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Field Reports: Outdoors news items from around the Northland

Stillwater, Minn., artist Nicholas Markell has won the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources trout and salmon stamp contest with a painting of a brown trout. The trout and salmon stamp validation is sold for $10 along with fishing licenses and is required for Minnesota residents age 18 to 64 and nonresidents older than age 18 and under age 65 to fish designated trout streams, trout lakes and Lake Superior and when in possession of trout or salmon. (Image courtesy of Minnesota DNR)

Wild rice harvesting season opens annually between Aug. 15 — Tuesday — and Sept. 30, and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers say it's shaping up to be an excellent season. Peak harvesting dates are estimated to be in late August to early September as long as the weather remains mild. Here are some updates from around the region:

• Grand Rapids — Rice looks good; seems like the perfect growing year so far.

• Tower — The rice crop will be average to below average due to abundant rain in June and July; plants are about 7-10 days behind schedule.

Minnesota's green rice law makes it illegal to harvest unripe or "green" rice. So even though rice beds may look like they are maturing well, people must make sure the grain is ripe before attempting to harvest it.

A license is required to harvest wild rice. Harvesting licenses can be purchased online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense or at any DNR license agent.

Apply to hunt prairie chickens

If you want to hunt prairie chickens in Minnesota, you have until Friday to be chosen for one of 125 permits available this fall. The nine-day prairie chicken season begins Sept. 30, and is open only to Minnesota residents.

Hunters will be charged a $4 application fee and may apply individually or in groups of up to four. Prairie chicken licenses cost $23. Apply at any DNR license agent, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at (888) 665-4236. An additional fee is charged for orders placed online or by phone.

The hunt takes place in 11 prairie chicken quota areas in west-central Minnesota.

The season bag limit is two prairie chickens per hunter. Last year, 111 hunters harvested 102 prairie chickens.

Get the kids outdoors

The annual Youth Fall Outdoor Expo, sponsored by the Izaak Walton League, Hartley Nature Center, the Duluth Retriever Club and other groups, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Duluth Retriever Club on Lester River Road.

The event will include boat and water safety, archery, hunter safety, hunting dog demonstrations, trapping demonstrations, laser shooting and more.

The event is free and is limited to the first 125 kids ages 5 and older. Call Hartley Nature Center at (218) 724-6735 for required registration by Aug. 21.

Fly-fishing bass contest set

The Great Lakes Fly Shop in Duluth will hold a "Paddle the Pads" fly-fishing contest Aug. 26 on the St. Louis River at Chambers Grove. The event will celebrate Duluth's newly restored section of the river at Chambers Grove, where more than a quarter-mile of spawning beds and fish habitat was re-created.

The contest entry fee is $20, and the contest is limited to the first 100 paid participants. Proceeds go to Minnesota Land Trust. The fee includes entry to a brat and beer social at 6:30 p.m. after the tournament closes. If you don't want to fish but still want to join in the fun, just come for the social (a donation of $5 is suggested).

Contest competitors may fish from canoes, kayaks, non-motorized drift boats, SUPs, float tubes and inflatable pontoon boats only. The contest is a catch-photo-and-release event for largemouth and smallmouth bass. To register for the tournament, visit mnland.org.

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