North Dakota’s Watchable Wildlife Program Supports Nongame Species

February 9, 2017 by  

North Dakota’s Watchable Wildlife Program Supports Nongame Species

Looking out my urban backyard, even in the middle of a bone chilling North Dakota morning, it’s always a treat to see a few squirrels, red poles, chickadees and other backyard birds scrounging around for a little mid-winter food. I’m fortunate my kids love watchable wildlife even more than I do. Over the years I’ve […]

Be Courteous in Public Outdoor Areas This Summer

June 29, 2016 by  

Be Courteous in Public Outdoor Areas This Summer

Most people who enjoy the outdoors realize the level of enjoyment and satisfaction provided by not simply just getting away from it all or peace and quiet, but the smell or nature and the refreshing body cleanse the outdoors provides. All this for comes essentially free of charge. When the campsite is still blaring rock […]

Meadowlark Sightings Declining in North Dakota

June 22, 2016 by  

Meadowlark Sightings Declining in North Dakota

A few years ago on a Sunday drive near the edge of West Fargo, creeping along with no particular route in mind, one of my kids let out the proverbial, “look.” Instinctively I took my foot of the gas – not that slowing from 10 mph down to 5 would make much of a difference […]

Tips for a quick and hassle free boat launch

June 1, 2016 by  

Tips for a quick and hassle free boat launch

Even with more places to fish, boat and enjoy the water than ever before in North Dakota, the increase in opportunity also means an increase in anglers, boats and personal watercraft. It’s a unique combination that can lead to isolated problems at boat ramps when everyone has the same idea: Get on the water sooner rather […]

Keep an Eye Out for Whooping Cranes

April 6, 2016 by  

Keep an Eye Out for Whooping Cranes

A few weeks ago my column explained the transition of documenting bald eagle “sightings” from when they were an endangered species, until now when they are no longer endangered. While bald eagles are of course still protected as a national symbol, they are common enough now that individual sightings no longer warrant a special report, […]

Eagle Nest Sightings on the Rise in North Dakota

March 23, 2016 by  

Eagle Nest Sightings on the Rise in North Dakota

The first robin sighting of the year is one sign queuing up the exit of winter. And while it’s true that you might spot a robin in North Dakota at any time of year, they are a welcome sign that spring is approaching and winter is on the way out. In recent years we’ve started […]

How To Start A Career In Natural Resources

February 3, 2016 by  

How To Start A Career In Natural Resources

January and February typically generate a few phone calls and emails from parents, teachers, school counselors and high school and college students about careers in the outdoors. I had a conversation with a counselor recently that might help answer some of those questions. The counselor has a student who loves to hunt and fish, and […]

Tentative 2016 Opening Dates in North Dakota

January 13, 2016 by  

Tentative 2016 Opening Dates in North Dakota

With most 2015-16 hunting seasons now in the books, many of us are already making plans for next season, whether it’s scheduling vacation, or simply marking a date on a calendar to make sure to NOT schedule anything else for that time. To help hunters get started on those long-range plans, the North Dakota Game […]

The Best Laid Plans

May 6, 2013 by  

The Best Laid Plans

We have to adjust and improvise to find success, or just make a slow situation into a learning experience while celebrating a single fish here and there.

One At A Time

May 1, 2013 by  

One At A Time

But like targeting the rising fish, they would take them on, one-at-a-time, and they’d be okay along with rest of us

124 Points of Light

April 29, 2013 by  

124 Points of Light

I tied jigs of all kinds – trout jigs, walleye jigs, panfish jigs and bass jigs. The bright neon pink and orange were spring beacons, letting me know that someday, hopefully soon, their bright pastels would draw in smallmouth and crappies.

The Call

April 11, 2013 by  

The Call

I wondered if a trout of the same size would put up as good of a fight.

Mackerel on the Fly

April 3, 2013 by  

Mackerel on the Fly

Indeed, the toothy fish were schooled up thick in the two-to-six foot deep water between shore and a pair of pelicans patrolling the breakline just twenty yards out.

Extended Fly Tying Season

March 22, 2013 by  

Extended Fly Tying Season

Here are three more fly patterns (focusing on pheasant feathers) to get you through until spring finally decides to show up

Get to the (Antler) Point

March 22, 2013 by  

Get to the (Antler) Point

There are a number of options out there to improve the quality of our deer hunting.

