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Get your outdoors fix with a little online help

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Word-of-mouth isn't the only way to find out where the fish are biting.

Why not try online?

With a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, there is more information about fishing, ice fishing, hunting and conservation issues than a person could even begin to sift through in one afternoon.

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So let's focus our attention on ice fishing.

Type in fishingminnesota.com into your web browser to bring up the Fishing Minnesota web site.

On that page there is a link to join their Fishing Minnesota forums, which in turn leads to multiple forums on ice fishing, hunting, fish species, etc.

Click on the top link for "Ice Fishing" and a barrage of topics fills the screen. Out of curiosity, I clicked on "Lake Web Cams - post it here", and started browsing the different posts.

A few more clicks -- and the minor installation of some software -- and I was staring at live web cam video from Lake of the Woods. Not too shabby. This particular web cam also rotates to eight different positions, so users can scan different parts of the spectrum.

Getting back to the main forum, there are entries on which portable fish house to buy, information about ice saws and much more. Forum communities are always eager to lend opinions on just about anything.

And you don't have questions or a thirst for more knowledge, you can use the forum to post your successes. Just be careful not to get too big of a head.

If straight information is what is needed, start first at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' web site (www.mndnr.gov). All of the latest news, updated handbooks and regulations are posted in easy-to-print formats.

Plus, all the necessary contact information can be found on the site. Being able to find the nearest state park and its calendar of events comes in quite handy. And the DNR site has links to purchase hunting and fishing licenses and registrations for recreational vehicles.

There is also a link to reserve campsites at all of the state parks.

We're just touching the tip of the iceberg here. There's also online shopping for your outdoors needs and finding information on your most dear causes, like habitat restoration and the like.

Well, what are you waiting for?

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