Fish and Wildlife Almanac

May 9, 2022


DNR urges people to leave deer fawns alone

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources asks that people avoid disturbing or touching deer fawns, which are born around this time of year.

Most fawns are born in mid-May to mid-June, and fawns do not attempt to evade predators during their first few weeks of life. Instead, they remain still to avoid being seen. During these times, fawns are learning critical survival skills from their mothers but are often left on their own while their mothers forage watchfully nearby.

Be assured deer fawns are likely fine even if they look abandoned or fragile. Even if the fawn is known to be wounded or abandoned due to car strike or animal attack, do not transport it until you talk to a wildlife rehabilitator. For more information about what to do if you find fawns or other species of baby wild animals, visit the DNR website.

DNR reminds anglers to know and follow northern pike zone regulations

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers who might want to keep northern pike to familiarize themselves with the regulations and be prepared to measure the fish. Minnesota has three northern pike zones that apply to inland waters and reflect the differing characteristics of pike populations across the state:

  • North-central: Limit of 10 northern pike; anglers must release all fish 22 to 26 inches, with only two fish  longer than 26 inches allowed in possession. 
  • Northeast: Limit of two northern pike; anglers must release all fish 30 to 40 inches, with only one fish over 40 inches allowed in possession.
  • South: Limit of two northern pike; minimum size 24 inches.

Throughout the state, special regulations that cover individual lakes, rivers and streams remain in effect and take precedence over the zone regulations. The northern pike zone regulations do not apply to border waters. More information about northern pike zones, including a zone map, is available on the DNR’s northern pike page.

DNR offers tips on how to catch, release fish

Anglers who intend to release any of the fish they catch can boost the chances those fish will survive by following best practices for catch and release.

Set the hook quickly to avoid hooking a fish in the stomach or gills. Before handling the fish, wet your hands to prevent removal of the fish’s protective slime coating. If possible, unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water. If a hook is deep in the fish, cut the line and leave the hook in the fish.

When holding the fish out of the water, support it with both hands using a firm, gentle grip. It is ok to measure the fish and take a photo; however, minimize the time the fish is out of the water. Anglers intending to release a fish should not place it on a stringer or in a live well.

To release a fish, hold it horizontally in the water by cradling it under its belly. If needed, revive the fish by slowly moving it forward and backward in the water until it swims away. An alternative to this method is cupping your hand and splashing water into the fish’s mouth and out the gills while holding the fish stationary on the surface of the water. Harvest a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding extensively or cannot right itself in the water.

Find other catch-and-release tips related to fishing equipment, and a video of how to handle large fish like flathead catfish, lake sturgeon or muskellunge, at the Minnesota DNR catch and release page.

Get your fishing questions answered on DNR fishing webpage

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a fishing page to help answer angler questions. The page answers questions like: What species can I fish for? What kind of bait is legal? What kind of fish can I keep?

The page also is a mobile-friendly destination for information on when, where and how to fish. Users will find links to LakeFinder, which provides maps and detailed information on lakes throughout the state, and the new StreamFinder tool that provides a description, species list, regulations and access information for trout streams throughout Minnesota. The DNR fishing page also includes an online version of Minnesota fishing regulations, plus an online version of the 2022 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet, which is also available in print anywhere DNR licenses are sold.

DNR webinars cover fishing lures, walleye fishing basics

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites Minnesotans interested in fishing, wildlife and outdoor skills to tune into upcoming webinars that will discuss fishing lure  choices and walleye fishing basics.

The first, on DNR staff’s favorite fishing lures, will be at noon Wednesday, May 11. As the fishing season opener nears for many of Minnesota’s game fish, DNR staff members will share some of their top picks for fishing lures and how to use them.

The second webinar, on walleye fishing for beginners, will be at noon Wednesday, May 18. Join pro-angler and bait shop owner Nancy Koep as she covers the basics of walleye fishing.

The webinars are part of the DNR’s Minnesota Outdoor Skills and Stewardship Series, which aims to give participants quick, relevant information on upcoming seasons and events, as well as skills to enjoy these opportunities. The webinars are free, but registration is required. More information, including registration information for webinars, is available on the outdoor skills and stewardship page of the DNR website.