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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Dave Lambeth, often called the "dean of Grand Forks birdwatchers," can be excused for feeling like he just won the birding equivalent of the lottery. Tuesday afternoon, Lambeth was looking out the kitchen window of his house on Terrace Drive when he noticed something in his backyard wood duck box. That something turned out to be a baby Northern saw-whet owl, one of four juveniles nestled inside the box. It's the first documented record of the tiny, secretive owls nesting in Grand Forks County and only the second in eastern North Dakota, Lambeth says.
Lake of the Woods Sturgeon fishing has been spotty, but anglers have boated some very large fish. Water temperatures again are on the rise after last week's cold weather setback. Anchoring upstream from deeper holes and dunking a crawler-frozen shiner combo with enough weight to stay on the bottom is a good starting point when fishing for sturgeon. Look for pike in shallow bays on the lake and Rainy River. The uptick in temperatures will help pike fishing prospects, as well. Devils Lake
NEAR ROSEAU, Minn.—The frogs are happy on this mid-April Saturday morning, and puddle ducks by the hundreds erupt from the flooded lowlands along the Roseau River as Randy Prachar steers a 14-foot boat down a large drainage ditch. Manager of the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area, Prachar and Jason Braaten are hosting a tour of a proposed project they and other supporters say will offer both flood control and fish and wildlife benefits.
DEVILS LAKE—Like most 18-year-olds, Jeff Frith thought he was invincible. It was a beautiful Friday in late May 1983, and Frith had just finished the final day of his senior year at Devils Lake High School and wrapped up graduation practice for the ceremony scheduled two days later. It was time to party. "We were out doing things that we shouldn't have been doing as 18-year-old kids," Frith, 52, said. "One of them was drinking, one of them was hanging out and one of them was driving."
Every October, I host a small group of friends for a few days of ruffed grouse hunting, hockey watching and socializing by the fire. Occasionally, we'll shift gears and wet a line for pike and walleyes. None of this would be possible without public land. I consider myself a pretty good host, but without public land, there'd be little reason for the participants in this annual October event to drive up to 6½ hours to the borderlands of northwest Minnesota.
N.D. mule deer numbers rise The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has completed its annual spring mule deer surveyl, and results indicate western North Dakota's mule deer population has increased 16 percent from last year. Biologists counted 3,349 mule deer in 306.3 square miles during this year's survey. Overall mule deer density in the Badlands was 10.9 deer per square mile, which is up from 9.4 deer per square mile in 2016.
To get an event in the calendar, contact Brad Dokken at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 148 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursdays. Events • May 20: Fish "n" Fun, 10 a.m. to noon, Turtle River State Park, 3084 Park Ave., Arvilla, N.D. Kids' fishing derby plus sessions on learning to tie knots, bait hooks and cast. There'll also be a scavenger hunt and arts and crafts activities for the kids. Info: (701) 594-4445 or parkrec.nd.gov/parks/trsp/trsp.html.
Walleye kept 8-pound minimum • 11 pounds, 1 ounce—Michael Luhman, Churchs Ferry, N.D., Devils Lake. • 8 pounds, 1 ounce—Peggy Lehman, Roslyn, S.D., Devils Lake. Walleye released 25-inch minimum • 26 inches—Jared Power, West Fargo, N.D., Red River.
Lake of the Woods
The rise and fall of acreage enrolled in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program is well documented. CRP got its start in the mid-1980s as a program designed primarily to reduce nationwide crop production in an effort to turn around low commodity prices, and also to reduce soil erosion as crop fields were planted back to grass.