Larry Weber’s recent book “Web Watching: A Guide to Webs and the Spiders that Make them,’’ has won a national book award.

Weber and publisher Sparky Stensas’ Stone Ridge Press won the Independent Book Publishers Association's Benjamin Franklin silver award.

The indie book award program recognizes excellence in books published during calendar year 2018. Out of nearly 1,500 entries, one gold winner and two silver winners were named in each category. More than 150 librarians, booksellers and design and editorial experts – most of whom have decades of book industry experience – judge the books submitted.

Weber, a retired Marshall School science teacher, naturalist and News Tribune nature columnist, lives outside Barnum. Stensaas, of Wrenshall, is the founder of Stone Ridge Press which publishes regional and national outdoors and nature books. He is also the Executive Director of Friends of Sax-Zim Bog.

Streams open, and lakes not far behind

North Shore streams of Lake Superior opened with a roar over the past two weeks and steelhead fishing was off with a bang.

Anglers reported good catches early last weekend. But then rain and snow turned the streams muddy, high and fast. The same problem was reported at Wisconsin’s Brule River.

After the snow melts, a few days without rain should bring stream flows down and improve fishing.

Meanwhile lakes across the region are rapidly losing their ice, in many cases tuning black. That’s a sure sign the ice is deteriorating rapidly. Conservation officers across northern Minnesota reported last week that lakes were on the verge of or already were unsafe for people to venture out.

Okie angler lands likely Minnesota record whitefish

Billy King of Pryor, Okla., now holds what appears to be a new Minnesota fishing record. King caught a 29.5 inch whitefish that weighed 13.57 pounds on a certified scale. The fish was caught ice fishing April 6 on Lake of the Woods near Springsteel Resort north of Warroad, Minn.

The existing state record lake whitefish, caught March 21, 1999, on Leech Lake near Walker, Minn., weighed 12 pounds, 4 ounces and measured 28.5 inches, records from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources show. King’s fish was witnessed by two DNR fisheries officials. He now awaits the agency's official certification of the record.

DNR wants input on possible hunting changes

Minnesota hunters, wildlife watchers, landowners and others can provide their thoughts about deer populations and proposed hunting and trapping season changes.

To get copies of the Department of Natural Resources proposals or to comment go to  mndnr.gov/input/wildlife-input.html or by email jason.abraham@state.mn.

The deadline to comment is April 21. The DNR is taking general comments on the upcoming 2019 deer season will help form their decisions on antlerless permits.

Specific proposals include:

  • Expand the youth deer season statewide. The current season is only open for firearms hunting in 15 permit areas in northwestern Minnesota and 13 permit areas in southeastern Minnesota.
  • Eliminate the required lottery entrance for firearms hunters hunting in the A or B seasons.
  • Extend the fall turkey season through November.
  • Eliminate the requirement that wild turkey hunters use shotguns 20 gauge or larger.
  • Allow statewide spring wild turkey hunting, rather than zone specific, except in three small permit areas composed of public hunting land.
  • Move the opening date of the fisher, marten and bobcat seasons to late December.
  • Require breakaway devices on snares, which would allow accidentally caught animals to escape unharmed.