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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LAKE OF THE WOODS, Minn.—Bob Brott and his cousin, Gary Soucie, had just wrapped up a great day of walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods near Garden Island on Monday afternoon, July 31, when their day took a big turn for the worse. Fortunately, they lived to tell about it. As Brott recalls, they'd caught a limit of 17- to 19-inch walleyes, and he was steering his 1974 Glasspar powered by an 88-horse Evinrude outboard into a stiff southwest wind for the 15-mile trip back across Big Traverse Bay to Long Point, where they'd launched.
Deer hunters across most of northwest Minnesota will have more opportunities this fall, the Department of Natural Resources said this week in announcing its deer season regulations. In the far northwest corner of the state, the DNR has designated most deer permit areas as "managed," allowing hunters to use any combination of licenses to shoot as many as two deer, only one of which can be a buck. The only deer permit areas in the far northwest not designated as managed are 260, 203 and 208, where hunter choice regulations and a one-deer limit of either sex is in effect.
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.