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DULUTH — On a sunny March morning, the Knife River comes hustling around a shaded bend and emerges into full sunlight. It is far above Lake Superior, the river's ultimate destination, at this point. This bend is several miles above the runs where steelhead anglers hope to hook powerful rainbows on their spring spawning runs.
BAYFIELD, Wis. — The parking lot at this boat launch near Bayfield on Lake Superior was half-filled with pickups and boat trailers on the morning of April 1. Lots of trollers were out on the 38-degree morning to comb the big lake for coho salmon, brown trout, splake and any other gamefish they might encounter. Washburn's Luke Kavajecz launched his boat early the same morning, but he wasn't going trolling. Kavajecz, a Chequamegon Bay fishing guide, would be going after the popular Seeforellen brown trout, and he's discovered an alternate way to catch them.
DULUTH — With a relatively early spring and most snow now gone in Minnesota's turkey-hunting range, turkey hunters are optimistic about their prospects. It's a fair bet that some turkey hunters are practicing their yelps with diaphragm-style calls — hands-free, of course — on their daily commutes. Minnesota's spring wild turkey season opens Wednesday, April 12.
ST. PAUL — Despite lobbying by a coalition of Minnesota outdoors and environmental groups, Minnesota legislators have so far not included hunting and fishing license fee increases in bills before both the House and Senate. Nearly 50 of those conservation groups from across the state have asked legislators to include nominal fishing and hunting license fee increases in legislation this session to shore up Department of Natural Resources budgets. Several weeks remain in the legislative session.
DULUTH — The image was one that could make an angler drool — nearly 400 rainbow trout flopping and splashing in the cold spring waters of the French River. Handsome specimens all, their bronze flanks were speckled with dark spots and a crimson wash running the length of each fish. Of course, it was not a natural scenario.
DULUTH — First-year results from a steelhead genetics study on Minnesota's North Shore streams confirm that hybridization between steelhead and stocked Kamloops rainbow trout is occurring, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fisheries officials said. "We found that Kamloops ancestry was pretty much widespread in both juvenile and adult populations (of steelhead)," said Nick Peterson, DNR anadromous fish specialist at French River. "That being said, still the majority of fish we caught were pure steelhead. That's important to anglers."
SAGANAGA LAKE, GUNFLINT TRAIL, Minn. — When you lean back in your chair and tilt your face to the sun, you can almost believe you're in Mazatlan. The sun's warmth seeps deep into your cheeks, and all you can smell is the sunscreen you smeared on earlier. You half-expect to look up and see a pelican gliding by. But, no.
WISCONSIN'S BRULE RIVER — Brock Haugrud of Lake Nebagamon was beside himself with joy. He was standing knee-deep in the Brule River on Saturday morning, cradling a crimson and silver 26-inch steelhead. Haugrud, 23, had just caught the fish on a fluff of pink yarn. "This is a 'holy smokes' fish!" he exclaimed mostly to himself.
DULUTH, Minn.—The time is now to increase hunting and fishing license fees, says a coalition of Minnesota hunting, fishing and environmental groups. Forty-eight of those groups — deer hunters, anglers and conservationists — have signed on to a letter sent Tuesday, March 14, to legislative leaders, urging action this session to make incremental increases in license fees before the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has to begin cutting staff or programs.
DULUTH, Minn.—When steelhead season opens Saturday, March 25, on Wisconsin's lower Brule River, it's safe to say a lot of anglers will be drifting bits of colored yarn or marble-sized bags of spawn. Those techniques are time-honored presentations for taking steelhead on the Brule as well as on North Shore streams.