9.1 was set in 1950, while Minnesota's record of 8 pounds has stood since 1948.

Second, Kraemer caught the huge fish while fishing with a live nightcrawler on light spinning gear from his backyard. He wouldn't even have known it was record if he hadn't entered it in a fishing contest sponsored by a local business."I usually spend June through the end of September up here at the cottage," said the angler who lives the rest of the year in Treasure Island, Fla. "I've got some great fish stories and some nice fish, but nothing like this."

And he wouldn't have had "this," if his neighbor, Ron Krieg, hadn't convinced him to stay a little longer.

"He also netted the fish for me and talked me into entering it into the fishing contest at Pat and Gary's Party Store," the angler said.

Up in New York, meanwhile, Patrick Hildebrand tied the state record with an 8.25-pound smallmouth that he caught a few weeks earlier out of Cape Vincent on the St. Lawrence River. Taken on a dropshot rig in about 35 feet of water, it equals the mark set in 1995. New York Department of Environmental Conservation hasn't yet officially acknowledged the catch as tying the state record, but likely soon will.

Both of those fish might have grown to record proportions by gorging on gobies, an exotic species common in both Indian River and the St. Lawrence. In fact, Kraemer said that he had rigged the nightcrawler above his sinker to keep it off the bottom and away from the small bottom-dwelling fish.

"When I set the hook, I first thought that I had a goby," he recalled. "But when I pulled, it didn't move and I thought I was snagged on bottom. But then it started moving toward the middle of the river."

Out in South Dakota's Little Horseshoe Lake, Lyal Held caught a pre-spawn smallmouth that checked in a 7.185 pounds (7-3), to surpass the record of 7, taken at the same fishery in 2013.  Captured in late April, Held's fish had a girth of 19 inches that almost equaled its length of 19.5. "I've never seen anything so fat," Held said. "It was so fat its eyes were bulging."

And in Montana, Melvin McDonald might have set the new standard in August at Fort Peck Reservoir with a catch of 6.7 pounds as he was bottom-bouncing a Berkley Gulp! Minnow for walleyes. Montana Department of Natural Resources has yet to confirm the catch. Current record of 6.375 (6-6) was set twice, in 2000 on the Flat River and in 2002 at Fort Peck.