October 20, 2017 - DNR urges caution while burning fall yard debris

Northwestern and central Minnesota have elevated fire danger due to sparse rain, high winds and lack of humidity. This means that open burning may be restricted in certain counties. The Department of Natural Resources urges Minnesotans to use caution while burning yard waste or leaf piles outdoors and to check the burning permit website for information. 

“During fall, we know that residents and property owners will be taking care of leaf and brush piles,” said Casey McCoy, DNR wildfire prevention supervisor. “Piles can smolder undetected for several weeks under the right conditions. Windy, fall days can reignite these piles.”

On average, Minnesota issues approximately 43,250 burn permits annually. When weather conditions warrant it, state fire team leaders may turn burning permits on or off. To determine whether burning is allowed, Minnesotans should regularly check their county burning restrictions. Residents may need to find alternatives to burning such as composting or hauling brush to a collection site or wait until it is safer to burn.

“If you do decide to burn yard waste or leaf piles, do so when there is less wind,” said Linda Gormanson, burning permit coordinator. “Instead of burning your yard waste and potentially causing a wildfire, compost or chip your yard waste or bring it to a collection site.”

Burning restrictions do not apply to campfires; they are still allowed. Clear an area around the campfire, watch it continuously and make sure it is out cold to the touch before leaving.

Fire danger can change quickly. Check the Minnesota Incident Command System site https://goo.gl/W686km for fire behavior conditions. For questions about burning restrictions, check the DNR page at mndnr.gov/burnrestrictions or call your local Forestry office.



October 19, 2017 - Whitefish, tullibee sport-netting to open on select Grand Rapids area lakes

Recreational netting for whitefish and tullibee (cisco) is anticipated to open on several Schedule I Lakes in the Grand Rapids fisheries work area beginning in late October, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Schedule I Lakes, which are more susceptible to sudden changes that impact water temperatures, will be opened and closed on a 48-hour notice posted at lake accesses, other public places, and the DNR website. Schedule II Lakes, will open Nov. 3.

Schedule I Lakes (48 hour notice)

Anticipated opening dates are as follows:

  • Friday, Oct. 27 through Sunday, Dec.3, for Deer (near Deer River), and Turtle (3.5 inch mesh).
  • Friday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 10, for Side and South Sturgeon (1.75 inch mesh).
  • Friday, Nov. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 10, for Big Balsam and Nashwauk (1.75 inch mesh).

Schedule II Lakes

Lakes open to whitefish and cisco sport netting Friday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 10:

  • Bass (north basin).
  • Ball Club.
  • Bowstring*.
  • Little Bowstring.
  • Cut Foot Sioux*.
  • Deer (near Effie).
  • Grave.
  • Jessie.
  • Maple.
  • Pokegama.
  • Round (near Squaw Lake –1.75 inch mesh).
  • Rush Island.
  • Sand (near Max)*.
  • Swan.  (1.75 inch mesh)
  • Twin Lakes (near Marble).
  • Winnibigoshish* and
  • Little Winnibigoshish* (1.75 inch mesh).

*Bowstring, Cut Foot Sioux, Sand, Winnibigoshish and Little Winnibigoshish are designated infested waters because of the presence of faucet snails or zebra mussels. Nets and equipment used in infested waters may not be used in any other waterbody unless they have been dried for ten days or frozen for two days.

Fishing regulations require that:

