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I was fishing with my friend Shane Gesell recently near Alexandria.  It was on this trip that I remembered why netting the fish that’s on the end of your line can be a good idea.  Actually, it’s a good idea for several reasons.  Following are some of those reasons. 

The recent Minnesota walleye opener saw a couple buddies and I fishing a large lake in central Minnesota known for producing good walleye catches. This lake is one of my favorites and one I have spent more time chasing walleyes on than any other.  Conditions in this particular lake, however,…

Perhaps like many outdoor enthusiasts, Lisa and I have grown to appreciate access to federal lands as we experienced incredible places like Voyageur, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Shenandoah and others. The same is true of ventures in Minnesota in the Boundary Waters, Itasca, Gooseberry, Cuyun…

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On May 13, the long-term planning committee of Glendalough Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) met via Zoom conference with staff members of the Minnesota DNR to discuss two important projects underway in Glendalough – the Sunset Lake Trail and the new visitor center. Both projects have experience…

The first time I saw a wolf in the wild was in 1972.  It had crossed the dry and dusty Sawbill Trail north of Tofte.  Now nearly 50 years later a paved surface covers that portion of road.  Also changed over those years were the ease of the portages that now seemed more strenuous and the pad…

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It’s that time of year again to enjoy boating, and being out on the lake. It’s a Minnesota tradition for sure, but that tradition comes with certain responsibilities regarding safety and basic boat operations.

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As aquatic invasive species in area lakes have become more prevalent, so has the overall approach to enforcement. Otter Tail County’s approach this year involves many key components with a centerpiece revolving around continued education.



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Spring temperatures mean that Minnesotans are out of their homes and enjoying the natural outdoor wonders that our state has to offer. Unfortunately that translates into warmer weather and “Ticks.” Ticks are pathogen carrying arachnoids. Tick bites can transmit disease to humans and animals.

Spring temperatures mean that Minnesotans are out of their homes and enjoying the natural outdoor wonders that our state has to offer. Unfortunately that translates into warmer weather and “Ticks.” Ticks are pathogen carrying arachnoids. Tick bites can transmit disease to humans and animals.

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Two weeks ago, we spent three days hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) north of Duluth. We camped at Gooseberry Falls with trail buddies from North Dakota. Unofficially, the SHT has been a part of the North Country Trail (NCT) for many years. Finally, two years ago, Congress passed leg…

June is a great month for those of us who love to fish!  Fish of all species are often still roaming the shallows now and at least some, if not many, are usually in a biting mood.  In fact, one of my all-time favorite fishing patterns involves largemouth bass in and around shallow water cove…

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fisheries crews will begin their annual spring electrofishing assessments.  What is electrofishing and how does it work?  Electrofishing is a fish sampling method that DNR fisheries biologists use to collect data on largemouth bass populations.  …

Dry conditions mean very high fire danger persists in north-central and northeastern Minnesota. Spring outdoor recreation activity is increasing, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges outdoor enthusiasts to limit the use of campfires and use caution with off-road vehicles t…

As a fishing educator and TV show host, one of my goals is to help people find and catch more fish.  With that in mind, I am constantly researching and experimenting with new fishing equipment and cutting-edge fishing techniques, as well as staying on the lookout for good bites that material…

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The silence of last year’s solo hikes was a welcome calm at first. Fourteen months of COVID-19 isolation made me eager for a return to outdoor friends.  On May 2 my first group hike broke the silence with friendly chatter and animal calls from nature. Other people felt the same longing for t…

The silence of last year’s solo hikes was a welcome calm at first. Fourteen months of COVID-19 isolation made me eager for a return to outdoor friends.  On May 2 my first group hike broke the silence with friendly chatter and animal calls from nature. Other people felt the same longing for t…

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Walleye fishing season is right around the corner!  If you are like me, you have been waiting for this day since putting the boat away last fall.  With the season just days away, having a good game plan for “the opener” and the weeks ahead can mean the difference between spring fishing succe…

It started out so innocently. I was reading the May 2009 edition of Backpacker magazine and came across an article titled America’s Best Day Hikes. Under the Midwest Prairie suggestions was a 9-mile hike in the Sheyenne National Grassland (SNG) with the following description.

Many anglers, this one included, can’t wait for ice out to head for their favorite crappie lake and wet a line in open water for the season’s first time. Those just-after-ice out trips sometimes produce good fishing, but at other times the fish seem to be nonexistent. The fact is that as the…

The Fergus Falls DNR fisheries crew is preparing for the annual Walleye egg take at Walker Lake Hatchery. The hatchery is located at the inlet of Dead River to Walker Lake and has been operated since 1974. It is one of 12 seasonal, cool water hatcheries operated by the DNR in Minnesota and o…

The Otter Tail County’s Dock and Riparian Use Ordinance requires docks and lifts to be registered with the county when being moved from one body of water to another. Minnesota law requires dock and lifts to be dried for 21 days before moving from one body of water to another.

