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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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.
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—The Minnesota attorney general's race might not take center stage in the minds of hunters and anglers across the state, but this year's race bears watching in the days leading up to the Aug. 14 primary election. Bob Lessard, 87, the former Minnesota state senator nicknamed "The Old Trapper," has thrown his hat into the ring on a platform that largely focuses on protecting the dedicated funding package Minnesota voters approved in 2008, when they passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
GRAND FORKS—Crossing a portage in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness one day more than 20 years ago, Steve Hawthorne decided he was done lugging his 84-pound fiberglass canoe between wilderness lakes. That was enough of that, he recalls. Hawthorne loves the northeast Minnesota wilderness area and taking canoe trips with his son, Matt, or daughter, Kara, both of whom now are in their mid 30s. But when your paddling partners gauge a successful canoe trip by how many miles they can portage, it's time to explore lighter options, he says.
So I went blueberry picking last weekend—and enjoyed it. The bucket of blueberries now in my freezer definitely made the few hours I spent in the woods worth the effort. Wild blueberries are smaller than the store-bought version, but taste-wise, there's no comparison; wild blueberries are that much better. Plus, I've found, there's a satisfaction that comes from leaving the woods with a full bucket of blueberries that's difficult to describe.
KAMATSI LAKE, Saskatchewan—We'd been exploring a new part of the lake, catching lake trout with just enough regularity to keep things interesting, when Peter Howard suggested we try a nearby shoreline point at the mouth of a narrows we'd been fishing for the past hour. Good plan, that. Shoreline points often mean dropoffs into deeper water, and dropoffs often mean lake trout, those spotted, grayish-blue packages of fins and power and beauty that head for the depths when surface water temperatures rise past 50 degrees.
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."
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.
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.—Rob Horken might best be remembered as "Ernie the Angler," his longtime alter ego who did weekly summer fishing reports on WDAZ-TV Channel 8 in Grand Forks, but in retirement, Horken keeps his feet in the fishing waters by building custom fishing rods. Any size, any color, Horken probably can build it. The retirement gig is keeping the owner of Rob's Rod Repair and Custom Built Fishing Rods busy in his East Grand Forks shop. As busy as he wants to be, at least, and that's just the way Horken likes it.
BAUDETTE, Minn. — This is a rant — about those new-style gas containers equipped with safety features that make it impossible for most of us to dispense the gasoline they're designed to hold. How do I hate them? Let me count the ways. Someday, I'd like to find the people who developed these safety features and turn them loose on a remote northern Minnesota highway. Then, I'd like to see them try to pour fuel from one of their devil cans into a car that has run out of gas.