Pat Miller, Special to the Pioneer
PARK RAPIDS — Year-in and year-out, some of the best deer hunting in Minnesota can be found in the Park Rapids area. A terrain that features a mixture of agriculture and forests creates perfect habitat for the adaptable animals and, during the past two years, mild winters have resulted in a stress-free lifestyle.
BEMIDJI—Protecting antlerless deer is a key ingredient to successfully managing a population but, if you want to see the numbers increase, you also need help from Mother Nature. Fortunately, the Bemidji area has been able to employ both components in recent years. "We've been conservative in our antlerless harvest the past few seasons and that has enabled us to maintain our adult does," said Bemidji Area DNR wildlife manager Dave Rave. "We've also had a couple of mild winters in a row."
UPPER RED LAKE – Anglers in the Bemidji area have a variety of lakes to pick from and those waters boast a multitude of different fish species that draw the attention of the fishermen. On Upper Red Lake, however, the walleye is the primary magnet. “The walleye is the target species for 97 percent of the anglers on Upper Red,” said Bemidji area DNR fisheries supervisor Gary Barnard. “And that is a fairly unique situation.”
CASS LAKE – By nature, walleyes love to wander and monitoring their travels throughout the Cass Lake Chain is among the goals of a project currently being conducted by the Bemidji area DNR Fisheries officials. Each spring the DNR officials collect walleye eggs at a spawning site near Lake Andrusia. Those eggs eventually grow into millions of fry which are used to satisfy the stocking requirements of various Bemidji area lakes.
BEMIDJI – From an angler’s perspective, the Bemidji area experienced an early spring this year and fishermen may have to alter their traditional tactics if they want to catch walleyes this weekend.
BEMIDJI – From the opening day of the summer fishing season to the day the ice retreats in late spring, someone will be fishing on Lake Bemidji. By boat, wading from shore, casting from the docks and with the aid of ice fishing structures, anglers constantly target the various game fish that call Lake Bemidji home. Despite the pressure, however, the lake and the fish that swim in its waters, continue to thrive.
CASS LAKE -- The travels of the walleyes throughout the Cass Lake chain of lakes will be the root of a study conducted during the next few years by the Bemidji Area Department of Natural Resources Fisheries officials. The project will begin this spring with the stocking of walleye fry marked with tetracycline into Lake Andrusia.
RED LAKE -- During the past 15 years, the walleye fishery on Upper Red Lake has completed a 180-degree turn-around. In the late 1990s, walleyes, especially spawning-age walleyes, were so scarce in Upper and Lower Red Lake that state and tribal officials were forced to impose a 10-year ban on any walleye harvest. During that time, fisheries officials also planned to implement a comprehensive recovery plan that would include extensive fry stocking and continual monitoring of the plan’s progress.
BEMIDJI – Walleyes looking for a place to spawn have many options if they swim about in Lake Bemidji. And those options are among the reasons why Lake Bemidji has developed into one of the premiere walleye lakes in Minnesota. “Lake Bemidji has many variable spawning habitats within the shorelines,” said Bemidji Area DNR Fisheries Supervisor Gary Barnard. “There are reef arms, rocks and gravel. It also has very good upstream spawning habitat in the Mississippi and Schoolcraft rivers.