Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

  • Announcements

    • Rick

      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

      Fluid forum view allows members only to get right to the meat of this community; the topics. You can toggle between your preferred forum view just below to the left on the main forum entrance. You will see three icons. Try them out and see what you prefer.   Fluid view allows you, if you are a signed up member, to see the newest topic posts in either all forums (select none or all) or in just your favorite forums (select the ones you want to see when you come to Fishing Minnesota). It keeps and in real time with respect to Topic posts and lets YOU SELECT YOUR FAVORITE FORUMS. It can make things fun and easy. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media. If you, as a members want more specific topics, you can even select a single forum to view. Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.   The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.   Of course, members only can change the view to better suit your way of browsing.   You will notice a “grid” option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for members only to choose. This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don’t lose your place when you go back to the listing. The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for members only. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. You as a member will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page. We hope that fluid view, the new functionality is an asset that you enjoy .
Sign in to follow this  
Steve Foss

How-to guide for 'loopers

Recommended Posts

Steve Foss    0
Steve Foss

I wrote this a couple years back, and it's about the season when people start asking questions about the topic, so I thought I'd sticky it to the top of the page. Feel free to add your different experiences or other techniques and tactics I haven't touched on.

********************

Here’s a quick course on loopers the way I do it. Others do things slightly differently, and there’s lots of room for difference and experimentation, but these are the basic shore angler looper techniques. Thought I’d run through the whole thing all in one post, so it’s all there instead of scattered piecemeal throughout the board.

Rods: 8 to 10 foot spinning rods, light action that’s appropriate for 4 to 8 lb line. Stiff butt and fast tip are good. You can use shorter rods, but long rods mean longer casts and more shock resistance when you’re fighting a fish. The also keep your line off the waves that break near shore, which can pull your rig into rocks if your rod’s too short. You can find affordable rods from $40 to $80.

Reels: Spinning reels. I use the inexpensive 4000 series Shimano reels, which have smooth enough drags and a big spool. Big spool also means longer casts since each revolution contains more line on a big spool compared to a small one. These reels run about $30.

Line: Maxima 6 lb, with a 6 lb fluorocarbon leader about three feet long. I use fluoro on the live bait slip rigs because it’s one more advantage against sometimes finicky trout. Whatever your main line is, whether mono or braid, it MUST be abrasion resistant. Standard soft lines will get chewed up on the rocks when a fish runs.

Rigging: There are two basic live bait rigs, the slip rig and the bobber rig. The slip rig is just like a walleye slip sinker rig, except the sinker is a slinky (how to make them later). On main line, slip on the sinker, then tie a barrel or ball-bearing swivel, then 3 feet or so of fluorocarbon, then a small strong hook, a No. 8 or 10. You bait them with floating spawn sacks (you can buy them or make them) or a night crawler hooked once or twice and injected with air so it floats. Some guys add a twist of green or red yarn as an attractor, but that’s never made a difference for me. However, it’s all what you’re confident in, and experimenting is part of fishing. You hook the spawn bag by passing the hook through the fabric gathered in a knot. It’ll never cast off the hook if properly hooked. The other rig is a slip-bobber. The bobber of choice is a custom made weighted bobber that casts a mile, is available at Duluth tackle stores and is called a Ross bobber. I don’t use fluorocarbon on this rig because I tie it like a standard slip bobber, with the knot first (no bead needed, since the bobber has one built in). Tie a looper bug on the end (small weighted jig especially made for this. Cheap and in all the Duluth tackle stores). Tip the looper bug with a couple waxies. The bobber slides all the way down to the bug before you cast, which is another reason you can cast a mile with them. I set mine from 3 to 5 feet deep. The bugs come in all colors, with black and purple being the standards and most commonly used. But some days bright colors are better. Don’t worry if the bobber drifts back in close to shore. Lots of fish come only 30 feet offshore, not just from farther out. A note on bobber color: Black is best in many situations. If the sun is out, North Shore anglers are staring into it, and it’s low in winter, so black shows up really well in silhouette. I like the blaze orange on days when color shows up easily. Get a couple of each and see which color works best for you. Some folks chuck spoons for loopers in winter/early spring and catch some, but with the water so cold I think your odds of catching them are better with the bait/bobber rigs.