Tackle Top Ten

March 19, 2013 by  

Tackle Top Ten

For whatever species I was pursuing, I would forsake all other jigs, rigs and plastics to have a supply of what follows in my tackle box

Springing Forward

March 5, 2013 by  

Springing Forward

Whether it is late season ice fishing, early season open water, or a trip to warm waters somewhere else, I hope the spring is as eventful for you

Lessons from Shane Mahoney

February 20, 2013 by  

Lessons from Shane Mahoney

Mahoney’s three-part message was resounding and clear: we need wildlife and wild places to remind us of our past and our humanity, the hunting, fishing and outdoors opportunities we have now must be guarded or they will be taken away

Our Outdoors: Wildlife on Candid Camera

February 11, 2013 by  

Our Outdoors: Wildlife on Candid Camera

With the advancement of camera technologies, many wildlife agencies have been able to provide an elevated view of eagles high on their nests, of bears deep in their winter burrows and of fish on the move up streams and rivers.

Talking Turkey

February 2, 2013 by  

Talking Turkey

While you won’t find too many people who put spring turkey hunting at the top of their list, you will find more and more hunters who look forward to a chance at taking a spring gobbler.

LATE SEASON ICE-FISHING

January 28, 2013 by  

LATE SEASON ICE-FISHING

Hard to believe, but it’s already time to start thinking about end of the season ice-fishing.

Get Ready For Ice Fishing

December 11, 2012 by  

Get Ready For Ice Fishing

Our Outdoors: Get Ready for Ice Fishing By Nick Simonson Nothing signals the fact that hunting season is over like a blizzard that drops 10 inches of  snow and follows it up with 45 mph winds, which together turn the beige and brown countryside into a whitened winter wonderland.   Thankfully, before the storm set in, […]

Fly Fishing Gifts

December 4, 2012 by  

Fly Fishing Gifts

Our Outdoors: The Gift That Keeps on Giving By Nick Simonson If you’re looking to give the gift that keeps on giving to your favorite angler, or maybe just trying to find a way to burn up these dark winter nights in your den, a fly tying kit is the end of both holiday shopping […]

Hottest Ice Fishing Gear 2013

November 27, 2012 by  

Hottest Ice Fishing Gear 2013

By Nick Simonson Dashing through the…um.  Let it…uh.  Oh the weather outside is… hmmm. Alright, so winter isn’t upon us just yet, but with the inevitability of ice in the near future, many anglers are abuzz with the latest and greatest equipment to help them successfully kick off the cold-weather fishing season.  Plus, after we’ve […]

Trail Cam Deer Hunting

September 12, 2012 by  

Trail Cam Deer Hunting

By Nick Simonson In my brief foray into bow hunting, I’ve found that each trip afield, whether I see something or not, is generally exciting. The footsteps of a squirrel or the hopping of a small bird in leaf litter is enough to get my heart pumping. When the steps are a lot louder – […]

Night Musky Fishing

August 20, 2012 by  

Night Musky Fishing

By Nick Simonson “Some nights I stay up, cashing in my bad luck; some nights I call it a draw,” is the opening line to the song “Some Nights” by the group Fun.  My wife downloaded their breakout release just before our first of three trips to the lake in as many weeks, and on […]

Go Big in Late Summer

August 6, 2012 by  

Go Big in Late Summer

By Nick Simonson Everything gets bigger in late summer – particularly the servings of food we encounter.  16-ounce T-bones are on sale and perfect for the grill. The block party barbeque is loaded with jumbo wild rice brats and gallons of coleslaw and potato salad. County fairs and country music festivals crank out bags of […]

Minnesota Lake Sturgeon

July 9, 2012 by  

Minnesota Lake Sturgeon

By Nick Simonson A couple of weeks ago, my brother Ben Simonson of Valley City, N.D. received a report via email from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding a Minnesota lake sturgeon he caught on our first trip to the Rainy River in May. The yellow tag marked #82,661 was the first thing […]

Preparing for Fall

June 26, 2012 by  

Preparing for Fall

By Nick Simonson Why does it seem like summer is busier than any other season of the year? Is it because the warm weather makes it much more enjoyable to be outside, so that the days feel so fleeting? Is it because the rush of trout, pike, walleyes and smallmouth has faded and now I’m […]