  • Netters purchase both a whitefish netting license and angling license.
  • A person may use only one gill net, not exceeding 100 feet in length and 3 feet in width.
  • One end of net must have a pole, stake, or buoy projecting at least two feet above the surface of the water or ice.
  • Nets must have an identification tag attached near the first float of the end that is projecting from the surface of the water or ice.
  • Identification tags must be a minimum of 2 ½ inches by 5/8 inch permanently bearing the name and address of the owner. Identification tags for marking nets are provided by the owner.
  • Nets may not be set after sunset or raised before sunrise.
  • All gill nets must be set and lifted by the licensee only. Anyone assisting in the taking of whitefish or ciscoes must have proper licensing.
  • Nets must be tended at least once every 24 hours and all gamefish and non-target species must be immediately released from the net.
  • A net may not be set in any water deeper than six feet.
  • A net may not be set within 50 feet of another net.
  • Minimum gill net mesh size shall be no less than 1-3/4 or 3-1/2 inch stretch measure depending on the lake (see full list of lake and size regulations online).
  • Nets used in designated infested waters must be dried for a minimum of 10 days or frozen for 2 days before using in a different water body. Nets should be dried for 10 days or frozen for 2 before moving from any lake to another.
  • Nets used in spiny water flea and/or zebra mussel infested waters should be not used in any other waterbody
  • Nets should be transported in sealed container.
  • Whitefish and ciscoes taken by sport gill-netting may not be bought or sold.
  • Whitefish and ciscoes taken by sport gill-netting may not be used as bait.
  • Within the Leech Lake Reservation boundaries, the possession limit for whitefish taken by sport gill-netting is 25, and the possession limit for ciscoes taken by sport gill-netting is 50.
  • Net placement should not inhibit use of the lake by other boaters.

About 700 people obtain special permits to net for whitefish-tullibee each year. The DNR bases netting schedules on expected water temperatures, fish abundance and vulnerability of game fish. As the water temperature cools, game fish head to deeper water and whitefish-tullibee come to shallow water for fall spawning.  Netting is allowed when there is little chance that game fish populations would be negatively impacted by recreational netting in shallow water.

Find information about sport netting by lake, minimum mesh sizes, and fishing regulations at

http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/regulations/fishing/whitefish-tullibee.pdf or contact the DNR’s Grand Rapids area office at 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, or call 218-328-8836.



October 16, 2017 - New maps make it easier to visit Minnesota state forests

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has produced six new, state-of-the-art maps that will make it easier and safer for people to explore, hunt, and recreate in state forests.  

“The DNR has updated six state forests with 53 more to go,” said Forrest Boe, director of the DNR Forestry Division. “This five-year effort will include updating maps for all of Minnesota’s state forests.”

State forest users now have two maps options. A geoPDF map will allow users to download a map onto a mobile device using a variety of map apps and then track their location as a blue dot on the screen. The new user-friendly, paper maps highlight the unique recreation features of each forest and include pop-out maps for popular campgrounds and day-use areas.

“The little blue dot that appears on the map on my phone goes with me whether I’m on or off-trail,” said Laura Duffey, DNR state forest map project coordinator. “This feature lets people know exactly where they are in a state forest—no more getting lost.”

The maps are also more detailed than previous versions and highlight the endless recreation opportunities in state forests, such as hiking, mountain biking, birding, berry picking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and horseback, ATV and snowmobile riding. Many state forests also offer campgrounds, fishing piers, boat launches, swimming beaches, and picnic areas.

The six new maps are available in time for fall hunting and cover more than 240,000 acres of state forest land and thousands of miles of trails.

New geoPDF and paper maps are now available for:

  • Paul Bunyan State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties
  • Badoura State Forest in Cass and Hubbard counties
  • Croix State Forest in Pine County
  • Huntersville State Forest in Cass, Hubbard and Wadena counties
  • Lyons State Forest in Wadena County.
  • Chengwatana State Forest in Pine and Chisago counties

The Paul Bunyan and Badoura state forests are popular spots for hunters. Combined, they contain two campgrounds and day-use areas, four off-highway vehicle trails, five wildlife management areas (WMA), two ruffed grouse management areas, and four state game refuges. They also have hiking, biking, snowmobiling and skiing trails.

The Huntersville and Lyons state forests are popular with hunters. Each state forest contains four WMAs and several miles of trails and roads for off-highway vehicles. Additionally, the Huntersville State Forest offers two campgrounds, a horse campground, and 24 miles of designated horse trails.

