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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It's been a busy few weeks for bear sightings in northwest Minnesota and other parts of the state, and a new online tool the Department of Natural Resources launched for reporting bear sightings is filling up with dots. To date, the interactive map shows 10 sightings in Polk County, nine in Pennington County and five in Marshall County in far northwest Minnesota. And since the map only shows reported sightings, there's a good chance even more bears have been seen and not reported.
CASS LAKE, Minn.—You play the cards you're dealt when picking a date on the calendar to go fishing, and Brian Brosdahl's hand on this June morning was stacked with ample doses of sun, high barometric pressure and light to variable winds. That's hardly a royal flush when the destination is gin-clear Cass Lake and the target is walleyes, a sometimes fickle fish known to favor low-light conditions and choppy waves. No worries, Brosdahl said; we'd get our fish. "They'll still bite," he said. "You just have to appeal to their animal instincts."
BAUDETTE, Minn. — Anglers again this past winter spent nearly 2 million hours ice fishing on Lake of the Woods, results from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' winter creel survey show. According to Phil Talmage, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Baudette, anglers logged 1.94 million hours of ice time on the big lake last winter, keeping about 257,000 pounds of walleyes and 279,000 pounds of saugers.
BIRCHDALE, Minn.—When your daily commute takes you along Minnesota Highway 11 from International Falls to Baudette, you're bound to experience some memorable wildlife encounters. Phil Talmage, area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Baudette, was reminded of that Tuesday morning on the drive to work.
GRAND FORKS—It's difficult to quantify how many moose are hit by vehicles every year in North Dakota and Minnesota because records aren't kept, officials say, but when collisions occur, the damage can be extensive. The most recent incident occurred Tuesday night, June 12, when two people were injured near Manvel, N.D., after hitting a moose on U.S. Highway 81 near the intersection with 20th Street Northeast, according to Lt. Gary Grove of the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office.
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.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.—A project to restore 6½ miles of Grand Marais Creek near its outlet to the Red River north of East Grand Forks had been on the wishlist for years, Myron Jesme recalls, but funding kept the project in limbo. The creek's meandering course had been cut off in 1905, when a legal drainage ditch about a mile long was constructed to divert water from the creek's 300-square-mile drainage area and send it on a direct course to the Red River, said Jesme, administrator of the Red Lake Watershed District in Thief River Falls.
MICHIGAN, N.D. — For whatever reasons bears decide to wander where they don't normally wander, a bear decided to wander into Michigan, N.D., and has caused quite the buzz since Wednesday night, June 6, when photos started showing up on social media. Seth Smaage of Michigan took the first photos of the bear about 5 p.m. Wednesday, when it was standing just west of the Leading Edge Equipment John Deere dealership north of U.S. Highway 2 in Michigan, and the photos then were posted on the Community of Michigan, ND Facebook page.
Early next month, we'll load up, six of us, in two pickups for a very long drive into the wilds of northern Saskatchewan. We'll cross into Canada northwest of Minot and wind our way north through small prairie towns that will pass in the blink of an eye. We'll drive through larger communities such as Estevan and small cities such as Regina and Prince Albert, where we'll cross the Saskatchewan River and leave the prairies in the rear view mirror.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — Ask Tom Watson to describe a good hiking trail, and he'll say it depends on the person using the trail. There's no right or wrong answer. "The old saying is, 'Another person's ceiling is another person's floor,'" said Watson, of Appleton, Minn., a longtime freelance outdoors writer and author of several books on trails, camping and paddling. "There's a trail out there for pretty much everybody and for young and old alike."