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New state DNR license machines coming soon

Good news is coming from the Minnesota DNR. They are providing new electronic licensing machines to the all the facilities that sell licenses around the state.

We all started buying our licenses electronically in 2000. What a pain that has been at times. The promise is that these new machines will be more user friendly, efficient, and faster than the old machines. Let's hope so.

They have, at times, been irritating for customers and providers. They seemed to have a mind of their own and worked well, at best, on a part time basis.

As long as we are on the subject of licensing, I will throw some dates to remember at you. Walleye/northern opener is May 15, and bass is May 29, with those seasons closing February 27, 2011. Muskie will open June 5 and will close December 1st.

We have a number of lakes in our fishing area with special regulations. Mille Lacs lake regulations were also released March 1, and will be the same as 2009. The limit for walleyes on Mille Lacs will be four walleyes, and the size is under 18 inches or one trophy over 28 inches.

I would not mind if the whole state went to those restrictions. All the lakes that have been put on the size restrictions are doing extremely well. The catch rates and average size has gone way up on all of these lakes.

We are easily 10 years into heavy promotion and education of the importance of "catch and release" and "selective harvest."

Unfortunately, some people still don't get it.

This is about the future of our resource. We need to keep educating and, obviously, setting regulations to guide those that don't get it yet.

I am up enjoying Lake of the Woods while you are reading this and will have a report for you on LOW next week. Oh, and by the way, the regulations that have been on LOW have kept that one of the premier walleye lakes in the country.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)