Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. 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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You know summer's not far away in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks when plans start taking shape for the Red River Valley Catfish League. First up, league organizers again this year are holding an Open House for prospective anglers to sign up for the season, meet other anglers, go fishing or just ask questions. The Open House is set for 6 to 9 p.m. May 3 at the "Whopper John Little" (North) Boat Landing below Riverside Dam in Grand Forks.
CROOKSTON, Minn.—Nick Genereux's taxidermy studio is filled with head and full body mounts of all sizes and varieties. It's also filling up with awards. Owner of Outdoor Addictions Taxidermy in Crookston, Genereux recently won Taxidermist of the Year and Judge's Choice Breakthrough Best of Show awards in the Masters Division of the Minnesota Taxidermy Guild's annual convention and competition March 30 through April 2 in Rochester, Minn. As Minnesota taxidermy awards go, that's as good as it gets.
DEVILS LAKE, N.D.—Devils Lake is projected to be about 2 feet higher this summer than last year, but the lake won't rise 4 feet like forecasters had predicted in January. That has resort owners and fishing guides gearing up with optimism for the open water tourism season that's about to hit full swing and water managers breathing a sigh of relief.
I'll never forget the first time I fished the Rainy River. The fishing was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. And while I've had the privilege of wetting a line in remote, far north waters of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, I'm not sure any of them surpassed the walleye action we encountered those two days in April 1987. The fish were big, they bit readily and they were abundant. For a couple of guys in a 12-foot boat with a 4-horse Evinrude who had absolutely no idea how to fish the river, the action was nothing short of amazing.
GRAND FORKS — The National Guard drove down the flooded street early that morning blaring evacuation orders, and the next month flew by in a blur that remains amazingly vivid 20 years later. I evacuated my house the morning of April 19, 1997, and didn't stay there again until a month — to the day — later. I had a house to go home to after the water receded, so I was one of the lucky ones.
A story is beginning to emerge on the peregrine falcons that have taken up residence in a nest box atop an elevator on the south side of Crookston. Regional raptor expert Tim Driscoll of Grand Forks said he was able to get the number of the male peregrine's leg band Friday afternoon, and the bird is Jack, a Fargo-hatched peregrine Driscoll banded in 2014. Jack is named after Fargo radio host Jack Sunday, Driscoll said. The female peregrine in the Crookston nest box isn't banded, and her origin is uncertain, but she's at least 2 years old, Driscoll said.
National Park Week begins Saturday and continues through April 23, and the annual event offers an opportunity to learn more about these recreational jewels and what they have to offer. Summer is peak season for national parks, but the outdoor opportunities are available year-round.
GRAND FORKS—Barring a miracle of Lazarus-like proportions, the Grand Forks County Wildlife Federation appears to be dead, the victim of changing times and an aging membership. If an obituary of the club was to be written, it would include a lengthy list of accomplishments on behalf of wildlife and habitat. Formed in 1947, the Grand Forks County Wildlife Federation was 70 years old.
POLK COUNTY, Minn. — Thursday afternoon was perfect for burning. And learning. Light and variable northeast winds and plenty of sun made for a pleasant afternoon to be outside serenaded by chorus frogs and wood frogs waking up from their winter slumber in the wetlands of Chicog Wildlife Management Area between Crookston and Fertile, Minn. But for the crew gathered at the WMA, there was little time to enjoy what nature had to offer. That's where the burning and learning came into play.
There are lots of signs of spring. No one of them is definitive, but taken together they are completely convincing. Probably the most familiar of these signs is the arrival of the western meadowlark, the state bird of North Dakota and five other states. The meadowlark is instantly recognizable and its song is loud and distinctive. The sound brought relief and joy to winter weary settlers on the wide open prairie.