DL, LOW rank among top ice fishing destinations

The website RealClearLife has rated Devils Lake and Lake of the Woods among its top 10 ice fishing spots in the world, ranking them at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

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"The state of North Dakota sure knows how to sell this lake," the website says of Devils Lake. "Touting it as 'a fishing destination unlike anywhere else,' the tourism board brags that its fish are large and healthy, its winter season is long, and the 'huge' size of the lake means you can avoid tangling your lines with any other overeager anglers. Grab a 3- or 10-day license to search for jumbo perch, walleye and big pike."

Of Lake of the Woods, the website had this to say:

"Welcome to the self-proclaimed Walleye Capital of the World, and perhaps the most commercialized location on this list. We say that affectionately, though - Lake of the Woods has the accommodations and resources to turn an ice-fishing trip into a full-blown vacation, complete with snowmobiling and cross-country skiing for anyone who isn't keen on staying on the ice all day. We don't know why they wouldn't, though - there are dozens of pre-heated fish houses, and if you opt for a sleeper fish house, there's a chance you can glimpse the Northern Lights."

Other destinations making the Top 10 list were the Lule River in Sweden, Kathleen Lake in Canada's Yukon Territory, Lake Champlain in Vermont, Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Antero Reservoir in Colorado, Birch Lake in Alaska, Fort Peck in Montana and Caples Lake in California.

-- Herald staff report

Report shows top Minnesota attractions

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., was the state's most-attended tourist attraction in 2017, Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism promotion office, reported this week.

In a news release, Explore Minnesota said the Mall of America drew 40 million visitors in 2017. Coming in at a distant second was Chain of Lakes Regional Park in Minneapolis, with slightly more than 7 million visitors. Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul was No. 8, with 2.2 million visitors, followed by Target Field in Minneapolis, at 2.13 million visitors.

Aside from the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and Park in Duluth, No. 7 at 2.5 million visitors annually, all of the top attractions were in the Twin Cities Metro Area.

Explore Minnesota also broke down top attractions by region. In northwest Minnesota, Itasca State Park was No. 1, followed by Lake Bemidji State Park, WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, Buffalo River State Park near Glyndon and Sanford Center in Bemidji.

"These attendance figures are impressive. They contribute to Minnesota's $15.0 billion tourism economy in a big way, and support jobs all over the state," John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota, said in the news release. "Minnesota offers an endless array of things to see and do, and this list goes to show that people are exploring our state's great indoor and outdoor attractions."

-- Herald staff report

Senate bill would aid CWD research

Just days into the lame duck session of Congress, U.S. Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Doug Jones, D-Ala.; and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., have introduced legislation to ramp up research and testing for chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and other cervids.

Combined with a companion bill previously introduced in the House by Rep. Ralph Lee Abraham, R-La., the aim of the bill would be to understand as much as possible about the fatal brain disease and implement research findings as a critical component of a nationwide response to CWD.

"Passing legislation to ultimately help curb the spread of chronic wasting disease is one of our top priorities for the remaining weeks of this Congress," Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said in a statement. "Misinformation about CWD and how we should deal with it as a hunting community is almost as rampant as the disease itself, and we need definitive research to chart an ambitious path toward recovery. In the meantime, sportsmen and women are prepared to do our part, and that includes advocating for necessary funding and demanding updates to management practices that have failed our wild deer and elk herds in the past."

The bill directs the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on how CWD is transmitted in wild, captive and farmed deer in the United States. The goal would be to identify all factors that contribute to the spread of the disease and hone in on where deeper research is needed. The bill also calls for a review of the best practices and standards for managing CWD in both captive and wild deer, to result in a report of findings and recommendations.

-- Herald staff report

National park reservations available

Are you planning a camping trip to Voyageurs or Theodore Roosevelt national parks this coming summer? Overnight tent camping reservations for the 2019 season became available Thursday, Nov. 15. National Park Service staff encourage visitors who wish to camp in a park to make a reservation as soon as they know their plans. Reservations can be made online at www.recreation.gov or by calling the National Call Center at (877) 444-6777.

-- Herald staff report