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Latest New Richland, Minnesota, weather

The 9-13 inches of snow predicted for our area thankfully did not materialize. We did, however, get more snow than needed at this time of year. Luckily for me, two of my grandsons, Trevor and Grant, came and shoveled my driveway and walk. I really appreciated it and I know that my back was extra thankful. It’s nice to have good grandsons!

In March of 1965 I was working at the Conger Creamery as a milk truck driver when we had the worst storm that I personally can remember in my lifetime. It started out as rain and sleet, which caused a lot of trouble for me as I was hauling a load of skim milk to Freeborn Foods and the roads turned to glare ice about the time I had gotten half way to Albert Lea. The Conger road was gravel at that time, and with the spring thaw we’d already experienced, the frost was out and there were deep ruts in the road. The gravel was every bit as icy as the pavement and as I rounded the curve at Upper Twin Lake, the rear of the truck was sliding toward the ditch but my tires were in the rut. I had the door open and was driving half-standing with my foot on the gas ready to bail if the truck went over the edge; luckily I made it. After I unloaded I headed back to Conger on Highway 16 and slowly but surely made it back to the creamery.

As the sleet turned to snow, it turned into a full-fledged blizzard so me and a couple of my fellow workers who all rode together spent the night at the creamery. After the snow subsided I picked up milk at the farm places that I could access. When the snow finally let up we were able to drive back to Albert Lea. Shortly after I arrived home, the blizzard got its second wind and howled for a couple of days, so I was going nowhere. One evening my dad said he was going to walk to the Northside Confectionery so he could buy smokes, bread and milk. There was no way I was letting him go alone, so I went along. We walked on top of the snow, which was almost on the level with the top of the hill on Bridge Street by the fairgrounds, and the power and telephone lines weren’t very far from the top of the snow.

When the storm finally subsided and Hwy. 16 opened, my co-workers and I headed back to Conger. Driving on the road was like going through a tunnel and along the way there were graders, semis and snowplows buried in the snow on the side of the road. Once in Conger we had to try and get the milk from the farms we could access. There were places south of Conger where only a few feet of telephone poles were sticking out from the top of the snow. Farmers dumped a lot of milk down the drain that week because they only had so many cans and so much room in their bulk tanks. I know that I shoveled more snow that winter than I probably have the rest of my life. That was the worst blizzard I can remember and it was surely one winter I will never forget.

Mille Lacs regulations designed to keep walleye fishing open

Regulations designed to protect the fish needed to rebuild Mille Lacs Lake’s walleye population will require that walleye anglers use only artificial bait and immediately release all walleye when Minnesota’s 2016 fishing season opens Saturday, May 14.

“A catch-and-release walleye season allows us to protect future spawners yet acknowledges the desire that fishing remain open,” said Don Pereira, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Not allowing harvest is a difficult decision, but it provides our best option.”

From May 14 to Thursday, Dec. 1, anglers targeting walleye must use artificial bait and immediately release all walleye caught. Anglers targeting northern pike and muskellunge may possess and use sucker minnows longer than eight inches, but all other anglers must not possess any other bait that is live, dead, frozen or processed.

Other changed regulations:

• Walleye — Night closure beginning Monday, May 16, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and continuing through Dec. 1. Muskellunge anglers may fish at night but all baits, live or artificial; in possession must be at least eight inches long.

• Northern pike: Five fish with only one longer than 40 inches. All northern 30-40 inches long must be immediately released.

• Bass: Four fish with only one longer than 21 inches. All fish 17-21 inches long must be immediately released. This year’s safe walleye harvest level established by the DNR and Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission remains at 40,000 pounds, with 28,600 allocated to state anglers and 11,400 for tribal fishing. Allowing fishing beyond those limits puts the walleye population at risk and a federal court decision requires that walleye fishing be suspended.

“These new regulations reflect the DNR’s commitment to continue providing world-class fishing at one of Minnesota’s premier vacation destinations,” Pereira said.

Launch operators receiving a permit can use live bait provided they agree to participate in efforts to collect data from fishing trips, launch customers and cooperate with the hooking mortality study. Their permits would be suspended if walleye fishing on Mille Lacs is closed.

Although I am not an expert on much of anything I do feel that the total catch and release plan for walleye fishing on this big lake coupled with the no live bait rule could be devastating to many resorters and bait shop owners. I don’t know of too many folks that would pay to go out on a launch to purposely catch fish that they can’t keep. I don’t really believe that you could hype up the musky, northern and bass fishing enough to make up for the walleye fishing.

Until next time, after a little setback in the weather we may once again be able get out and enjoy some outdoors activities that don’t involve a shovel. Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers while we are enjoying our freedoms  that our men and women serving their country are preserving for us. They are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

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