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Kids' crappie tournament planned for next Sunday in Walker

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outdoors Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The annual Marine Max Kid's Crappie Tournament will take place Sunday, May 4 at the Marine Max Marina on Leech Lake.

Kids 17 and under are invited to take part in the event. Participants must wear a personal floatation device at all times and bring along their fishing pole, but bait will be provided.

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The event runs from 1 to 4 p.m. and includes free hot dogs and pop, a casting contest, guest appearance by Smokey Bear, minnow races and lots of door prizes for the kids.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times while on the docks and fish other than crappie can be entered. The marina is located just past the stoplight on Highway 371 north and a banner will mark the location. There is no fee to attend.

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Several proposed angling rule changes have been up for consideration by the Minnesota Legislature, but most likely won't pass for 2008. Proposals to move the date of the walleye opener up one week, drop the walleye limit from 6 to 4 and change walleye length limits aren't moving forward

However, State Sen. Satveer Chaudhary's (DFL-Fridley) omnibus bill still includes a conservation license. Such licenses are currently available in certain Canadian provinces and allow anglers to purchase a license for a reduced rate, but permits them to keep only a half-limit of fish.

Another proposal that's still alive is a walleye stamp. The $5 stamp would be voluntary, with proceeds used to help support Minnesota's walleye stocking efforts.

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I received a message from Park Rapids area fisheries supervisor Doug Kingsley this week regarding the activity from Rainy River's sturgeon season.

Doug and wife Julie had been up to the Rainy River and each caught a nice sturgeon, 42 inches and 28 inches, respectively. However, they weren't quite as big as the fish reported by Lake of the Woods assistant fisheries supervisor, Dennis Topp, who sent this email to Kingsley:

"Attached is a photo of the first 80-inch sturgeon that I've heard of in recent history for these waters (at least that I've seen proof of). Ironically, it was caught by a woman fishing with a North Dakota game and fish biologist that I work with, Lynn Schlueter. Notice that the fish is as wide as the boat.

Conservatively, there were 200 boats fishing sturgeon on this end of the river last Saturday, during the catch and release season. One resort, alone, had 80 registered guests that were targeting sturgeon."

The harvest season for sturgeon runs from April 24 to May 7 and July 1 to Sept. 30. A special tag is required to harvest sturgeon.

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The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will soon erect nets in the channel between Big Sand and Lake Emma, but are waiting for the ice to melt on Emma.

The nets are used to capture suckers for stripping. The offspring are raised in captivity and placed in muskie rearing ponds as food for the growing fish. Walleye that land in the nets are quickly measured and released.

A DNR representative regularly stays on site between the two lakes throughout the night to guard the nets from "critters" such as beavers that can damage the set-up.

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