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Volunteers drive BOW catfish event

Last weekend's inaugural Becoming an Outdoors Woman catfish adventure on the Red River in East Grand Forks was an offshoot of a Rainy River women's sturgeon program that marked its third season this past spring.

Last weekend's inaugural Becoming an Outdoors Woman catfish adventure on the Red River in East Grand Forks was an offshoot of a Rainy River women's sturgeon program that marked its third season this past spring.

According to Dennis Topp, assistant area fisheries supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources in Baudette, Minn., one of the sturgeon anglers asked if there was a catfish BOW event.

The Red River was a logical choice.

"I said if anyone's interested, we've probably got the best channel catfish fishery in the country, and I would be glad to help organize it," Topp said.

Minnesota's BOW program offers several smaller events for women throughout the year, in addition to two large workshops that attract upward of 60 participants.

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Topp started by contacting East Grand Forks businessman and catfish enthusiast Tom Stennes, who helped with local logistics. East Grand Forks anglers Mark Swenson and Pam and Karry Kyllo volunteered to guide, as did Grand Forks catfish guide Brad Durick.

"We couldn't have come up with better guides," Topp said. "They're all very knowledgeable, and from what I heard from the women involved is they were very appreciative and knew they were in the hands of some good anglers."

Last weekend's catfish BOW event was open to 12 women, and while only five attended, Topp said he was pleased with the outcome.

The weather didn't always cooperate, but the fish did.

"I couldn't' have asked for things to go much better," Topp said. "Obviously, we had to fish through some rain, but I think that's just part of fishing."

Topp said events such as the sturgeon and catfish BOW programs "re-energize" him as a fisheries manager.

And if last weekend is any indication, chances are there'll be more women's catfishing events on the Red River in the future.

On the Web:

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Minnesota Becoming an Outdoors Woman:

www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/bow/index.html

North Dakota Becoming an Outdoors Woman:

http://gf.nd.gov/education/instruction/outdoorswoman.html

Related Topics: FISHING
Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at bdokken@gfherald.com, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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