Rod holders: I use 2-foot-long PVC pipe in 1.5 inch diameter and buy steel dowel from the hardware store, cutting it about 3 feet long. Using black electrical tape, wrap it around and around, fastening the rod to the outside of the PVC with about 2 feet sticking out. You can drive these into the pebble/sand beaches using a handy rock (watching out you don’t shatter the PVC), or you can use bigger stones to make a pile and anchor the shaft. With these holders and the 8.5-foot rods I use, the tip of your line stands over 10 feet off the ground, keeping it out of the close-in breakers. But standard 7-foot walleye spinning rods with the lower-capacity reels work OK. You can’t cast quite as far and it’s a bit harder to keep the line off the waves, but plenty of guys who don’t want to shell out for new rods/reels do it that way, and they catch fish too.

Slinky sinkers: I make them by buying nylon hockey laces, some shot in bulk and some big split shot sinkers, as well as some snap swivels. You’ll need a lighter, too. Cut the hockey lace into about 3-inch lengths. Burn one end with the lighter to seal it. Stuff in shot (I used No. 8 shot), as much as you think you want. Then put in a couple big split shot and work them down in, which will pack the shot nicely. Then trim and burn the open end, flattening it with your fingers when it cools a bit. Then open the snap swivel and stick it through the flattened end beyond the melt, through the lace and back out the other side. Fasten. There you go, a slinky, and way cheaper than you can buy them. Mine averaged about 2 inches long. Not sure how much weight, but you’ll lose far fewer slinky rigs than with standard sinkers.

Some other notes: Half my catch was loopers, half coho. The season picks up in January and continues to get better, especially around the rivers, right up through the April spawn. You can set the hook hard on loopers, which usually take in the whole bait right away, but cohos bite more gently, a rat-a-tat-tat kind of thing, and I’d hook them by slowly tightening up the line and reeling in. No need to set, because the hooks are sharp. If you set it on a coho bite you’ll often pull it right out of the fish’s mouth. I have one stiffer rod that I used for the spawn bag rigs (which stay on the hook no matter what) and the bobber rigs. Made for really long casts. My softer rod I used for the crawler rig, which needs the softer touch while casting. And you won’t get it out that far, but it won’t matter. At least half my fish came on the crawler. Use patience when fighting and landing these fish. A 9-pound looper on 6 lb line is a lot of fun and a lot of fight. No net needed. As the fish tires, you can ease it right up on shore, allowing the waves to help push the fish in. Of course, if you’re on a rock shelf instead of a beach you’ll probably want a net.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
upnorth    2
upnorth

Here is a tip I would like to add from personal experience. On overcast or windy days especially early in the AM, the fish are not always out there at the end of one of those howitzer kind of casts. I sat there one day fishing way out there, and a guy walks up and casts 30 - 40 feet and promptly smacks a looper, I thought what a fluke, 10 minutes later he gets another. Well I may not be a rocket scientist, but the light bulb did come on and I lightened up the weight and started fishing a lot closer, and sure enough the fish were in pretty tight to shore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve Foss    0
Steve Foss

Yeah, nothing drives a looper guy quite as crazy as when he's gunning those casts way out there only to have someone lob a crawler 30 or 40 feet out and land fish. That's why I liked the two-rod deal. One goes way out and the one with the crawler stays in close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brandones    0
brandones

Last looper question before I actually give it a try... When you're using the bobber rig, do you recommend using a leader of any kind?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve Foss    0
Steve Foss

I never did. One reason the rig casts so far is that I rigged it with a slip knot and bead, and the bobber rode all the way down to the bug on the cast. That way there was no foot or two of line trailing out behind and catching wind. You can peg looper bobbers so they don't slide, but I never did that unless it was cold enough that water buildup would freeze on the line and prevent the slip bobber operation. In cold like that, I'd peg my bobber and just not get casts quite as long. But, as already stated, there are many days when you don't have to gun it a mile to catch loopers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vermilionwally    0
vermilionwally

Im just beginning to fish for loopers and have a couple questions. Would you recommend using a whole crawler or a half a crawler? Do the cohos ever bite on the crawlers? Do you have to use the fluroucarbon leader when bait rigging? What are some methods for keeping the crawler off the bottom besides blowing it up? Does anyone just use a marshmallow ahead of it or one of the floaters you would put on a lindy rig to keep it off the bottom? Thanks in advance for the help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve Foss    0
Steve Foss

I always used a whole crawler (though I liked the short, stocky ones best) and hooked it twice before blowing it up.

