Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. 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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A few weeks ago, I wrote a column saying, in so many words, that North Dakota's channel catfish record likely would be broken this summer. There was good reason to think so, especially at the time. Channel catfish action along the Red River was on a tear, and anglers routinely were catching fish that tickled 30 pounds. It seemed just a matter of time, then, that the 33-pound, 4-ounce mark that had stood for 18 years would fall. Of course the record would come from the Red River, I thought.
Local media also will have a chance to put their fishing skills to the test as part of this year's Cats Incredible festivities. On Friday, from 1 to 5 p.m., representatives from five media outlets will be paired with local volunteer fishermen to find out just what the Grand Forks stretch of the Red River has to offer. WDAZ-TV is presenting the Cats Incredible Media Fishing Derby. According to Brad Durick of WDAZ, the derby is patterned after a media fishing event held each June on the Red River in Winnipeg.
The talk along the riverbank Thursday afternoon in East Grand Forks was that catfish action was slow. But then again, that's what you'd expect to hear in the days leading up to the premier catfish tournament in the country. The 22nd annual Cats Incredible Catfish Tournament kicks off Saturday morning, and any catfish angler worth his or her salt is playing their cards close to their vest. Tournament fishing hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the big weekend concludes with an awards ceremony at 6 p.m.
MORSON, Ont. -- Brad Vollrath was barely a dozen casts into the evening when he realized he'd left his muskie net back at the dock. In that moment, the odds one of us would hook a muskie went up considerably. It happened less than five minutes later. "There's one," Vollrath said as a sizeable fish zeroed in on the BullDawg muskie bait he was casting toward a rocky shoreline.
Bears have become a nuisance the past couple of weeks in northwestern Minnesota, but conservation officials say homeowners can avoid most of the problems by removing obvious food sources. That means bird feeders, barbecue grills, dog food and just about anything else a bear might find tasty. "The calls are coming in, no doubt," Jeff Birchem, a conservation officer for the Department of Natural Resources in Baudette, Minn., said. "It's probably the hardest time on bears for finding natural food right now.
Two Thief River Falls men are scheduled to appear in Pennington County court, one this week and the other in early August, on charges relating to a series of burglaries and deer shootings last December. Justin Hopper, 18, Thief River Falls, was charged with first-degree burglary, a felony, and two counts of taking big game out of season and one count of transporting illegally obtained big game, court records show.
The old boat leaks a bit -- OK, more than a bit -- the paint is wearing off the bench seats, and the mud and debris from fishing trips gone by litters the floor. It's not the nicest boat in the world, this 1950s-vintage Larson, but in the realm of my fishing experience, at least, there's not a rig on the water that's served up more good times than the old 14-foot piece of aluminum. A friend and I bought the boat nearly 15 years ago as a quick-and-easy way to beat the springtime crowds on the Rainy River.
Tanner Gue knows as well as anyone just how wet it's been this summer in some of North Dakota's prime waterfowl country. That's good for ducks, of course, even if it sometimes complicates life for people trying to study them. A UND graduate student, Gue, 25, is heading up the fieldwork portion of a two-year research project aiming to learn more about the impact of wind farms on the survival of nesting ducks. Gue's research is taking place on a couple of wind farm sites near Kulm, N.D., in the southeastern part of the state near the South Dakota border.
DEVILS LAKE -- Jeff and Taylor Turner hadn't encountered more wind or bigger waves than they hit here Friday morning on the North Dakota leg of an epic fishing adventure. But they hadn't encountered faster fishing, either. And when the fish are biting, what's a little wind? The father and son duo from Warrenton, Va., spent four hours fishing Devils Lake with Grand Forks guide Mark Bry as part of their "50 states in 50 days" fishing trip.
The actions Grand Forks and East Grand Forks took after the Flood of 1997 offer a perfect case study of how to mitigate future damages in the wake of more frequent flooding and severe weather events, a panel of scientific experts said Wednesday. By giving the Red River more room -- buying out homes in the flood plain, converting flood-prone land to green space and constructing grass-covered levees farther away from the river -- the two cities charted a course riverfront communities across the country could learn from, the panel said. "I think the Grand Forks example is one of the shining ex