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OUTDOOR NOTES: Leech Lake walleye numbers remain strong

Leech Lake walleye numbers remain strong The walleye population in Leech Lake remains strong, and anglers should continue to expect quality fishing, a fall test netting survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows. Lake-wide, wal...

Leech Lake walleye numbers remain strong

The walleye population in Leech Lake remains strong, and anglers should continue to expect quality fishing, a fall test netting survey by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows.

Lake-wide, walleye counts in DNR test nets averaged 8.9 walleyes per net lift, which was similar to results from the past five years and was higher than the long-term average of 7.7 walleyes per net lift.

"September gill nets showed above-average numbers of all sizes of walleye," said Doug Schultz, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Walker, Minn. "Fishing reports have been excellent all season, and this survey confirms that good walleye fishing is expected to continue through the winter and into next year."

Schultz said the strong 2010 year-class reached keeper size this summer, which "had a lot to do with angling success." Additionally, 36 percent of the walleyes sampled were within the current slot limit and have provided anglers the opportunity to catch larger fish.

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The DNR is considering relaxing the current 18- to 26-inch protected slot limit on Leech Lake to a 20- to 26-inch protected slot limit. If the proposal is carried forward, the relaxed slot limit would be effective for the 2014 fishing opener.

The fall survey also showed yellow perch numbers declined for the sixth consecutive year, while northern pike abundance remains stable. The primary species of nongame fish assessed with the test nets are tullibees, which continue to be present at moderate levels of abundance.

-- Minnesota DNR

Many public lands still open during shutdown

Despite the government shutdown, an abundance of public land remains open for hunting and other recreational activities in Minnesota, the DNR said.

State wildlife management areas, Walk-In Access areas and state forests are open. State fish and game licenses as well as federal duck stamps can be purchased at any DNR license agent, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at (888) 665-4236.

Minnesota's 76 state parks and recreation areas and state trails also remain open.

The Superior and Chippewa national forests remain accessible and available for hunting and fishing. U.S. Forest Service offices and visitor centers, including those in Superior and Chippewa, are closed.

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In North Dakota, all wildlife management areas and other state and nonfederal-managed lands remain open. National wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages, are closed across the U.S. during the shutdown, according to the federal agency.

To check if a particular park is a state park in Minnesota, check out the online map at dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/map.html or contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157, toll-free (888) 646-6367 or info.dnr@state.mn.us .

Find more information about the status of federal lands and waters impacted by the shutdown at www.doi.gov/shutdown/index.cfm .

Additional information about state-managed lands in North Dakota is available on the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

-- Herald staff report

Motorists should be on lookout for deer

Motorists should be especially watchful for deer along roadways this time of year, because juvenile animals are dispersing from their home ranges.

October through early December is the peak period for deer-vehicle accidents. Motorists should slow down and use caution after dark to reduce the likelihood of encounters with deer along roadways. The majority of deer-vehicle accidents occur at dawn and dusk, when deer are most often moving around.

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Deer-vehicle accidents at times are unavoidable. If an accident does happen, a new North Dakota law passed by the 2013 state Legislature eliminates the need for the driver involved in an accident to notify law enforcement authorities if only the vehicle is damaged. Deer-vehicle accidents that involve injury or other property damage still must be reported.

A permit is still required to take parts or the whole carcass of a road-killed deer. Permits are free and available from game wardens and local law enforcement offices.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Related Topics: FISHINGHUNTINGWILDLIFE
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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