Cohos bite very well on crawlers.

I used a fluorocarbon leader (6 lb test) when using the slip rigs on the bottom with spawn bags or crawlers, but did not use it for slip-bobber rigging because I wanted the bobber to ride all the way down to the looper bug when I cast. I don't have any evidence that loopers or cohos bite more readily when there's a fluorocarbon leader, it just seemed like a smart thing to do for trout in clear water, and, since I've never loopered without them on the slip rigs, I have nothing else to compare it with. I will say that I got bit just fine with no fluorocarbon on the bobber rig, so I doubt fluorocarbon is really a big deal. Although a small spool only costs a few bucks, and since you have a swivel before the leader you've got to tie on some length of some type of line anyway, and why not make it a so-called "invisible" line?

To keep the crawler off the bottom without a blower, you can put a mini marshmallow on the hook with it, but I always felt the most natural presentation was best, and a worm blower only costs a couple bucks. Or a person can go dumpster diving or just check the gutters in downtown Duluth. Plenty of used hypodermic needles there, and the crawler's going to die anyway. Well, sorry, it just occurred to me. crazy.gif

I never liked a floating jighead because it's just not very natural looking, and cohos in particular have smaller mouths. Not that it wouldn't work, necessarily, just that I've never tried it. I just always head great luck with a worm blower. You only need to pop it lightly in one or two places to get the worm off the bottom. No need to blow it up like a balloon.

Good luck, and have a great time. grin.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
traveler    1
traveler

I've always been a mini marshmallow guy, preferably the pink ones:) Use them on the shore and up on the trout lakes, and I think my hookup rate is as good as any. I also like the shorter crawlers, and I still give em' a shot of air, just in case the mallow comes off. Straight 6 lb trilene for me, although I guess fluro can't hurt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
spivak    0
spivak

I know this much: after snorkeling around the river mouths last summer picking up tackle, I'll definitely be using a fluorocarbon leader. Regular mono stood out in the clear water of Lake Superior--I could spot it a long way off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vermilionwally    0
vermilionwally

I guess Ill be using a flurpcarbon leader. Im planning on going out the first weekend of April. Will the fish still be biting then? Ill try to find a worm blower at the bait shop otherwise itll be miny marshmallows. Thanks for the tips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vermilionwally    0
vermilionwally

What would be the best springtime bait? A crawler or a looper bug or spawn under a bobber?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Northlander    72
Northlander

Better than a worm blower is just a needle like a diabetic would use. Smaller needle works better in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve Foss    0
Steve Foss

Wally, there is no best springtime bait. Try them all and let the fish tell you what they want. It can change from day to day. That's why having the flexibility of multiple bait presentations of two rods is such a benefit for loopering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
upnorth    2
upnorth

I remember back about 15 yrs ago the guys that could get their hands on Wiggler(stone fly nymphs) use to just kill em.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
matthothand    0
matthothand

I prefer to peg the bobber rather than use the slip tie as you would with a traditional slip float. With freezing morning temps the line might not slide through the float stem or sometimes the bug just doesn't pull hard enough to get that line to go through. Either way you'll only be fishing as deep as your bobber. With the peg you have reassurance that your bug is at the right depth every time with no worries of the stop knot moving or catching on the eye of the rod and whipping off your rig. I have noticed no restriction of casting distance by pegging as opposed to the slip bobber rig. With the peg just watch your rig throughout the cast and be careful of your line wrapping around the bobber stem. As far as baits in relation to weather/temps I feel that a bug/waxie combo is a better option now and as the water warms a few degrees spawn and crawlers will increasingly get more bites then they would with the present conditions. Usually can't go wrong ever with a bug under a bobber though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wishin I was fishin    0
Wishin I was fishin

