Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University.
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As one of the most recognizable people in the fishing industry, Al Lindner says the idea for a fishing careers workshop sprouted last August when he and his son, Troy, were driving back to Brainerd, Minn., from a 25-year reunion of Camp Fish staff in Walker, Minn. The Lindners operated the youth fishing camp for several years until the early '90s. During the course of their conversation, Lindner recalls his son asking if Camp Fish would work today, 25 years later. Troy also asked his dad what question he gets most often.
Floatplanes are the workhorses of the North, providing convenient transportation to remote fishing spots and supplies to areas not accessible by road. I've been lucky enough to ride in floatplanes numerous times over the years, and nearly all of the flights have been memorable. For various reasons. Whether it's colorful pilots, weather delays or pockets of air turbulence, floatplane rides usually are good for the kind of story you tell even years later.
Entering Canada by water just got easier for anglers and other boaters who cross the border for the day and meet a simple set of guidelines. As part of a new Canadian law, private boaters no longer have to report to the Canada Border Services Agency if they don't land on Canadian soil; don't anchor, moor or make contact with another conveyance in Canadian waters; and don't embark or disembark people or goods in Canada.
MIDDLE RIVER, Minn.—Joel Huener says he's always been "kind of a rabid do-it-yourselfer," a trait that also rubbed off on his hunting and fishing. "I tie flies, I make rods and I load my own ammo," says Huener, 61, a wildlife biologist and manager of Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area. "I see something and think, 'Well, I could do that.' And sometimes I can and sometimes more successfully than others."
RED LAKE, Minn.—The wind was howling—again—and rain a couple of days earlier likely had made the backroads muddy and treacherous. Trying to get a boat into the remote lakes open to nontribal anglers on northern Minnesota's Red Lake Nation lands would be a challenge. Getting a boat in the water might be doable, but getting it out again on the primitive, muddy accesses likely would be a different story.
I took a walk to an off-the-beaten-path fishing hole the other day and lost track of the number of fish I landed when the count climbed into the 75 to 80 range. This was fishing at its simplest—a jig and a twister tail—and the fish were voracious. I either caught a fish or had a strike every cast. They even hit bare jigs, though my hooking percentage went down; no surprise there. It didn't seem to matter where I cast, either. Close to shore or farther out, the outcome was the same: Fish on.
BELTRAMI ISLAND STATE FOREST, Minn.—There they go, chainsaws buzzing and wood chips flying, clearing yet another big tree that's fallen across one of the trails open to ATVs and off-highway vehicles after a big blow ripped through the area a few days earlier. Members of two northwest Minnesota sportsmen's clubs—the Fourtown-Grygla Sportsman's Club and the Roseau-Lake of the Woods Sportsman's Club—have teamed up on this cool, cloudy Saturday morning to put up signage and work on trails.
GRAND FORKS—It was a falcon frenzy Monday afternoon as an estimated 150 people showed up to watch peregrine chicks being banded below the University of North Dakota water tower. Between the three chicks, who loudly voiced their displeasure at being removed from their nest box high atop the tower, and more than 60 kids from various Grand Forks YMCA programs who came to watch, this year's banding effort was even more boisterous than usual.
The carp were there, sucking up seeds or bugs or whatever else might have been floating down the surface of the Red River. Fly casting below Riverside Dam in Grand Forks, Steve Ficocello could see the fish as their orange lips broke the surface of the river. With the precision of an experienced fly caster, Ficocello routinely placed his fly within lipping distance of the carp. More than once, his 7-weight fly rod loaded up, heightening the anticipation of a potential strike.
If you've never been to Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, here's the perfect excuse for a last-minute road trip. The Friends of Rydell and Glacial Ridge Refuges group is hosting an event marking Rydell's 25th anniversary from 1 to 4 p.m. today—Sunday, June 11—at the refuge, located at 17788 349th St. SE between Mentor and Erskine, Minn.. The refuge is about 55 miles southeast of Grand Forks, and getting there is as simple as heading east on U.S. Highway 2, turning south on Polk County Road 210 between Mentor and Erskine and following the signs to the refuge.