January 4th 2013 - 12:00 - Pine Country Bank, Rice MN.
-NEWS- Spear cautiously on the newly opened pike waters.
The 2013-14 Ice fishing season is upon us! The biggest changes for this season are great news for most spear fishermen & women. First, there are four newly opened lakes in Itasca County that are available to spear. Deer, Moose, North Star, and Spider Lakes will now be open for darkhouse spearing. They are still designated musky lakes and managed as such. I have been an Itasca County resident all of my life and this is a welcome change from the discrimination of the past. All darkhouse spearing enthusiasts MUST take this new privilege seriously and be absolutely sure of the quarry. In these lakes muskies are protected at this time. The MDAA does not want to answer for the irresponsible mistakes of a few spearers getting caught having accidentally speared muskies. As of this time, the DNR has never documented the taking of an illegally speared musky and we wish to keep it that way! Know your quarry and how to identify a northern pike versus a musky in these waters-every time. If you cannot be sure it is a northern, DO NOT throw the spear!
Warning!!! – Deer Lake is riddled with springs around its shoreline and mid-lake areas! Yes, there are deep water springs in 50-100 feet of water. Ice safety should always be at the top of the list while fishing on this or any lake. I would not recommend driving a truck on Deer Lake at any time! If you take on this high risk, please wait until after January 15th to do so. Four wheelers and snowmobiles should work just fine and keep you on the right side of the ice while fishing.
SPEARING LICENSE CHANGES:
Please check the DNR fishing regulations booklet this season for licensing changes. There are some changes with youth licensing and those 65 and older must buy a spearing license this year. The good news here is that the license is only $5.00 and not $18.00 as it was. This new licensing process should help the spearing community at large because now we will be able to account for more license sales. The MDAA was instrumental in making this change happen along with the opening of 12 lakes statewide, to darkhouse spearing.
-NEWS- About Cass Lake & Slot Limit Lakes
Darkhouse spearfishermen and women were given some good news last week in their quest for increased opportunity and fairness. Spearing will once again be legal on Cass Lake and the number of lakes with protected slots for northern Pike will be capped at 100. With overwhelming local support, the bill to reopen Cass was signed by the Governor. With it's passing, the people of Cass will once again be able to spear as well as harness the traditionally important revenue source that winter spearing is expected to bring their way. The bill to limit Pike slots was also passed and sets a statutory limit on the number of lakes that can be managed with "no-harvest' slots. Originally the DNR agreed to manage 66 lakes for Pike but over time that number ballooned up to 125 with no end in sight. The passage of both of these initiatives sends a clear message that those who practice responsible harvest are no longer willing to stand by and allow their rights to be trampled by those who would like Minnesota's waters to be dominated by a "catch and release" mentality. Responsible harvest is good for Minnesota's waters and is good for Minnesota. The process of returning our lakes to the people who own them has finally begun.
Congratulations Minnesota Darkhouse Anglers Association
By Jeff Johnson, West Central Chapter
Darkhouse Angling in Minnesota has been around for many years. As you can see in this article published by the United States Army Corps of Engineers http://www2.mvr.usace.army.mil/ourmississippi/documents/omWinter2011/page11.pdf it has been a tried and true method of angling long before Europeans settled this continent. For many years there have been discussions and heated conversations between those that really like to harvest fish by use of darkhouse spearing and those that believe it is an unsporting way of taking fish. In the 40’s organizations were formed to advance the cause of the Darkhouse Spear fisherman. These organizations met with successes and with opposition but they nonetheless persevered.
Then in 1986 a number of individuals got together with the express purpose creating a more unified voice. That year marked the formation of the Minnesota Darkhouse & Angling Association. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the organization to which most you reading this article are members. If you are not a member or for whatever reason you have chosen to not be part of the organization we invite you back. Come see what the organization is doing to keep this sport a viable option for many of us to continue to enjoy.
More importantly we want to invite each of you to attend and participate in the 25th Anniversary Celebration. This will be held on Saturday, September 17th, 2011 in Freeport Minnesota at the convention center there. We will have something for the entire family ranging from seminars on how a spear is forged to how to read your GPS and fish electronics. There will be discussions by Jay Leitch and others. The booth area will open at 11:00 AM and close at 4:30. The evening will include a banquet meal and guest speakers along with various attendance raffles with prizes ranging from 25th Anniversary Commemorative Spears to GPS’s and decoys and cash and the list goes on. The banquet is set to begin at 6 pm. Individual chapters are donating many of the prizes. If you would also like to contribute an item please contact the Committee Chair, Dale Lyons.
Elsewhere in the paper you will find entry blanks and information on the tickets for the banquet. Banquet tickets will cost $12.00 with reduced prices for youth. You will also see that we are selling tickets with some excellent prizes for a general raffle. These tickets are limited to 500 and are available from your local chapter officers. For both items we would urge that you order your tickets early to beat the rush and ensure that you get them.
This is a perfect opportunity to meet some of your fellow fisherman from across the state. You can tell some stories, discover a new secret lake, win a dandy spear, learn some history and have a great meal to boot. Mark your calendars, put some gas in the truck, load up your family and we will see you in Freeport. Just as importantly is to pass this newspaper and the invitation on to your neighbor or niece, nephew or cousin, aunt or uncle that does not fish today or belong to this organization. Encourage them to take up the sport of darkhouse angling and to join the Minnesota Darkhouse Angling Association. If each of us signs up one new member our organization doubles in size but its effectiveness will grow exponentially. Even better incentive is the fact that the more kids we can introduce to the great outdoors the longer it will remain great.
Minnesota law allowing angling in a spear house...
The new law was passed in the last legislative session as part of the Fish and Game
Omnibus bill. It went in effect August 1, 2006.
Minnesota anglers can spear and angle in the fish house at the same time, while using one spear and only ONE angling line. The spear and angling line combined are two lines. If someone is using a two hole house and two people are spearing in different holes, then each person could have one spear and one line. When a fish is caught, it must either be immediately released, or placed outside the spearing house. This is to prevent using a live game fish as a decoy.
I hope this clears up any questions you might have...
Here is the News Release from the Minnesota DNR on 12/12/2006...
Important rule changes for Minnesota anglers who spear fish (2006-12-12)
December 1, 2006, brought
some important rule changes for Minnesota anglers who spear fish.
GOOD LUCK! & BE SAFE!