Fishing in Minnesota? Better buy a new license

Better get a new license if you’re going fishing  in Minnesota; 2014 fishing, game and trapping licenses expire Saturday.

This could be a point of confusion for some people, because Minnesota fishing licenses for a few years didn’t expire until the end of April.

No longer; some hunting and fishing seasons continue past the end of February when the old licenses expired, and new licenses now are required.

The exception is ice shelter permits, which remain effective through April 30.

New licenses are available at all Electronic Licensing System outlets, online at and by phone at (888) 665-4236.


Fish photo reminder

The recent cold snap — hopefully, it’s short-lived — provides an opportunity to remind anglers to be careful when photographing fish that will be released.

Jason Hamilton, a Lake Winnipeg guide who provides occasional fishing reports for the Herald, posted an item on Facebook this week reminding anglers not to pose with big fish outside in cold weather and scolding those who do.

Lake Winnipeg, of course, is a hotbed for trophy walleyes, a destination where there’s a better than 50-50 chance that anglers will catch the biggest walleye of their lives.

It’s also known for extreme cold temperatures, and that’s where photo problems can occur.

In cold weather, take those fish photos inside the heated shelter — which most of us use if we’re fishing in these extreme conditions. The photo might not be as striking and the lighting not as good, but exposing a fish to subzero temperatures will freeze its eyes and layer of protective slime in seconds.

The fish might swim away when put back down the hole, but it soon will die.

That’s an unintended consequence that easily can be prevented. Unless you plan to keep the fish, don’t take outside fish photos until temperatures improve.

Sportsmen’s groups applaud Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act

Sportsmen’s groups are applauding a bipartisan bill introduced today in Congress to improve hunting and fishing access on federal lands and conserve fish and wildllife habitat.

Introduced by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 includes Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., among its co-sponsors.

Here’s what sportsmen’s groups had to say about the legislation:

Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership:  “America’s sportsmen are frankly gratified by the enthusiasm shown by the sponsors of this legislation for addressing our community’s priority issues, and we welcome the introduction of this bipartisan bill in the 114th Congress.
“Hunting and angling in the United States depend on the conservation of important fish and wildlife habitat and ample opportunities for the public to access that habitat. This bill would realize both of those objectives while also ensuring strong, reliable authorization for key management programs. The TRCP looks forward to working with our new Congress to achieve goals from which all citizens stand to gain.”

Steve Williams, president of the Wildlife Management Institute, former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and UND graduate: “The Sportsmen’s Act recognizes the contributions that hunters and anglers provide our economy and the national workforce. The act provides some simple fixes that would improve hunting and angling and advance fish and wildlife conservation. I hope Congress will act quickly to pass the bill and acknowledge the tens of millions of hunting and fishing families across this nation.”

Becky Humphries, chief conservation officer of the National Wild Turkey Federation: “We are thrilled that this bipartisian legislation has been introduced early in the 114th Congress. The NWTF is dedicated to working with these members to pass this important legislation.”

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action:  “Preserving our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage is the core of the NRA’s mission. The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 advances those efforts. On behalf of our members, I want to thank Senator Murkowski for her leadership on this issue. As a result of her hard work and determination, this important legislation is one step closer to becoming law and preserving America’s outdoor heritage.”