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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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is proposing a limited trapping season on river otters beginning in November 2017. According to Stephanie Tucker, furbearer biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the quota for the statewide season would be 15 otters. The season would be limited to traps and cable devices and would open in conjunction with other furbearer seasons.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is proposing a limited trapping season on river otters beginning in November 2017. According to Stephanie Tucker, furbearer biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the quota for the statewide season would be 15 otters. The season would be limited to traps and cable devices and would open in conjunction with other furbearer seasons. The proposed season would be open from Nov. 27, 2017 through March 15, 2018, but would close early if the 15-otter quota was reached, Tucker said.
Aerial deer surveys set to begin For the first time in about four years, there's enough snow on the ground across North Dakota for the Game and Fish Department to conduct statewide aerial deer surveys. Bill Jensen, big game biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck, said biologists likely will begin flying Jan. 2. The aerial surveys are one of the tools the department uses to estimate deer populations and, in turn, set deer license numbers for the following hunting season.
BAUDETTE, Minn.—The thought of ice fishing on a morning when the air temperature is 26 below zero might seem like insanity to the uninitiated, but this wouldn't be a day spent outside sitting on a bucket. Besides, as people up here in Lake of the Woods country like to joke, it's a dry cold.
Did you spend any time on the ice last winter spearing in North Dakota? If you did, you were part of a record 4,328 participants who registered to darkhouse spearfish, an increase of nearly 1,000 from 2014-15. One of the likely reasons for that is North Dakota has set records for the number of licensed anglers overall in each of the past four years. And part of the reason for that is that North Dakota has a record number of managed fishing waters with outstanding opportunities for northern pike, the primary quarry in darkhouse spearfishing.
Q. Is Ardoch National Wildlife Refuge open to ice fishing again this year? If so, what species are in the lake, how does one access it, and are there any special rules? A. I was 99 percent sure Lake Ardoch was open to ice fishing again, but just to confirm, I reached out to Matt Sprenger, project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Devils Lake Wetland Management District.
Brent Getzler admits he was hoping for a big walleye Monday when he felt the weight of a heavy fish at the end of the line north of Pine Island on Lake of the Woods. "It had a little fight," Getzler, 33, of Roosevelt, Minn., said. "I was hoping it wasn't an eelpout—I can say that—but after a little bit, I figured it had to be an eelpout." Getzler figured correctly, but little did he know the big-bellied specimen would break the state record for the heaviest eelpout ever weighed in Minnesota. It's all but official.
To get an event in the calendar, contact Brad Dokken at (701) 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 148 or by email at email@example.com . Deadline is 5 p.m. Thursdays. Events • Dec. 29: Beltrami Island State Forest Christmas Bird Count. Info: Martin Kehoe, firstname.lastname@example.org . • Dec. 30: Baudette, Minn., annual Christmas Bird Count. Info: Martin Kehoe, email@example.com . • Dec. 31: Roseau, Minn., annual Christmas Bird Count. Info: Pat Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Lake of the Woods Fishing so far is excellent, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports. Best action is in 20 feet to 25 feet of water, where glow red or pink rattle spoons tipped with a minnow head or tail have been the best for jigging lines. Use a plain hook or an ice jig with a live minnow on the deadstick, or set line. The ice as of midweek is 9½ to 14 inches thick, but anglers should work through resorts and their ice roads, which are tested, flooded and plowed. Know where you are going.
Lake of the Woods has been in the news the past couple of days for the potential new state record eelpout caught Monday north of Pine Island. Brent Getzler of Roosevelt, Minn., caught the big ‘pout, which weighed 19 pounds, 11 ounces on a certified scale at Lake of the Woods Foods in Baudette, Minn. When it becomes official, the big eelpout -- also commonly known as burbot -- will be the fifth state record for the species since 1980, DNR records show. Five of those ‘pout, including Getzler’s, have come from Lake of the Woods.