Evolution of Plastic Baits

June 17, 2012 by  

Evolution of Plastic Baits

By Nick Simonson The great evolutionist Charles Darwin would be amazed at how quickly the plastic worm has changed over just a few generations. Generally, a species changes very slowly over hundreds of thousands or millions of years.  But since Nick Creme poured his first concoction of plastisol into his hand-made molds just sixty years […]

Half Mine

June 11, 2012 by  

Half Mine

By Nick Simonson When I was a young angler, watching bobbers off the dock with my cousin Kris Paulson of Grand Forks, N.D. was more of a competition than leisure or hobby.  We’d see who could catch the most perch, we’d see who could catch the biggest bluegill and anyone who caught anything other than […]

Keep It Simple Keep It Fresh – Kids Fishing

June 4, 2012 by  

Keep It Simple Keep It Fresh – Kids Fishing

Keep It Simple Keep It Fresh – Kids Fishing By Nick Simonson My Godson Gavin has an active imagination. We’ve been Power Rangers, battled aliens in the backyard, turned invisible by walking under the curtain of a willow tree, and told ghost stories while eating s’mores by the bonfire. There’s no shortage of yarns that […]

Presque Isle State Park

May 30, 2012 by  

Presque Isle State Park

By Nick Simonson Each morning the arm of tree-covered land cradling the small bay on the south shore of Lake Erie would seem to wave invitingly. While I was busy suiting up for another day at trial, the gulls, ducks, geese and other waterbirds would make their way to and from the 3,100 acre peninsula […]

Best Fishing Trips

May 23, 2012 by  

Best Fishing Trips

By Nick Simonson The human body is about 70 percent water.  The world is about 70 percent water.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.  Our very core compound seems to draw us – especially those of us who are avid anglers – to water of all kinds.  From coast to coast, and shore to shore […]

Walleye Recipes

May 17, 2012 by  

Walleye Recipes

By Nick Simonson The walleyes weren’t “on” for me over Minnesota’s opening weekend, but thankfully the last four fillets from the ice fishing season stashed in the freezer helped fill the void when I got home on Sunday night.  If you put a few golden fish in the livewell and on the cleaning board, you’ve […]

Fishing Lake Sturgeon – Rainy River

May 8, 2012 by  

Fishing Lake Sturgeon – Rainy River

Fishing Lake Sturgeon “Well, that hookset didn’t go anywhere,” my brother said as I got about one-third into my sweeping movement against the creature that tapped on the end of my line near the bottom of the Rainy River in northern Minnesota.  With the rod in full arc, I began cranking down to meet my […]

Backyard Wildlife

April 30, 2012 by  

Backyard Wildlife

Backyard Wildlife By Nick Simonson So much of my formative years were spent in the backyard at the old brown-trimmed house along the oak-lined street near the college in my hometown of Valley City.  Nestled between the mesotrophic curve of the slow-flowing Sheyenne which forms three of the boundaries of the nearby city park and […]

Trout Fishing Tips

April 25, 2012 by  

Trout Fishing Tips

By Nick Simonson The recently stocked trout in the stream near my house were quick learners this year.  With a winter short on snow and a spring that only just recently made up a couple of inches against the lingering drought, water levels were low and the fish were instantly wary after the DNR truck […]

Fly Fishing Knots

April 10, 2012 by  

Fly Fishing Knots

By Nick Simonson On Friday night, my fly fishing gear was in a sorry state.  It had been almost 8 months since I had last used it on some sunny day in Detroit Lakes, Minn. for the dock-patrolling bluegills at my family’s cabin.  In addition to updating the twisted leaders with no tippet and cleaning […]

Florida Fishing – Distant Cousins

April 5, 2012 by  

Florida Fishing – Distant Cousins

Florida Fishing By Nick Simonson My wife’s extended family is very close.  Her grandfather and his cousins grew up together like brothers, and as a result her mother and second and third cousins grew up the same way.  No matter where we go for her family reunions or for vacations with the extended family, as […]

Beginning Photography Tips for Fishing

March 23, 2012 by  

Beginning Photography Tips for Fishing

By Nick Simonson As the adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” a fishing picture, however means never having to face an inquisition from friends or foes at the local watering hole. While any snap, from a camera phone on up to top-of-the-line photography equipment, will preserve the memory and the proof of […]

