Updated: 08/11/2014 4:32 PM
Created: 08/11/2014 4:23 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart
In only four days, the wild rice harvest season opens, but most areas aren't ready.
“Some areas had exceptional rice harvests last year,” said David Kanz, Aitkin area assistant wildlife manager. “Early and sustained high water levels this year have hurt some rice beds, so as water levels continue to come down, we’ll have to watch how the rice responds and see if there is enough growing season left for it to recover.”
Despite the season dates, harvesters must first ensure the rice is ripe before launching their canoes, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Farmers will then be able to determine if there is enough growing season left for it to recover.
The peak harvesting is estimated to be somewhere in mid-September, as long as the weather remains mild.
More than 1,200 lakes and rivers in 54 counties contain wild rice, with concentrations of rice being the highest in Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca and St. Louis counties.