Nelson takes reins at Whitewater WMA
The 27,000-acre Whitewater Wildlife Management Area has a new manager, its fourth in its 80-year history.
Don Nelson, who had been Department of Natural Resources area wildlife supervisor for the past 10 years in Rochester, was appointed manager, replacing Jon Cole who was manager for 30 years. Cole had replaced George Meyer, who replaced George Lemke.
Before Nelson became supervisor, he worked 12 years as a DNR environmental review biologist, after starting with the agency at its Madelia farmland wildlife research station 26 years ago.
Whitewater WMA is the fifth-largest wildlife management area in the state and is adjacent to the equally popular Whitewater State Park. They are about a half-hour east of Rochester.
Trout fishing regulations are heading into new waters this fall. For the first time, anglers will be able to legally fish for trout in this region year-round.
The usual catch-and-release season, which once went from Sept. 15 to the end of the month, will now go through Oct. 15. And after that, catch-and-release fishing will be allowed in Whitewater, Forestville and Beaver Creek Valley state parks through the end of the year. And beginning Jan. 1, all streams will be open for winter catch-and-release fishing. In the past, only selected waters were open.
Conservation officer reports
• Mitch Boyum, Rushford: "Reports working a busy small game/archery opener. Squirrel hunters had better success than previous years as most hunters had squirrels in the bag. Most bowhunters stated that they saw deer on stand and stated the cool weather put deer on the move."
• Kevin Prodzinski, Wabasha, "Reports working a very busy opening weekend of small game and archery deer season.Numerous hunters were checked finding a varying degree of success.Panfishing is improving on the river as the high water continues to recede."
• Tom Hemker, Winona, "Reports a good archery deer and small game opener with limits of squirrels and many deer checked.Fishing has slowed with high water on the river."
• Joel Heyn, Plainview: "Some anglers were doing better and most squirrel hunters had some success.Youth duck hunters had a great time with a lot of wood ducks around."
• Scott Fritz, LaCrescent: "Youth duck hunters had a great morning.Wood duck was the number one bird in the bag.Small game hunters had great weather.He checked many groups with limits or near limits of squirrels.Trout catch and keep season ended with anglers having their way with the trout. Lots of fish caught.The Mississippi River remains high. Fishing on the river is poor."
Wyatt Stout of Winona, a student at Winona State University, teamed up with Cade Laufenberg of Stoddard, Wis., on Sunday to win the FLW College Fishing Central Conference Invitational tournament on Kentucky Lake at Gilbertsville, Ken.
The two were in 14th place after one day, but on the second, they were one of only two duos that caught a five-fish limit. Their two-day total of 10 bass weighed 28 pounds, 1 ounce. The victory earned the club $4,000 and qualified the team for the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
On Saturday, they fished in shallow water, looking where seagulls were diving onto bait. On Sunday, they went with lipless crankbaits and Carolina rigs.