Most of my recent hikes are done solo or, on occasion, Bandit joins me for a stop-and-go dog walk where he sniffs out a recent frog sighting or a curious gopher mound. The pandemic has had us all doing more solo activities.

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For many local anglers, the first fishing outing of the year will be to try their luck at some spring crappie fishing.  The weather patterns this spring have been inconsistent, with a lot of cold fronts.  The next period of extended warm weather that we receive will mean one thing.  The sun’…

Spring is here and open water is starting to appear all across the Midwest.  For lots of anglers, that means it’s time to break open the jig box and head to their favorite walleye waters.  Jigs tipped with minnows as well as those dressed with a variety of soft baits are often what catch the…

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) has implemented a new program called the Quality Sunfish Initiative or QSI. QSI is the result of an angler-driven concern over the declining size of sunfish in Minnesota lakes.  In an angler questionnaire, a majority of anglers indicated …

Beginning April 5, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will lead an intensive invasive carp removal effort in Pool 8 of the Mississippi River near La Crosse, Wisconsin. The innovative modified unified method (MUM) combines netting and herding techniques to drive and concentrate inv…

The following article is a general outlook for the 2021 fishing opener in the Fergus Falls area.  With the fishing opener less than six weeks away, many avid anglers are already preparing their gear and contemplating which species and lake(s) they should target.  Here are some things to cons…

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The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener to be held May 13-15, in Otter Tail County is only weeks away. Otter Tail County was scheduled to host the event in 2020, however, the event was postponed due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The mission remains the same, to put a spotlight on Min…

Sometimes I need a little push to get out on the trail and the North Country Trail Hike 100 is a very effective push for me. Every year since 2016 the North Country Trail Association has offered this informal challenge. You sign up online at northcountrytrail.org, keep track of the miles you…

Minnesota DNR fisheries biologists are wrapping up the final drafts of the lake survey reports and lake management plans for 10 lakes test-netting assessments were conducted last summer. Lake surveys (fish population assessments) are the foundation of the DNR’s lake management program.  They…

The title is not a lead into a joke or a reference to an obscure legal case, but a result of research into how hiking trails are developed. My hikes on the North Country Trail in Fergus Falls piqued my curiosity about trail-building techniques.

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Drought conditions across Minnesota have created the potential for an active and damaging spring wildfire season. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges woodland landowners and homeowners to help prevent wildfires by using burn-free options for spring brush and yard cleanup.

I must admit that March can be a bit of a trying time for this angler.  I love being on the ice during this time chasing crappies and bluegills, but sunnier, warm spring days also have me longing for the first spring “boat” trips of the year too.  Unfortunately, those trips are probably a fe…

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When anglers across Minnesota drop their lines on Saturday, May 15, Otter Tail County is committed to hosting the 2021 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener in a reimagined way from the previous 70-plus years. By design, the event will be safely shaped to proceed within the guidelines of the S…

As we enter the last few weeks of winter, some anglers have already stowed their ice fishing gear and are preparing for open water.  That may be a mistake, particularly for those anglers who enjoy catching panfish like crappies and bluegills.  Right now, these fish are vacating some of the d…

Recently I traveled to Big Stone Lake to fish with winter fishing guide Tanner Arndt.  Tanner and his dad, Artie, also own and run Artie’s Fish House Rentals on Big Stone.  The Arndt’s specialize in, and pride themselves on, putting their customers on lots of Big Stone’s numerous and delicio…

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Recently I traveled to Big Stone Lake to fish with winter fishing guide Tanner Arndt.  Tanner and his dad, Artie, also own and run Artie’s Fish House Rentals on Big Stone.  The Arndt’s specialize in, and pride themselves on, putting their customers on lots of Big Stone’s numerous and delicio…

It’s been my good fortune to meet some amazing people since becoming involved with the North Country Trail community. My love of hiking is what drew me to the NCT and the social aspect is one of the unexpected benefits. Today I’d like to talk about a couple long-distance hikers that I’ve spe…

Early season ice fishing often calls for the use of jigging spoons to call in and catch aggressive fish.  As winter progresses, however, fish get more pressured and their metabolism often slows too.  For those reasons, the fish usually get less apt to bite as early winter becomes midseason. …

While walking down the aisles recently of the local bait shop, I couldn’t help but be astonished by all the ice rod models available!  This experience had me thinking back to my ice fishing trips with my Dad and brother as a kid and the ice rods we used. 

The recent plummet in temperature opens the risk for frostbite which can cause serious or permanent harm in less than 30 minutes to skin exposed to cold. Fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin are the most commonly affected areas, but any time skin is exposed to cold temperatures or come…