Just a quick note about those little orange pegs for your bobbers. Be sure to remove them carefully, especially if it's cold out. They have a tendency to break off inside the bobber. If this happens, you can bring them home and drill them out. I have had to do this more than once. Anyone know of a good site for tying knots? I need to work on my yarn flies. They are pretty ugly. Good luck on the big pond!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
matthothand    0
matthothand

Carry a piece of metal hanger with if you're using the pegs. If you break a peg remove the yellow cap from the top of the bobber stem and use the hanger piece to push out the peg. I wouldn't suggest doing this without retying afterwards. Stock up on pegs too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
john.wells    3
john.wells

Quote:

Carry a piece of metal hanger with if you're using the pegs. If you break a peg remove the yellow cap from the top of the bobber stem and use the hanger piece to push out the peg. I wouldn't suggest doing this without retying afterwards. Stock up on pegs too.


I'm not quite sure of the setup on those bobbers, but would a cheap cribbage board plastic peg do the trick? if what you are using is made of wood about toothpick size, this could be a good alternative. On a side note, I have been meaning to get up there for loopers for a longggggg time, but never have. Maybe this will be the year smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Northlander    72
Northlander

Cribbage pegs may work but Im thinking they are a bit too thin. Fishermans Corner had tons of the pegs last time I was up there. Marine General may have some now but were out a few months back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
uptracker    0
uptracker

Stupid question maybe?....from a Michigan man.

What the heck is a looper?

Sounds like my steelhead rig to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve Foss    0
Steve Foss

Kamloops strain of rainbow trout. Originally from British Columbia, if I'm remembering right, and stocked in L.S. as a put-grow-and-take fishery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
vermilionwally    0
vermilionwally

You mean they dont have loopers in Michigan? Im just a beginning looper fisherman myself so im not an expert on them either but I think they are closely related to the Steelhead. THey are a strain of Lake run rainbows that come back to the streams to spawn just like a steelhead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quickstrike    0
Quickstrike

They do stock a few loopers in parts of lake michigan, they don't clip them like they do here. They also stock arlees and a variety of other rainbow and steelhead strains, and most people just refer to them all as "steelhead" over there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
uptracker    0
uptracker

Quote:

You mean they dont have loopers in Michigan? Im just a beginning looper fisherman myself so im not an expert on them either but I think they are closely related to the Steelhead. THey are a strain of Lake run rainbows that come back to the streams to spawn just like a steelhead.


We may have them....but they're called skamania steelhead...if they're the same one's. They're a summer run steelhead with a peak run around July. They were originally planted in S. Lk. Mich. by Indiana and then Michigan got involved and the two states began to swap chinook smolts for skamania smolts. Never heard them called loopers though. Must just be a regional thing. I assume you guys call them loopers because they are anadromous and basically make a loop every year; meaning they are lake run for most of the year but travel inland to spawn, then return back to the big water.....hence making a big loop!

Look them up!

UPDATE: I just looked into it. Basically what you are fishing is a steelhead, but the stain is called a Kamloop rainbow. Go to Yahoo and type in "looper steelhead", there's some good info there. Try "skamania steelhead" too. Interesting read on both of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve Foss    0
Steve Foss

They're called Kamloops ('loopers) because the strain came from Kamloops, B.C. It's a different strain than the skamania strain, though they are both rainbow trout. Kamloops on Lake Superior's North Shore are a spring-run fish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  



