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BRAD DOKKEN COLUMN: Perch Patrol buys Mitchell's Guide Service on Devils Lake from Jason Mitchell

Jason Mitchell (from left), Kyle Blanchfield of Woodland Resort and Steve "Zippy" Dahl, all of Devils Lake, exchange handshakes and paperwork upon the sale of Mitchell's Guide Service to the Perch Patrol Guide Service, which Dahl helped found in 1995. Blanchfield had been a partner in Mitchell's Guide Service since 2008, when Mitchell purchased Tony Dean's outdoors TV show and launched "Jason Mitchell Outdoors." (Photo courtesy of Perch Patrol Guide Service)1 / 2
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There's been a change in the guiding landscape on Devils Lake with the sale of Mitchell's Guide Service, founded by North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame angler Jason Mitchell, to the Perch Patrol Guide Service.

Steve "Zippy" Dahl, a founder and owner of the Perch Patrol, announced the sale Tuesday in a news release. Both guide services are institutions on Devils Lake, dating back more than 20 years.

"This is a natural fit, as a lot of the guides have guided for both guide companies, and we have shared a lot of the same clientele base for many years," Dahl said.

While the Perch Patrol is best known for its winter ice fishing packages, Mitchell's Guide Service has focused on open-water fishing, seasonally employing more than a dozen guides.

Dahl, along with Dave Tronson and Jim Legacie, founded the Perch Patrol in 1995, and Mitchell launched his guiding service in 1998.

With the sale, Dahl—who was the longest tenured guide in Mitchell's Guide Service—says the Perch Patrol will become a year-round guide service.

For Mitchell, host of the "Jason Mitchell Outdoors" TV show, the sale will allow him to focus his energy exclusively on his outdoor programming. When he bought the rights to the program in 2008 from veteran outdoors communicator Tony Dean, Mitchell partnered with Kyle Blanchfield of Woodland Resort, and they had co-owned the guide service for the past 10 years.

"We are excited about the future for both our customers and guides," Mitchell said in a statement. "Both Kyle and myself have worked with Steve in different capacities over several years, and we are confident that the next chapter will be even more exciting."

As a side note, Mitchell is among the featured speakers at the second annual Fishing Careers Workshop hosted by Al and Troy Lindner on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Madden's on Gull Lake near Brainerd, Minn.

More information on the Perch Patrol is available at

LWCF allocates $100 million

As the clock ticks toward Sept. 30, when the 54-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund is set to expire unless Congress renews it, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Tuesday announced the distribution of $100 million in LWCF funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories.

North Dakota will receive $896,313 and Minnesota more than $1.75 million from the fund for state-identified outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

Congress passed legislation establishing the LWCF in 1964, and money for the fund comes from offshore oil revenues at no cost to taxpayers. Since its inception, the LWCF has provided more than $4.2 billion to state and local governments to fund more than 43,000 projects throughout the country, according to the Department of Interior.

"The LWCF State and Local Assistance Program leverages public and private investment in America's state and local parks and exemplifies my priorities to improve and expand outdoor recreation and access, and bolster state and local community recreation, tourism and economic goals," Zinke said in a statement. "I support permanent reauthorization of LWCF and am hopeful that Congress will pass this important bill before the deadline."

The House Natural Resources Committee on Sept. 13 unanimously passed a measure to permanently reauthorize the LWCF at $900 million annually, and conservation groups across the country have called on the full Congress to renew the fund before the Sept. 30 deadline.

Earlier this week, the National Wildlife Federation announced the release of a new report highlighting the program's benefits since its inception.

The report, "The Land and Water Conservation Fund: Protecting America's Hunting and Fishing Heritage," is available at

"This report vividly highlights how this is all at stake unless Congress acts" by Sept. 30, Tracy Stone-Manning, associate president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement. "It should be a no-brainer for Congress to reauthorize and fully fund this amazing program so that all of their constituents will continue to benefit from it."

More information about the Land and Water Conservation Fund is available at

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. 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.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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