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The Lowdown

Invasive Species in the News

March 7, 2012
Asian Carp leaping in the Mississippi

The Asian invasion has come to Winona, and it is making news.

Seems that commercial fisherman netted a silver carp and a big-head carp last week in the Mississippi River just outside of the city. Both the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the federal government have taken notice of the northern advance of this invasive species. A bill recently introduced by a Minnesota contingent seeks to limit the spread of the Asian carp.

Should these species spread further north they could do great harm to the ecological balance of the river. Silver and big-head carp are nearly insatiable in their consumption of algae and other organisms, which form the base of the food chain. At risk is Minnesota’s multi-billion recreational fishing industry as the carp and sport fish compete for their meals.

Also, in the invasive species news is the discovery and proliferation of zebra mussels in Lake Minnetonka, Medicine Lake, and 28 other Minnesota Lakes. Waterfront owners have been pressing Minnesota legislators to use a portion of the Clean Water Legacy Fund to fight the spread of the small mussel. The fingernail-sized mussel attaches itself to boats, docks, and water intake systems creating a nuisance and damaging the fish population.

The news of the spread of zebra mussels makes it time to remind boaters to help prevent the spread. When leaving a lake and trailering to another body of water, captains must insure that their boat has been cleaned and dried thoroughly. Boaters must be sure to empty and flush their live-well systems before entering another lake. Fisherman should empty and clean their minnow buckets after a day on the water.

It is up to every boater in Minnesota to help prevent the spread of all invasive species.

The Lowdown, Trip Planning

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Open for Fishing

July 8, 2011
A nice smallie resides in a fly fisherman's net

A nice smallie resides in a fly fisherman's net

In last week’s blog I gave you an update on bear reports coming from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As of this writing not much has changed, and no new problem bears have been reported. Keep your camp clean, protect your food pack, and all will be good.

Here in Duluth we have one curious bear making news and that is Dylan the Bear out on Park Point. Seems Dylan swam across from Superior, WI sometime in May and has been raiding the local bird feeders. Other than a few upset robins and finches he hasn’t been much trouble. However, there is a live trap set for him in an effort to relocate Dylan to a less residential neck of the woods.

The news I have for you today is two-fold; first, the BWCAW is open and unaffected by the state government shut down in Minnesota. Second, the fish are biting, and it is time to get out on the water. After spending some time roaming around at (that’s where you reserve your BWCAW permit) it is apparent there are still permits to be had for good entry points. Book a permit today, and then choose the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park as your permit issue station.

The bait shops in Grand Marais are reporting that fishing is good in general in the east end of the BWCAW. Walleyes are starting to slow down, but if you know where to find them a shore lunch is in your future. Smallmouth bass are being caught while still in shallow water in the lakes. Fishermen are finding surface lures and very shallow runners are catching these smallies.

The report out of Ely is a little bit different; walleyes are being caught at a pretty good pace in 12 to 18 feet of water. In the evenings they are coming shallower onto structure in the eight-foot range. At the present time anglers seem to be having the best luck with leeches. Smallmouth bass in the Ely area are running a bit deeper than their eastern brothers. Fisherman are catching smallies in five to eight feet of water on Rapalas and other shallow to medium running lures.

If you are a fly fisherman, and would love to see some flies tied this Saturday, July 9, head on over to the Duluth Pack store at 365 Canal Park Drive. EJ from the Great Lake Fly shop will be there from noon to 3:00 p.m. demonstrating his tying abilities with flies and streamers made to entice the big ones. As always there is no charge for the fish stories or other lies told.

Get out there and enjoy the adventure!

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