  • Posts

    • Guatican
      So a buddy and I are looking to see where we can get on some nice Pike action around the Kato area. We have no access to a boat so we'll be doing it from shore. Any insight on a good pike or any game fish bite would be awesome! Fall tends to be our Achilles's heel. 
    • Troy Smutka
      9/25/17     Hunted the hot, steamy MN duck opener on a public lake in central MN. Could see lightning to the west and north all morning until the sun came up. Must have been some serious lightning in those storms that were 100 miles away. Could still see the flashes, but of course could not hear any thunder. Saturday morning we saw the most bluewing teal I have seen on an opener since the 1980s. Must have seen a thousand teal and hundreds of mallards and wood ducks. Weren't in the best spot since we were the third boat on the lake, but still managed to shoot some teal and wood ducks. Busy watching ducks all morning. The teal I cleaned were migrators with quite a bit of fat--none on the wood ducks. Sunday morning was a different day--most of the teal were gone and the mallards and wood ducks were more wary. Managed two juvenile mallards. Think the shooting and the weather front moving in got a lot of the BWT on their way further south. All in all, a decent start to the MN waterfowl season, especially considering the temps were more like mid August. See what this weather and some cooler temps brings to the decoys this weekend. Good luck, and I will see you out there somewhere.
    • delcecchi
      Any thoughts as to which will hold up better, or be easier to fix?
    • Rick
      With 59 state forests that cover 4.2 million acres, Minnesota state forests are a great place to view fall color, according to the Department of Natural Resources.  “Forests with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees offer a wonderful fall color experience,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. “The dark green needles of conifers accent the yellow, orange and red leaves of deciduous trees.” Here are a few routes to consider: Late September Bear Island State Forest From Ely head south on State Highway 1 toward Isabella for about 20 miles. Take a right on New Tomahawk Road toward Babbitt for about 17 miles. Turn right on County Road 21 for 15 miles back to Ely. Kabetogama State Forest From Orr head north on State Highway 53 for 4 miles. Turn right on County Road 180 to head east for 16 miles. Turn right on Forest Road 203 to head east for about 4.5 miles. Turn right on Vermillion Falls road to head east for 8 miles. Turn right on County Road 24/23 and follow to Orr for 26 miles. White Earth State Forest starting at Roy Lake head east on State Highway 200 for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Strawberry Mountain Road to head south for 5 miles. At Norris Trail turn left to head east for 3 miles. Turn left on Height of Land Road to head north back to Highway 200. For a longer loop follow Strawberry Mountain road to State Highway 113. Turn right on State Highway 113 to head east. Turn left on Height of Land Road to head north back to Highway 200. Early to mid-October Croix and Nemadji state forests loop. From I35, take Hinckley exit #183 and head east on State Highway 48 for 19 miles. Turn left to head north on County Road 24 and follow as it curves east and north for 7 miles. Turn right on County Road 25 to head east for 9.5 miles. At Markville, head north on County Road 31 for about 12 miles. Turn left on Park Forest Road/Park Truck Trail to head west for 13 miles. Turn right on County Road 171 to head north for 2 miles. Turn left onto County Road 154/Kerrick Road to head west for 5 miles. At Kerrick, head south on State Highway 23 for 18 miles to I35 exit #195. Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest From downtown Red Wing head south on Highway 61 for 10.5 miles. At Frontenac take a right onto Country 2 to head east for 9 miles. Take a right onto County Road 3 to head east for 4 miles. Take a right onto State Highway 58 to head north for 1.5 miles. Take a left onto Hay Creek Trail to head north for about 4.5 miles. Hey Creek Trail turns into Twin Bluff Road at Pioneer Trail. Continue on Twin Bluff Road for 1.5 miles and turn left on East Ave to return to downtown Red Wing. Visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_forests/fall-colors.html for additional scenic routes and state forest information. Entrance into a state forest is free. State forest campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 a night. Visit the Minnesota state parks and trails Fall Color Finder at www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors to find areas in Minnesota with peak fall color. The Fall Color Finder is updated every Thursday through the end of October.   Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      Hunter success was just slightly below average the five-year average on three popular waterfowl lakes for the 2017 waterfowl hunting opener in the Grand Rapids area. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife staff conducted waterfowl bag checks on opening day September 23rd on Big White Oak Lake, Mud Lake (both near Deer River) and Big Rice Lake near Remer. Hunter success in terms of ducks bagged per hunter was 2. The average take the previous five years was 2.2 ducks per hunter. Blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallard ducks were the most common birds in the bag with blue-winged teal the most commonly bagged bird at all three lakes. Based on vehicle counts at these lakes, hunter numbers were down about 25% from the five-year average. “Hunters had to contend with an early morning thunderstorm which may have kept hunter numbers lower than in previous years. Some hunters delayed going out or decided to try another day because of the rain and lightning from the storm,” said Mark Spoden, acting area wildlife manager. This year’s duck hunting season is 60 days in length. The duck bag limit is six ducks daily and may not include more than any combination of the following: four mallards (two may be hen mallard), three scaup, three wood ducks, one pintail, two redheads, two black ducks, and two canvasbacks. If not listed, up to six ducks of a species may be taken. The daily bag limit for coot and moorhen is 15. The daily bag limit for merganser is five, no more than two of which may be a hooded merganser. More information about waterfowl hunting in Minnesota including weekly waterfowl migration reports can be found at online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Muskieman1977
      Thanks Rick, we will be launching out of Long Lake, so Becker may be our best bet.  I assume Schneider is a long haul from Long Lake?  Do you think we should just fish outside weed edges or do you think the fish will still be on the docks?  I'm a bit concerned with the lower temps this week. 
    • Rick G
      Cedar Island for smallies, Becker or Schneider for largies
    • Muskieman1977
      My partner and I will be fishing a 10 boat bass tournament this Sunday (Oct 1st) on the Horseshoe chain.  We have never fished this water, so we are at a loss right now.  Do any of you have any recommendations on what areas to fish, types of lures, etc..  No sure where the fish would be around this time of year, but any advice would be much appreciated!!!  Thanks so much
    • Rick
      Anyone with a 2017 Minnesota fishing or hunting license can receive a free camouflage and blaze orange Twins logo cap thanks to a special ticket offer online at mndnr.gov/twins, with the final game in this offer coming up Saturday, Sept. 30, vs. the Detroit Tigers.  As part of the Minnesota DNR Days partnership with the Twins, license holders can purchase a reserved game ticket and receive a special Twins cap. Ticket prices vary by game and seat locations are either in the Field Box or Home Run Porch sections. All ticket holders under this partnership will pick up their cap at the game. Instructions for purchasing tickets are at mndnr.gov/twins. Buy fishing and hunting licenses at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agent, online with a mobile or desktop device at mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • Rick
      New fall hours take effect Oct. 1 Hours for the bison range road at Minneopa State Park will change for the month of October due to decreasing daylight hours. Starting Oct. 1, the range road will be open Thursday through Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The road will be closed on Wednesdays for regular maintenance.  Hiking trails around the bison range provide more bison viewing opportunities. Trails are open daily year round during regular park hours. A vehicle permit ($7 daily or $35 year-round) is required to enter the park. Bison range road hours will be adjusted again to follow daylight hours for the winter. Beginning Nov. 1, winter hours will be 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Minneopa State Park’s bison herd arrived in September 2015 and has been a popular attraction for the park since then. The bison are part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, managed through a formal agreement between the DNR and Minnesota Zoo. The partners are working together to preserve American plains bison. The plan is to grow the herd to 500 animals at several locations, including Blue Mounds State Park, Minneopa State Park and the Minnesota Zoo. Genetic testing of the herd from 2011 to 2014 found them largely free of any genetic material that would have come from cross-breeding with cattle. Less than 1 percent of all American plains bison tested so far have been found free of cattle genes. Bison viewing tips: Bison may be difficult to spot at times. Visitors should drive slowly and keep a watchful eye as they go through the range. Remain inside vehicle while driving through the bison range. Bison should be given clearance of at least 75 feet from people and vehicles at all times. Dogs can make bison nervous, so pets must be kept on a leash while in the park and hiking around the bison range. Bison get nervous around loud noises or lots of activity, so keeping voices down and movements to a minimum may help keep the bison within easy viewing. Hiking is not allowed inside the range, but there are hiking trails all the way around the outside of the range that can provide some fantastic views of the bison. For information on the Minneopa State Park bison herd, see:  mndnr.gov/minneopa-bison. Resources on bison can be found here:  mndnr.gov/bison. For more information on Minneopa State Park, call 507-389-5464 or visit: mndnr.gov/minneopa. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.