Conservation Message – Bits & Pieces

March 21, 2012 by  

Conservation Message – Bits & Pieces

By Nick Simonson Normally, I’d being talking about getting ready for spring by now.  But in case you missed it, spring is over.  Welcome to June.  All kidding and weather-banter aside, spring is here and everyone’s timetable has been moved up, but there are some important dates, activities and here-and-now conservation message actions that are […]

Spring Season in Fast Forward

March 12, 2012 by  

Spring Season in Fast Forward

By Nick Simonson Even in “The Winter that Wasn’t” signs of spring are welcome, and with the surge of May-like weather on the southern breezes of early March they’ve been popping up everywhere, getting me excited for the season to come. Last November, I procrastinated my purchase of a new snowblower right up to Veteran’s […]

Walleye Fishing – The Big Bite

March 5, 2012 by  

Walleye Fishing – The Big Bite

By Nick Simonson And….nothing.  I ripped the glow-red spoon upward and it went…nowhere. It was a sensation I hadn’t experienced in quite a while, having spent a majority of the past few winters searching lakes across the upper Midwest for slab crappies and bull bluegills. But on this, the last weekend of the Minnesota walleye […]

Ice Fishing – Significant Trip Tips

February 27, 2012 by  

Ice Fishing – Significant Trip Tips

By Nick Simonson Fishing is a social sport; ice fishing even more so.  I can’t recall a morning after a hot (or not-so-hot) dawn bite that I haven’t stepped out of my shack to see who else was punching holes in the dark, ask how the fish were biting fifty yards away and shoot the […]

Fish Finders – An On-Ice Epiphany

February 7, 2012 by  

Fish Finders – An On-Ice Epiphany

By Nick Simonson I recall clearly many days where an “ah-ha!” moment changed the way I did things forever.  One such moment happened on December 26, 2000, and it altered the way I fished through the ice permanently. The converted trailer shack that my buddy Holmes, his cousin Adam and I were fishing out of […]

Ice Fishing Rigs – Big Bluegills

January 31, 2012 by  

Ice Fishing Rigs – Big Bluegills

Ice Fishing Rigs – Big Bluegills By Nick Simonson For the past few weekends, I have been exploring a small impoundment about twenty minutes from home.  Rumor had it that big bluegills roamed the basin out from the public access, but all my efforts had produced over the past month was a plethora of puny […]

Pheasant Feathers for Fly Fishing

January 23, 2012 by  

Pheasant Feathers for Fly Fishing

By Nick Simonson This year, it seemed that every pheasant was a trophy.  Whether it was those early birds on opening weekend with half-colored feathers, or that lone rooster coming late in the season, each one provided a welcome warm meal and a new crop of pheasant feathers for fly fishing.  With one season behind […]

Ice Fishing Tip Ups

January 16, 2012 by  

Ice Fishing Tip Ups

By Nick Simonson I often think back fondly to my times while ice fishing tip ups growing up in North Dakota.  For those anglers who love to chase a waiving flag across the ice, there’s no better place than the Peace Garden State, where on hardwater, fishermen are allotted four lines with no restrictions as to […]

Winter Current Walleye Fishing

January 9, 2012 by  

Winter Current Walleye Fishing

By Nick Simonson My prediction from last month – that winter would eventually get colder – was way off; so much for making the safe bet. The ice in most areas hasn’t grown much, and with unprecedented January temperatures crossing the 50- and 60-degree barriers across the upper Midwest in recent days, it has receded […]

Ice Fishing Shelters – Ice Anchors

January 2, 2012 by  

Ice Fishing Shelters – Ice Anchors

By Nick Simonson The noise in the pines behind me grew until it sounded like a rushing spring waterfall on the North Shore.  I had been on the ice just long enough to set up my hub-style ice fishing shelter, drop my Vexilar transducer and land my first fish of the new year when the […]

Winter Weather Predictions

December 19, 2011 by  

Winter Weather Predictions

By Nick Simonson “Guys, where are we,” this initial inquiry by Dominic Monaghan’s character, Charlie, summed up the question that I and ten million other viewers tried to figure out for six seasons on the TV show Lost. The J. J. Abrams sci-fi series focused on a group of plane crash survivors marooned on a […]

