Breeding mallard numbers down, other species up from last year
Minnesota’s breeding mallard population counts are down from last year while other species saw increases, according to the results of the annual Minnesota Department of Natural Resources spring waterfowl surveys.
CO Weekly Report
CO Nicholas Prachar (Baudette) reports an incredibly busy week. Fishing activity was worked on Lake of the Woods and Upper Red Lake. CO Prachar worked numerous AIS violations in Lake of the Woods County and was able to assist multiple agencies with everything from DUI arrests to terroristic disturbances.
Minnesota Fish Tales
Statewide Fishing Report
Summer is here, the days are longer and the sun is hotter. The long, beautiful summer days will gradually warm the water which pushes most fish deeper and deeper.
DNR studies muskie to improve fishing for anglers
Researchers carefully hoist a huge muskellunge onto a boat. They record its measurements, identify the sex of the fish, scan an electronic tag implanted in the muskie and return it to the lake where, one day, it could take an angler’s lure and provide a long-remembered thrill.
DNR approves new deer population goals
New deer population goals have been approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for large portions of northeastern, north-central and east-central Minnesota, covering 40 of 128 deer permit areas in the state.
Fishing & Hunting Reports
Fish mudflats in 15 feet of water or more. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a jig and a minnow or leech. All day action, with peaks in the evening. Bite has been good.
DNR Outdoor Report
Anglers in the north have been catching walleye in good numbers and reporting fair to good catches of catfish, white bass and northern pike as well. Anglers in the southern had luck with crappies and bluegill, from shore and boat, along with some reports of bullheads biting aggressively.
From the Dakotas
Spring Pheasant Count Tops Last Year
Spring Sharptails Look Good
North Dakota Events
South Dakota Reports
DNR Q & A
Q: How does the DNR estimate how many muskie are in a given lake?
A: Muskie exist in very low densities compared to other gamefish, so estimating their numbers can be a challenge. Also, angler reports are not always an accurate reflection of population numbers, for any species, because prey and weather have such a large influence on angling success.
Periodic sampling gives us an idea of how many muskie are in a lake. The best time for fisheries biologists to sample muskie is in the spring when the fish congregate in shallow water to spawn. We use large trap nets, which have a 100-foot-long lead that creates a barrier for muskie swimming along shore. The lead guides the fish into a series of hoops where they can be sampled and released without harm.
Increasingly, the DNR is using mark-recapture studies to estimate adult muskie populations. By marking fish with a tag or fin clip, and then doing another sample to see how many of those marked fish are recaptured, we can estimate the lake’s overall population. Population estimates should provide a more accurate reflection of adult numbers than spring trap net catch rates because catch rates are influenced by weather, water levels and other factors like timing, effort and duration of the assessment. Estimates of adult density should also improve our understanding and management of the species because they will allow for more legitimate comparisons among different muskie populations.
Steve Mero, DNR fisheries specialist