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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THOMPSON, N.D.—When Mike Olson placed fourth in the recent Cabela's National Walleye Tour championship on Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota, it erased any doubts the fishing fanatic might have had about competing against the top walleye pros in the country.
GRAND FORKS — There was a welcome development on the conservation front Thursday, Sept. 13, with news that the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed a measure to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually. This is a big deal for anyone who cares about public lands and outdoor recreation because the LWCF is set to sunset Sept. 30 unless Congress acts to reauthorize the fund. There's still work to be done, but the House committee's action looks to be a significant step to ensuring the conservation funding continues.
With the regular waterfowl season on the horizon in North Dakota and Minnesota, hunters could be excused for worrying about the impact of this year's dry conditions on their hunting prospects. By most accounts, such worries would be unfounded—at least in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Waterfowl season opens Saturday, Sept. 22, in Minnesota and in North Dakota.
ON LAKE OF THE WOODS, Ont. — It's just a bucket of rust now, a monument to an era when people tried to forge a living from this rugged part of Lake of the Woods, but the 1936 Dodge with suicide doors must have been quite the car back in the day. As he's done many times over the years, Joe Laurin stops at the small island in the Tug Channel on this perfect late-summer Saturday to show off the car for a visitor who's come to do some exploring.
ROSEAU, Minn.—Bears are nosy critters by nature, and a 150-pound black bear last week found out the hard way what happens when it sticks its nose into a 10-gallon metal cream can. Fortunately, thanks to the MInnesota Department of Natural Resources and Roseau Fire Department and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, this story has a happy ending.
The Poweshiek skipperling is a bland-colored butterfly that likely didn't create much of a stir when it was listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species in 2014. But in the big picture, the listing of any native species — whether a high-profile animal or an obscure pollinator such as the Poweshiek skipperling — is cause for concern, officials say.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — After last year, Ted Dick could be excused for being gun shy about making predictions on ruffed grouse hunting this fall in Minnesota. The season for ruffed grouse, spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge opens Saturday, Sept. 15. Forest game bird coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids, Minn., Dick last year offered a rosy outlook on hunting prospects after spring drumming counts soared to a statewide average of 2.1 drums per stop, a 57 percent increase from the spring of 2016.
GRAND FORKS — It's not often that I get to write about my enjoyment of music and fishing in the same column, but the opportunity came along recently in the form of a songwriting contest sponsored by Half Brothers Brewing Company in Grand Forks. Local singer-songwriter Joe Greenwood has written, performed and videoed a collection of folk songs about the Red River as part of the 12-week contest, which just wrapped up and required contestants to submit a new song each week.
GRAND FORKS — Several years ago, a friend and I crossed the border at Rainy River, Ont., for a few days of lake trout fishing and received pamphlets warning us of extreme fire danger and the burning restrictions that were in place for the province. We'd barely crossed the border, it seemed, when the skies opened up, and the rain started to fall. We spent at least one day inside the camper that was our temporary residence listening to torrential rain pounding the roof. Fishing in rain is one thing, but that was more than we cared to handle.
BEMIDJI, Minn.—Firefighters continue to make progress in extinguishing a fire that broke out Wednesday in Beltrami Island State Forest after a prescribed burn in a swampy area jumped a road and spread into an adjacent wildlife management area.