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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Several organizations, including the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, have signed a letter urging Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to encourage Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell to appeal a federal judge's ruling that returned gray wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin to protected status under the Endangered Species Act.
The Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Department's annual ice fishing tournament on Devils Lake marks its golden birthday this year. Always held the last Saturday in January, the 31st annual tournament is set for Jan. 31 on Six-Mile Bay of Devils Lake. According to Fire Chief Jim Moe, all of the details are falling into place for the tournament, the largest event of its kind in North Dakota and the fire department's primary fundraiser.
Last year, people flocked to refuges up and down the East Coast as far south as North Carolina's Outer Banks to see what some call "the elusive snowy owls," Arctic birds that are rare winter visitors in those areas. This winter, the owls have been spotted at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Rhode Island, the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey and Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware.
Walleye kept 8-pound minimum 8 pounds, 13 ounces -- Jeff Wollitz, West Fargo, N.D., Devils Lake. Report your big fish tales to Brad Dokken at firstname.lastname@example.org , by phone at (701) 780-1148 or toll-free (800) 477-6572 ext. 148, or mail to Brad Dokken, c/o The Grand Forks Herald, 375 Second Ave. N., Box 6008, Grand Forks ND 58206-6008. Please include the angler's town of residence and whether the fish was kept or released.
Daylight was still just a promise on the icy horizon, but the Lake of the Woods equivalent of morning rush hour already was in full swing as Mark Ward steered his Suburban onto the big lake. He took his place in the pack and joined the procession of tail lights heading north across Four-Mile Bay and Pine Island on a plowed ice road that extended nearly 20 miles. For a Monday morning, traffic was surprisingly brisk.
Lake of the Woods Anglers are catching a mix of walleyes and saugers, sorting through lots of small fish for keepers. Improving water clarity has allowed some anglers to catch fish in 21 feet to 24 feet of water in the mud off Pine Island and Morris Point. Others are making the trek to deep water -- 30-plus feet -- 25 miles north of Pine near Garden Island and Knight and Bridges Islands. Perch and the occasional eelpout also have been showing up in deeper water. Low-light conditions are a good bet for walleyes in 13 to 15 feet of water.
As with most addictions, it started with just one. For Wayne Kuster of Grand Forks, that addiction is Arctic Cat. All things Arctic Cat. Snowmobiles, bicycles, lawnmowers, motorbikes, clothing of almost every variety imaginable, jewelry, even board games. If Arctic Cat ever made it, Kuster most likely has it. "Collecting is a disease," Kuster, 59, said with a laugh. "I'm telling you, you just can't quit! You run here, run there. ...
Few foods warm up a cold winter's day better than fish chowder, and this recipe from Kris Winkelman, host of the "Kris' Kitchen" segment on husband Babe's outdoors TV show, looks like a "keeper" (as they say in fishing lingo). Bluegills are the featured fish in this particular soup, but any white-fleshed fish such as walleyes, perch, crappies or even northern pike easily could be substituted. Bluegill Soup 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 large onion (chopped) 2 medium Leeks (chopped) 1½ cups vegetable stock 3 medium potatoes (peeled and chopped) 1 teaspoon curry pow
Q. What are the pros and cons of the lack of snow that we've had in the Red River region so far this winter? A. As Doug Leier, an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, says in his weekly column that appears elsewhere in this section, this winter to date has been "wildlife friendly," on balance. The lack of snow is beneficial to many wildlife species. Deer, for example, are having an easier time getting around than they would if 3 feet of snow covered the ground.
There's a new catfish tournament on tap for this summer in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, and the two-day event will allow anglers to fish both sides of Riverside Dam rapids on the Red River. The Scheels Boundary Battle Catfish Tournament is scheduled for June 27-28. According to Brad Durick of Grand Forks, a Coast Guard-licensed catfish guide and avid Red River promoter, the tournament is a local replacement, of sorts, for the Cabela's King Kat tournament. King Kat is a national tournament circuit that made a stop in Grand Forks in 2013. Durick said he and Rob Raymond, East Grand Forks