The summer of 2017 appears to have been another good one for trolling on Minnesota waters of Lake Superior. Final numbers aren’t in from charter captains yet, said Cory Goldsworthy, Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, but he expects the reports to be good.
“It sounds like it was good, that lake trout season was great again this year,” Goldsworthy said. “Maybe not as good as last year, but last year was an incredible season with over 30,000 lake trout caught. That was a record high.”
Charter captain John Stieben of Optimum Charters generally concurred with Goldsworthy’s assessment — and he said plenty of bonus salmon were around as well as lake trout.
“It was solid numbers (of lake trout),” Stieben said. “Probably not quite as prolific as last year. But we had more king salmon around this year than in years past, and that’s a good thing. The cohos (coho salmon) were as big as we’ve ever seen them — legitimate 3- and 4-pound cohos.”
Waters were warm late in the season, Stieben said, likely driving lake trout deeper or farther away seeking colder water.
“This year, we had 62 degrees down 120 feet in the middle of September,” he said. “That slowed the catch a bit, and probably saved some fish. There’s nothing wrong with not taking every fish out of the lake.”
Optimum Charters runs four charter boats on Lake Superior.
Bowhunters finding some deer
After the first three weeks of the Duluth city bowhunt for deer, hunters had registered a total of 80 deer, according to the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance. The season opened Sept. 16 and continues through Dec. 31.
Of the total, just two were adult bucks, the others antlerless deer. The most productive area of the hunt is a zone in far western Duluth, where 14 deer have been taken.
A total of 300 hunters are eligible to take part in the hunt this year, the 13th season for the city hunt. Hunters are required to take at least one antlerless deer before taking a buck in the hunt.
Grouse hunting success varied
As more leaves come down, grouse and woodcock hunters should begin to have more success. Grouse hunters had high expectations for this fall’s season after reports last spring of large increases in drumming counts in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Some hunters have felt that the number of birds this fall hasn’t lived up to those expectations.
But Duluth-area Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers Kipp Duncan and Andy Schmidt both said grouse numbers appear to be “pretty good” based on their contacts with hunters.
Conservation officer reports from around the region indicated varying levels of success among grouse hunters.
“Grouse hunters are beginning to find pockets of success as well as more competition,” reported CO John Slatinski of International Falls.
“Hunters report seeing lots of birds but add that they are very spooky,” reported CO Darin Fagerman, working the Grand Marais area. “Hunting pressure has been down a lot compared
to the last few seasons.”
Amber Ladd, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer in the McGregor area, noted in her weekly report that she had responded to a complaint about a public-access issue in which an angler would launch his boat, leaving his vehicle parked on the ramp with the trailer still in the water while he fished.
“It was explained to the angler that just because there is not a parking area at the public access (it) does not mean he can keep his vehicle on the boat ramp while out fishing. Enforcement action was taken,” her report stated.
Hugo’s big-buck contest sign-up open
The Hugo’s and Brimson Sportsmen’s Club’s 2017 Big Buck and Doe Contest is now accepting entries, $15, for this fall’s Minnesota firearms deer season.
All registrations must be in by midnight on Nov. 4 at Hugo’s in Brimson. Deer may be taken by legal rifle, gun, pistol or crossbow during the firearms deer season. Deer must be shot in one of these deer permit areas: 130, 131, 132, 133, 176, 178, 181 or 182. Entries will be accepted until noon on Nov. 20.
For more information, call Hugo’s at (218) 848-2220. Minnesota’s firearms deer season in Northeastern Minnesota opens Nov. 4 and continues through Nov. 19.