DNR Offers Four Multicultural, Family Fishing Events on Mississippi River

Original news release by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2019/07/25/dnr-offering-four-multicultural-family-fishing-events-on-mississippi-river/

Anyone who wants to try fishing is invited to multicultural, family fishing events happening at four locations in four days along the Mississippi River from Coon Rapids to Hastings, where people can get a chance to fish for many types of fish at close-to-home locations. 

Angler fishing on the Mississippi River.

“These events are a way to get people excited about fishing, especially from communities traditionally underrepresented in our angling public,” said Ray Ruiz, Department of Natural Resources fishing and hunting skills liaison. “I see a lot of people fishing the river, and if you think about it, the river connects everybody – from Coon Rapids to Hastings, they all share the same water.”

The events will include fun, interactive and practical fishing methods and techniques and are geared toward anyone who doesn’t much have experience with fishing, lacks fishing equipment or wants to learn how to fish on the river’s edge. Attendees will learn how to tie fishing knots, practice casting, making baits, and fishing, with fishing gear and bait provided. People can attend one or more of the four days of events, scheduled as follows:

  • Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park in Coon Rapids, 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15
  • Boom Island Park in Minneapolis, 4-8 p.m. Friday Aug. 16
  • Hidden Falls Regional Park in St. Paul, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17
  • Lake Rebecca Park in Hastings, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18.

The events will let people try river fishing, which can be different from lake fishing because of the moving water and the variety of fish to catch. Each location includes playgrounds, places to grill and amenities near the river. Ruiz also plans to go over fishing techniques and how to fish for different species of fish – from smallmouth bass to panfish to catfish.

“The river flows through our major metro area and it’s a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to give fishing a try,” Ruiz said. “We’re bringing fishing to the people, all you have to do is show up.”

The fishing events are possible through participation of the city of Hastings, city of Minneapolis, National Park Service, city of St. Paul and Three Rivers Park District.

Potential anglers who want to learn how to fish can visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/GoFishing. The page covers fishing basics, where to fish, how to catch different types of fish, fishing programs to join, and the importance of fishing ethics and being stewards of Minnesota’s natural resources.

DNR commissioner: Connection to outdoors critical to health, conservation

Credit to Kirsti Marohn at MPR News: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/06/18/dnr-commissioner-connection-to-outdoors-critical-to-health-conservation

Bucks such as this wide-racked whitetail will be the target of deer hunters across the Minnesota on Saturday, Nov. 4, when the state’s firearms deer season opens. (Photo/ Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources told a group of lake advocates on Tuesday that it’s her personal mission to connect more people with the outdoors.

Sarah Strommen spoke at the “Water Connects Us All” conference in Walker, Minn., organized by the nonprofit Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates. The two-day conference focused on challenges facing the state’s natural resources, including climate change, aquatic invasive species and threats to water quality, as well as possible solutions.

Strommen highlighted Minnesota’s changing demographics, noting that the state’s population is getting older, more urban and diverse. But she said youth and families aren’t using state parks and other recreation facilities as much because of a lack of time or experience, concerns about safety or language barriers.

Strommen said people’s connection to nature is critical for the long-term protection of the state’s natural resources, its economy and residents’ well-being.

“The reality is that people who work to protect these resources, the main factor that motivates people is that personal connection or personal experience,” she said.

Strommen also said there’s a wealth of research showing the mental and physical health benefits of spending time in nature. Even just a few minutes a day spent in an urban park can lower stress and anxiety levels, she said.

Referring to the increased use of technology among kids and teens, Strommen said she was glad her son was fishing at their nearby family cabin while she was at the conference.

“I feel really fortunate that my kid is outside right now. He’s not on the screen,” she said. “But that is not the norm. I’m very well aware that I am raising a child who does not match the activities of his peers.”

But Strommen said there is also growing concern about obesity and interest in a healthy, active lifestyle. People’s motivation for using parks and trails is changing — with exercise now a leading reason, Strommen said. She said the DNR is trying to reach those people to promote activities like stand-up paddle boarding, fat-tire bike events and trail runs.

Strommen said the DNR also is updating older state parks and facilities while keeping hard-to-reach groups in mind, by adding things like Wi-Fi and better access for people with disabilities.

“I know that’s like the worst thing for some people to hear is that you can access Wi-Fi in our campgrounds,” she said. “But the reality is there are a lot of people that cannot leave their job if they can’t connect. And if they don’t feel like they can leave their job, they just won’t go camping, and they won’t take their family.”