For the Birds and More

     I love reading the DNR Weekly reports from their Conservation Officers. I think it’s great they have to prepare a weekly report, I think all government workers should have to do that…  In any case here’s the report from our Conservation Officer and some more DNR news.

CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports that Sunday was for the birds. Early in the day, someone called in a Common Loon sitting along a county road. When the CO arrived, the loon was crying and waiving both wings like it was trying to take off. The CO put it in a dog kennel and took it to Lake Superior. The loon went for a quick swim to clean off the road grime, and then it flew away like nothing was wrong. Later in the day the CO was called to an interpretive center along the North Shore for an American Bittern that had gotten into a wire enclosure that protects freshly planted pine trees from deer. The CO lifted up the enclosure and let the bird out. The bird didn’t realize it was freed and wanted to show the CO that it was nothing to mess with. The CO watched it hiss for a while, and then point its beak straight up towards the sky, standing still. Eventually the bird flew away. The ice probably won’t be out in Cook County for the opener. It definitely won’t be a good idea to go ice fishing. The ice will not be safe. Some people are saying that they want to ice fish just to say they did. You can’t say you did if you fall through the ice and drown.


Fishing opener is on; planning and caution urged

Ice or no ice, Minnesota’s walleye and northern pike fishing opener is Saturday, May 11.

Anglers who have traditionally headed north for the first weekend of the season should check ice conditions and the availability of public water accesses and roads leading to them. Good sources of information are bait shops, resorts and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) area offices at

Even if the ice is out, some waters traditionally open may be closed to fishing to protect fish spawning areas. Information on seasonal closures is available by following the seasonal closures link at or

Water temperatures will be colder than normal even if ice is out. Frigid water can affect more than the bite; it can have dangerous and potentially fatal impacts. Anglers should exercise extra caution and wear life vests. Hypothermia occurs quickly in cold water and the shock of falling into icy water also can cause cardiac arrest, even for people in good health.

For information about this year’s walleye and northern pike opener, visit


Q: How important is the spring snowmelt to Minnesota’s groundwater supply?

A: Snowmelt and rainfall during the spring months are the sources of major replenishment for the entire hydrologic system in Minnesota, including groundwater. While a great deal of the spring runoff melts into lakes and rivers, some of it infiltrates the soil into two principal zones: saturated and unsaturated. The saturated zone is where aquifers are found. Water stored as groundwater flows into rivers and lakes through springs and seeps, helping to maintain their levels. Most of the summer precipitation is taken up by growing vegetation or evaporates. Groundwater pumped from aquifers supplies more than 75 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water and nearly 90 percent of the water used for agricultural irrigation.

– Jay Frischman, P.G., groundwater technical analysis unit supervisor