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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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.
The new North Dakota state record walleye Neal Leier of Bismarck caught Friday, May 18, on the Missouri River in Bismarck has been the talk of the fishing world for good reason. Big fish are fascinating, and news of them travels fast these days. Leier's 15-pound, 13-ounce walleye broke a record that had stood since 1959, when Blair Chapman of Minnewaukan, N.D., weighed in a 15-pound, 12-ounce walleye from Wood Lake in Benson County.
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.
ON LAKE OF THE WOODS, Minn. — Anyone who says walleye fishing — or any kind of fishing, for that matter — is an equal opportunity pastime wasn't in Jason's Laumb's boat on the opening weekend of Minnesota's 2018 walleye season. Despite weather that was about as close to perfect as you could ask for on a Minnesota Fishing Opener, the Black Cloud loomed large, at times, for a couple of fishermen in our crew. I was one of them.
LANCASTER, Minn.—A wildfire that broke out early Tuesday afternoon in Clow Township about 10 miles northwest of Lancaster and later jumped the border into Manitoba was about 70 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, officials said. According to Christi Powers, an information officer for the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center in Grand Rapids, air crews Wednesday morning, May 16, estimated the size of the fire at 1,300 acres in an area that's about half forest and half grasslands. A cabin was confirmed destroyed by the fire, Powers said.
If there was such a thing as a perfect weather forecast going into the Minnesota Fishing Opener, it would look a lot like the predictions on tap for Saturday and Sunday across northern Minnesota from the National Weather Service. Fishing season for walleyes and northern pike officially gets underway at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, and some 500,000 anglers are expected to hit their favorite lake or stream in pursuit of Minnesota's state fish, the walleye. Walleyes and pike have been off-limits on Minnesota inland waters since late February.
North Dakota doesn't have the anticipation of a walleye opener because fishing season is continuous, but Lake Sakakawea is looking like the go-to destination for North Dakota walleye fanatics this open-water season, biologists say.
ON THE RAINY RIVER, Minn. — For people who fish, there's something about getting in a boat again after a long winter that's difficult to put into words. Excitement is part of it. So is anticipation. Anticipation for the sound of an outboard motor rumbling to life for the first time in months. Anticipation for the sound of water lapping against the hull of the boat, a sound as soothing as it is hypnotic.
GRAND FORKS — The email arrived nearly three weeks ago, hinting at the prospect of a Minnesota walleye opener four of us who got together in 1996 will never forget. "Ice fishing on Lake of the Woods for the opener?" the subject line read. "I'd say the odds are 50/50 right now," the sender said in his email. "We should plan on re-convening our 'Opener Ice Team' for 2018, conditions allowing. "Just saying. ..."
GRAND FORKS — Larry Gadaire was paddling his homemade cedar strip canoe on Lake Renwick near Cavalier, N.D., one day about 25 years ago when he saw someone cruising the lake in a kayak. A cabinet maker by trade, Gadaire did what cabinet makers by trade do when when they see something they'd like build. He built a kayak. And he's been building them ever since. "The worst thing about cedar strip is you never finish sanding," Gadaire said. "So, I started with these, and I've been modifying and changing things" along the way.