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MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

More than 80% of the watershed that makes up the headwaters of the Minnesota River fails to meet water quality standards.
Cougar sightings have become more common in Minnesota than they were 20 years ago, but the Department of Natural Resources maintains the state does not have a breeding population of the big cats.
The plans were developed jointly between the Minnesota DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and reflect the current “best practices” for fish passage.
Minneopa, Mille Lacs Kathio, Whitewater and William O’Brien state parks also will offer First Day Hikes on New Year's Day.

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Angling has been fair on Lake of the Woods. Ice is broken and jagged near Pine Island. Near Springsteel, the ice is smooth but varies in thickness between 6 and 13 inches.
Nothing’s yet official, but the positive case near Climax, Minnesota, likely will mean a baiting ban for hunters on the North Dakota side of the river in Unit 2B, which follows the Red River from Fargo north to Grand Forks.
A couple of weak hatches in recent years is driving the walleye decline. Meanwhile, sauger populations are booming.
Hunters who have filled their tags can purchase disease management permits for $2.50.
Angling on Lake of the Woods was overall good, but inconsistent. Ice depth for the most part is 5 to 11 inches.
The illegal trade of spruce tops and birch pole continues in Minnesota and Wisconsin, now with stronger ties to convicted felons, many with drug backgrounds. On a good night, two cutters can remove 1,000 spruce tops and clear $1,000 profit.

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The giant was caught Nov. 22 on Mille Lacs Lake.
The October discovery of a CWD-infected wild deer near Climax, Minnesota, along the Minnesota-North Dakota border, adds Clearwater, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk and Red Lake counties to the list of counties where deer feeding and the use of attractants such as salt, minerals and urine is not allowed.
It was reported that an ATV went through the ice on the northeast side of Upper Red Lake, even though the average thickness of the ice on the lake was about 8 inches. Please use caution and keep safety in mind not only during early ice, but throughout the hard-water season.

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