Ice Fishing Tips – Early Ice

December 14, 2011 by  

Ice Fishing Tips – Early Ice

By Nick Simonson While taking those first nervous steps onto the ice this weekend, I stared down into the weedy shallows with their vegetation frozen in place, the last respiration of openwater photosynthesis trapped in the tiny bubbles just inches from the surface of the frozen water. I traced my way along a small crack […]

Tebowing – Late Season Pheasant Hunting

December 6, 2011 by  

Tebowing – Late Season Pheasant Hunting

By Nick Simonson It’s December, it’s cold, it’s tough going in the field. But somehow, as the season wears on, I find myself out there, still grinding away, searching for a last chance bird or deer with a never-give-up attitude I hoped I’d have at this time of year, way back in October as I […]

Bow Hunting with Trail Cameras

November 29, 2011 by  

Bow Hunting with Trail Cameras

By Nick Simonson I feel like Sauron from the Lord of the Rings trilogy; with my all-seeing eye looking out over the land – well at least 100 square feet of it. With my new trail camera set up overlooking the entrance to a watering area about 50 yards from my favorite bow hunting stand, […]

Deer Hunting Tips

November 14, 2011 by  

Deer Hunting Tips

By Nick Simonson “Wait…what…how did she, where did she come from?!?  Aw crap…no wait, maybe she doesn’t see me, she’s looking…does she? “WHHHHHT!  WHHHHT!” “Guhhh…” My heart never sinks so low as when I know the jig is up; when all the scent killer in the world isn’t enough to cover up a stupid mistake […]

Deer Hunting in Windy Conditions

November 10, 2011 by  

Deer Hunting in Windy Conditions

By Nick Simonson Rarely does a strong wind factor into a good day outdoors.  Sure, there are those times where the right wind whips across a reef or a point, roiling the waters and bringing schools of walleyes in to feed on discombobulated baitfish.  And maybe a breeze catches  a rooster’s scent and wafts it […]

Retrieving Upland Game

November 7, 2011 by  

Retrieving Upland Game

By Nick Simonson While finishing up a walk for ruffed grouse along the Saint Louis River in northeastern Minnesota this weekend, I decided to skirt the edge of a stand of young aspen trees which came right up to a stretch of sixty-year-old red pines. I weaved in and out of the last row of […]

Ruffed Grouse Opener

September 20, 2011 by  

Ruffed Grouse Opener

Our Outdoors By Nick Simonson Opening day in the northwoods of Minnesota generally isn’t the ideal time to chase after the booming wingbeats of a ruffed grouse.  The weather is hit-or-miss, with some mid-September weekend temperatures climbing into the 80s, limiting the time afield for my lab, Gunnar.  There’s still a great deal of foliage […]

Projects with Antlers

September 12, 2011 by  

Projects with Antlers

Our Outdoors: DIY Rattling Antlers – Projects with Antlers By Nick Simonson Do you hear that tick-tick-ticking? It’s either the second hand of the hall clock marking off the moments until I’m up in the stand on bow opener or it’s the beginning of field combat between this year’s herd of whitetail bucks in an […]

Trolling Crankbaits

August 22, 2011 by  

Trolling Crankbaits

Our Outdoors By Nick Simonson In cooler waters of May and June the shallows can seem almost bare.  Nothing but the occasional waterboatman or roaming bluegill disturbs the water bordering shore.  Then as summer peaks, it seems the shallows are suddenly alive and teeming with small fish, as if the table was set for a […]

Minnesota Youth Hunting

August 16, 2011 by  

Minnesota Youth Hunting

Our Outdoors – By Nick Simonson Odds are your introduction to hunting wasn’t like mine.  Sure, I collected the tail feathers and wings from the pheasants and ducks my dad brought home from his hunts when I was too young to go into the field with him.  But with the death of the family dog on […]

Right Under My Nose

August 8, 2011 by  

Right Under My Nose

By Nick Simonson When you stand the world on its head, or do your best to stand on yours, the perspective of how and what things are gets turned upside down and undoubtedly provides a new view of what were once familiar surroundings.  Last week, as I made the move from the house my wife […]

How to Make Muskie Spinnerbaits

June 13, 2011 by  

How to Make Muskie Spinnerbaits

Our Outdoors – by Nick Simonson Late last summer while scrounging for replacement lure-making parts, I came across a badly worn muskie spinnerbait which had been reduced to a bare lure head, trailer hook and just one of two blades. Recalling some spare black and red flashabou tucked into my desk drawer back home, I […]

