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. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University.
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One of the many great things about summer in the Northland -- and certainly among the most colorful -- is the emergence of the showy lady’s slipper, Minnesota’s state flower. Also known by some as pink lady slippers -- for obvious reasons -- showy lady slippers are beginning to bloom, and by the looks of it, this is going to be another good summer for the wild orchids.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 71st annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 2.8 million birds, down 5 percent from last year. Even though the index is below 3 million for the second consecutive year, it still stands 16 percent above the long-term average (1948-2017) and is the 25th highest on record, said Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird supervisor for Game and Fish in Bismarck.
For the first time since last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program. Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local USDA Farm Service Agency office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018. For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers and wetland restoration.
Nancy Black released this 27-inch walleye on Lake of the Woods.
Paul Sum of Grand Forks released this 27.5-inch walleye on Lake of the Woods. Click on the image to see the complete photo.
Rich Lehn of Grand Forks released this 21.5-inch catfish on the Red River.
Tom Bauer of Coon Rapids, Minn., released this 28-inch walleye on Devils Lake.
If any species might be called “a bird for all seasons,” it would be the American goldfinch. This is because the goldfinch lives off-cycle. It nests later than most other birds, which means it remains active and in sight when most other birds are preoccupied with eggs or young and often are wary and withdrawn.
When Duaine Ash moved to Devils Lake in 1969, fishing was limited to northern pike, and the lake wasn’t the popular North Dakota fishing destination it is today.
As John Myers of Forum News Service reported a few days ago, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is proposing to reduce the winter walleye-sauger limit on Lake of the Woods from eight, of which no more than four can be walleyes, to six, with no more than four walleyes. The proposal also calls for a catch-and-release-only walleye season on Rainy River from March 1 through April 14. Anglers currently can keep two walleyes under 19.5 inches during the spring season on the Rainy.