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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How do you feel about spending more money for hunting and fishing licenses in Minnesota? That question promises to come up a fair bit over the next few weeks as state lawmakers grapple with Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal to raise hunting and fishing license fees. As colleague Sam Cook of sister paper the Duluth News-Tribune reports in a story on the cover of today's Herald section of Northland Outdoors, the DNR's Game and Fish Fund, which pays for the bulk of fish and wildlife management in Minnesota, is expected to go into the red in 2019 without an influx of additional dollars.
GRAND FORKS — Mother Nature is playing it cruel instead of cool with ice fishing fanatics again this year, and it looks as if the popular winter pastime is going to be off to another late start. More than one longtime angler has said this is the latest freeze-up they can remember. And it’s going to take more than a few days of low temperatures in the 20s -- that’s what’s on the horizon for the next few days -- to put safe ice on lakes across the region. Sigh. ...
BEMIDJI—Standing at the highest point of Buena Vista Ski Area, where the waters from Lake Julia to the north and west drain into Hudson Bay, and Larson Lake to the east and south flows to the Gulf of Mexico, it's easy to see why Suzanne Thomas and others in her family love this place and eagerly share it with others. The view, quite simply, is breathtaking here at the Continental Divide. "Isn't it pretty?" said Thomas, a third-generation family member to run Buena Vista Ski Area north of Bemidji. "We can see nine lakes from the top."
ROSEAU, Minn. -- David Johnson liked to say laziness inspired the first Polaris snowmobile. An avid outdoorsman, Johnson said he built the first snowmobile in January 1956 as a way to enjoy the outdoors in winter. The machine was assembled from parts on hand in a Roseau machine shop, including binder chains for the track and a car bumper for skis.
ELY, Minn.—It took all of about 15 seconds for things to get exciting Tuesday morning. "Someone want to get that?" Steve Foss asked as the fishing rod bounced to the beat of a lake trout twisting and turning—in the way lake trout always do—just a few feet behind the boat. He'd been trying to set the first of three lines on a Burntside Lake trolling run when the lake trout hit a flashy spoon fluttering about 2 feet below the surface.
Wildlife managers are optimistic about waterfowl prospects in northwest Minnesota as the Saturday season opener approaches. Joel Huener, manager of Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area near Middle River, said breeding pair and brood counts on the WMA were up “noticeably” from last year, and water levels in the WMA are right on target, so access won’t be a problem. “The marsh is in real good shape,” he said. Statewide, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources estimated this year’s mallard breeding population at 206,000, wh
Anglers on Upper Red Lake likely will face continued conservative regulations this spring as fisheries managers look to rein in a walleye harvest that is beginning to creep past target levels on Minnesota's 48,000-acre portion of the lake. According to Henry Drewes, regional fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji, anglers this winter kept 140,000 pounds of walleyes on Upper Red and logged 1.75 million hours of ice fishing pressure from Dec. 1 until the season ended Feb.
Buoyed by good fishing and an expanded range of “keeper”-size fish, anglers kept more than 93,000 pounds of walleyes this winter on the Minnesota portion of Upper Red Lake. According to results from a winter creel survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the estimated walleye take of 93,007 pounds was more than double the catch from the previous winter, when anglers kept 44,862 pounds of walleyes. The creel survey began in early December and wrapped up with the close of Minnesota’s inland waters walleye season Feb. 28.