Ice conditions changing on the Mississippi

While much of the attention of outdoors people has been focusing on the chronic wasting disease control program around Pine Island, a lot of fishing and hunting continues in the rest of the region.

Here are some things Department of Natural Resources conservation officers noted from last week:

• Tyler Quandt of Red Wing reports that ice fishing is going steady in the area and open water anglers took advantage of the nice weather. Open water fishing success has been pretty slow. He cautioned anglers that Lake Pepin's ice is "very unstable" this year due to high flows. Others said the ice didn't form well because heavy snow fell on early ice, insulating it.

• Dan McBroom of Rochester said coyote hunters were out and only a few complaints were generated for trespassing.

• Scott Fritz of La Crescent reported fishermen were catching crappies, bluegills, walleye and sauger. 


• Tom Hemker of Winona said there was heavy fishing pressure last weekend. "Some fishing below the river dams found limits of walleye and sauger," he said.

• Scott Moran of Wabasha reports fishing is still pretty slow in the area. Predator hunters were active when the weather cooperated. 

Snow goose hunt: A special hunt to lower the number of snow geese, including blue-phase snows and smaller Ross' geese, will be March 1 through April 30. A spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained through any DNR license agent, online at , and by telephone at 888-665-4236. There is a $3.50 application fee to cover the cost of issuing the permit. No other license, stamp or permit is required.

Most fall hunting regulations apply to this season, including nontoxic shot requirements and federal baiting regulations. In addition, all refuges closed to either duck or goose hunting during fall seasons are also closed in spring. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset each day. No daily or possession limits apply. Use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns is allowed.


The hunt is part of an international effort to reduce by 50 percent the populations of lesser snow geese and Ross’ geese that breed in Arctic coastal areas and the Hudson Bay area. The goal is to reduce habitat damage on the breeding grounds caused by high populations of the birds.

But waterfowl hunters around here shouldn't prepare to go out to hunt. Minnesota is on the far eastern edge of the spring migration so most of the shooting takes place in the far western part of the state.

Applying for conservation grants:The next round of applications for Conservation Partners Legacy Grant Program started Feb. 15; all applications must be in by March 30. About $775,000 remains from the fiscal year 2011 appropriation for the program, to be used for projects requesting between $5,000 and $125,000.



"We’re looking for good, small projects that will benefit Minnesota’s fish, game and wildlife," said Leslie Tannahill, CPL grant coordinator. Examples of previously funded projects and their locations can be found on the DNR’s website.

A non-state match of at least 10 percent is required for all applications requesting up to $100,000, and at least 15 percent non-state funds are required for all applications requesting more than $100,000.


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