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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Any North Dakota angler who hasn't taken advantage of pike fishing this winter is missing out on the opportunity not only for plenty of action but to enjoy one of the most underrated table fare species that swims in fresh water. Get rid of those pesky Y-bones -- all it takes is a couple of extra steps -- and northern pike will give any species a run on the dinner plate, especially this time of year when the water is cold. North Dakota is blessed with a record number of lakes absolutely teeming with pike right now. Pike fishing on Minnesota inland waters is open through Feb.
Ask Jeb Williams what he'd have chosen for weather going into this winter, and he likely would have asked for an abundance of mild days and little snow. So far, at least, it appears he got his wish. Wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, Williams said wildlife -- especially deer -- needed a break after last winter's cold and snow extended well into May both in North Dakota and Minnesota. "It's good news, there's no doubt," Williams said. "It's good news for critters and people alike.
Lake of the Woods The best reports from the south end of the lake are coming from anglers venturing 22 to 25 miles north to areas near Knight, Bridges and Garden islands. A few fish are being caught during low-light hours in 18 feet of water in front of Pine Island. Reefs in the Long Point area are producing meals of fish, but not buckets of fish. Farther north, good fishing continues in the Northwest Angle area. One day, fish are on the reefs; the next, they're on the edges. Best reports are coming from 20 to 30 feet of water.
A Grand Forks home sustained major fire and smoke damage on the first and second floors Wednesday afternoon, the Grand Forks Fire Department said in a news release. The Fire Department responded to the blaze at 221 Windward Hills Ave. at 5:10 p.m.
Lack of snow didn’t put a damper on Saturday’s Fourth Annual Vintage Snowmobile Day outside the Blue Moose in East Grand Forks. Saturday’s Fourth Annual Vintage Snowmobile Day featured 115...
Here is the weekly report from Department of Natural Resources conservation officers in northwest Minnesota for Feb. 9: District 1 - Baudette area CO Ben Huener (Roseau) checked anglers on...
Walking across the UND campus late last month, I encountered a small flock of American tree sparrows. It was the last Friday of January, and I was on my way to take part in Prairie Public Radio's monthly Editors' Roundtable. I was preoccupied with politics, and the sparrows proved a pleasant diversion. They were in Soaring Eagle Prairie south of the library, and they moved away to the northeast, escaping my attention behind the chain-link fence that surrounds ongoing construction at the Law School. The sparrows were unexpected, though not exactly surprising.
There's a lot we'll never know about the old eagle that was found with a broken wing early last May on Oak Island of Lake of the Woods and later euthanized because its injuries were too extensive. How did the eagle break its wing? X-rays taken at The Raptor Center in St. Paul found no indication the eagle had been shot or any other signs of foul play, and the bird tested negative for lead poisoning. Those circumstances will remain a mystery. So will the question of where the eagle spent its time.
Even with my North Dakota outdoors lineage, I'm guilty of sometimes losing sight of how fortunate we are to enjoy such a variety of opportunities.
Q. I once found a bear den in an old bulldozing pile along the edge of a woods. Throughout the winter, I'd check on the bear every couple of weeks. She was still in there, but she was never fully asleep, and I'd always see the eyes open. Could she have charged? Also, do bears return to the same den every year? A. Dave Garshelis, bear biologist for the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids, Minn., said it's not uncommon for hibernating bears to have their eyes open.