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Wild rice harvest opens Aug. 15; nine areas closed until posted

People who have purchased a wild rice license can begin harvesting on Saturday, Aug. 15.

"Harvesters need to carefully check wild rice stands for ripeness prior to attempting harvest," said Ray Norrgard, who oversees wild rice management for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

It is illegal to harvest wild rice that is not ripe.

This year's ricing season opens 30 days later than previous years, but the change is expected to have little effect on actual harvesting, which tends to occur after Aug. 15.

Several popular wild rice harvesting waters will be closed to harvest until posted open. Approximately 48 hours before harvest opens on any of these water bodies, the opening date will be posted near access points listed on the DNR Web site and available from the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Water bodies closed to harvest until posted are:

• Flowage Lake in Aitkin County.

• Lower Dean Lake in Crow Wing County.

• Mallard Lake in Aitkin County.

• Upper Rice Lake in Clearwater County.

• A section of the Winnibigoshish Third River Flowage in Itasca County between the inlet of Castle Creek to the boundary of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.

• Natures Lake in Itasca County.

• Rice Lake in Itasca County.

• Big Rice Lake in St. Louis County.

• A section of the Vermillion River in St. Louis County between the dam on Vermillion Lake downstream to the junction of Eight-mile Creek.