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 took nearly a year and a half, but an Underwood, Minn., man who paddled a giant pumpkin from Grand Forks to Oslo, Minn., in October 2016 officially is the World’s Greatest Pumpkin Paddler.
GRAND FORKS—The peregrine falcons nesting atop the University of North Dakota water tower appear to have at least one baby, observers say. Parents are Marv, the patriarch of Grand Forks peregrines since 2014, and an unbanded female that showed up this spring in place of Terminator, who had produced every peregrine chick since 2008 when she first nested in Grand Forks. Terminator didn't return to the nest box this year, so the speculation is she died.
BISMARCK—As Neal Leier remembers it, they had barely drifted away from the Fox Island Park boat ramp Friday morning for a day of walleye fishing on the Missouri River in Bismarck when his brother, Leon, noticed fish on the depth finder screen. Leier, of Bismarck, quickly grabbed a pole and tossed out a jig tipped with a plastic tail.
North Dakota doesn't have a resident gray wolf population, but the eastern half of the state falls within the boundaries of what's known as the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment, which includes gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Fringe states that partially fall within the boundary are North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and far northern Illinois.
Lake of the Woods Fishing has heated up as March hits the midpoint, Lake of the Woods Tourism reports in this week's update. Electronics are helpful in putting more walleye and saugers on the ice. Some fish are aggressive, while others must be enticed into biting. Most resorts have their houses set up atop 24 feet to 33 feet of water and continue to push shallower.Glow spoons and smaller presentations tipped with a minnow head or tail are working well, according to the report.
OAK ISLAND, Minn. — Something was different about this fish, judging by the red blob that now bubbled on the screen of my Vexilar FL-18 depthfinder. It looked thicker than the walleye blips that had shown up and cooperated with pleasing regularity throughout the morning, seeming almost to pulsate as I bounced a gold-and-glow-red "Stop Sign" jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head above it in hopes of enticing a strike. Whatever was down there, I wanted to catch it — or at least hook it.
BISMARCK — Whether the behemoth muskie Ryan Getz of Bismarck caught while ice fishing on New Johns Lake in Burleigh County is a new state record tiger muskie — a hybrid pike-muskie cross — or just a very large pure strain muskie won't be known until genetic test results become available. Either way, it's one heck of a fish to pull through a hole in the ice. The muskie measured 51 inches and weighed 41.3 pounds. "Yeah, it wasn't too bad," Getz said with a laugh Thursday, March 6, in a phone interview. "I wish they'd give me word" on the test results.
GRAND FORKS — Make no mistake about the weather on this Thursday evening in early February. It's cold, as in 10 below zero cold. Way too cold if you're into fly fishing, as opposed to the kind of fishing that requires staring down at a hole in the ice. Just ask Steve Ficocello, founder of the Forks Fly Tyers. The group, which gets together the first Thursday of every month to tie flies and talk fishing, was marking its six-month anniversary on this chilly February evening at Half Brothers Brewing Company in downtown Grand Forks.
At first glance, Jake Cosley says he wasn't quite sure what he was seeing Wednesday afternoon while snowmobiling on the Red River south of Pembina, N.D. It looked like a dead deer, but something else seemed to be going on, too, he said.
GRAND FORKS—Land Tawney is president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a Montana-based group focusing on public lands and waters with chapters in 35 states, including Minnesota, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta. A fifth-generation Montanan, Tawney, 42, worked for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and was a regional representative for the National Wildlife Federation before taking the reins of BHA in 2013. He and his wife, Glenna, have two kids, age 9 and 6, and two black Labs, Teller "Triple T" and Tule.