The St. Croix State Forest offers a variety of year-round recreation opportunities. It has 20 miles of horseback trails and a horse campground with 56 campsites. In the winter snowmobilers can enjoy 42 miles of trails while in the summer mountain bikers can cruise 25 miles of trails. The Boulder Campground and day-use area has 22 secluded campsites and access to Rock Lake for swimming, fishing and boating.

The Chengwatana State Forest contains the Snake River Campground and several miles of off-highway motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle trails. Three state water trails run through the forest: Kettle River, Snake River, and St. Croix River. Snowmobilers also use the Matthew Lourey State Trail, which runs through the forest. The new maps also shows locations of National Park Service campsites along the St. Croix River.Digital, geoPDF maps are available on the state forest’s webpage at www.mndnr.gov/stateforests.

People can get a free paper map at a local DNR office or the DNR Info Center by sending an email to info.dnr@state.mn.us or calling 888-646-6367, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m.



October 16, 2017 - Learn the rules for portable stands on wildlife management areas

Hunters planning to use portable stands on wildlife management areas this season are reminded to check regulations to learn when they need to remove stands after hunting. 

“In most of the state, leaving stands overnight on WMAs is not allowed and they must be removed at the end of the day,” said Bob Welsh, Department of Natural Resources wildlife operations manager. “Users of most WMAs will not see a change in stand regulations this year, but there is a change in an area of northwestern Minnesota.”

In a specific portion of northwestern Minnesota, new legislation allows portable stands to be left out on WMAs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.

Minnesota has 1.3 million acres of land in WMAs, and an estimated 500,000 hunters are expected to hit the woods and fields during firearms deer season in hopes of harvesting a deer.

New in northwestern Minnesota
The new regulation allows WMA users to leave up to two portable stands overnight in any WMA in the northwestern corner of the state roughly north of Thief River Falls and west of Warroad. The area also is described as north of Highway 1 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to the western edge of the state, and west of a line from Highway 89 where it exits the Red Lake Indian Reservation to Fourtown, then north on the west side of Dick’s Parkway Forest Road, then north to Highway 5 to the northern edge of the state.

The DNR defines a portable stand as a stationary platform or blind designed and capable of being readily moved by hand by a single person in a single trip without the aid of a motorized vehicle, is secured in position and does no permanent damage to the natural environment.

Hunters leaving a stand overnight must label the stand with the hunter’s name and address; the hunter’s driver’s license number; or simply with the hunter’s MDNR number. The label must be readable from the ground.

WMAs elsewhere in Minnesota
In WMAs in the remainder of the state, stands cannot be left overnight.

“Every year we have people leaving stands overnight on WMAs, so it’s a common violation,” said Greg Salo, assistant director of the DNR Enforcement Division. “We have this regulation in place to prevent some users from preempting others from the opportunity to use WMAs on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Portable stands may be used on WMAs if they are removed each day at the close of shooting hours and do no permanent damage. Spikes or nails driven into trees are not allowed, but screwing or clamping devices are allowed if removed each day at the close of shooting hours.

“In addition to WMAs, there are a variety of other public land types and hunters should be aware that regulations governing the use of portable stands can differ depending on the type of public land they’re hunting,” Salo said.

Hunters should always wear a safety harness if using an elevated stand, added Salo.

“In addition to wearing a safety harness, check climbing sticks, steps or ladders for damage and always wait to load a firearm until safely in the stand,” Salo said.

Hunters need to be familiar with hunting regulations, which are available at any DNR license agent or online at mndnr.gov/regulations/hunting. Hunting questions should be directed to the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.



News & Events SEP 8th

GENE GRANDNER

Gene Grandner passes away -

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DNR News OCT 20th

DNR urges caution while burning fall yard debris

Northwestern and central Minnesota have elevated fire danger due to sparse rain, high winds and lack of humidity. This means that open burning may be restricted in certain counties. The Department of Natural Resources urges Minnesotans to use caution...

Read More