Northern Pike Slime

June 6, 2011 by  

Northern Pike Slime

Our Outdoors: Slime Time By Nick Simonson While unhooking my second pike of the morning, the two-pound fish slipped quickly out of my wet hand and back into the water with a splash. All that was left as evidence that I had even caught it was a chewed up plastic tail and a small coating […]

Walleye Master

May 31, 2011 by  

Walleye Master

Our Outdoors – by Nick Simonson I heard the audible click of a bail opening at the front of the boat and the whisper of line being played out and I chuckled. I turned and watched the same scene that I had observed multiple times last Sunday night. There in the spotlight was the star […]

Mahi Mahi Fishing

April 11, 2011 by  

Mahi Mahi Fishing

By Nick Simonson It finally sank in when I was about an hour from the lake cabin where my buddy had been watching my dog while I was on vacation. As I looked around the midway point gas station at the beige grasses, gray skies, and leafless trees, I could hardly believe that just sixteen […]

Super Sport License

March 29, 2011 by  

Super Sport License

Our Outdoors By Nick Simonson Many times I think back fondly to reading class in sixth grade at Jefferson Elementary School. My teacher, Mr. Horner, read us a number of exciting books, many with a coming-of-age story behind them, preparing us for our adventure into Junior High the following year. Among the titles was the […]

Smallmouth Bass Jigs

March 22, 2011 by  

Smallmouth Bass Jigs

Our Outdoors: Smallmouth Bass Jigs By Nick Simonson Learning how to fish on the Sheyenne River in southeastern North Dakota during my late teens and early twenties allowed me the luxury to go after smallmouth bass from the first warm-up in early April until the fish really got going in May. Throughout the years, my […]

Sharing Fishing Success

March 14, 2011 by  

Sharing Fishing Success

Our Outdoors  – By Nick Simonson I had promised to take a coworker, Dane, on a number of fishing trips this past year, but it seemed as if fate was aligned against the idea of getting him exposed to the different niches of angling he wanted to learn about. Our muskie adventure in August was cancelled […]

Downstream Mentality

March 6, 2011 by  

Downstream Mentality

Our Outdoors: Downstream Mentality By Nick Simonson Each spring, the banks of area lakes and rivers are littered with pop bottles, chip bags, Styrofoam cups, plastic containers, beer cans, and my personal pet peeve, spent fishing line. The snow that lines the gutters of city streets and highway ditches slowly gives way to reveal plastic, […]

The Ugly Fish

February 22, 2011 by  

The Ugly Fish

Our Outdoors – By Nick Simonson I’ll admit it. I enjoy The Soup on E! Network. Joel McHale watches all the crap TV shows, makes fun of each in a thirty-second clip and moves on so I get all the best, worst and weirdest parts of what happened from what I’d never watch on TV […]

180 Ice Holes

February 10, 2011 by  

180 Ice Holes

Our Outdoors: 180 Ice Holes By Nick Simonson 180 ice holes make an area about the size of a football field look like a giant slice of Swiss cheese. 180 ice holes feel like a P90X doubles workout day followed by a lactic acid soak for the shoulders, back and triceps, even with a lightweight […]

Fishing Memories

February 2, 2011 by  

Fishing Memories

Our Outdoors By Nick Simonson Paging through the pile of tackle catalogs that all seemed to arrive in my mailbox on the same day (a sure sign that spring is still coming) made me amazed, once again, at the number of lure colors available.  From plastics, to crankbaits, and even standard jigs, there are literally thousands […]

Some Things Don’t Change

January 25, 2011 by  

Some Things Don’t Change

By Nick Simonson I lifted my right foot as the slight humming noise approached from behind me. A few moments later, I lifted my left foot and hopped a step over to keep my balance. The whir, beep and buzz of the floor-cleaning robot my wife received as a Christmas present continued on as I […]

Vertical Ice Fishing

January 11, 2011 by  

Vertical Ice Fishing

By Nick Simonson There’s an old Irish proverb that wishes good luck to the traveler by stating “may the road rise to meet you.” For anglers, especially those on the ice, it should be more like “may the fish rise to meet you.” Presentation is one of the key factors for consistently catching fish and […]

Lure Making Tips

January 3, 2011 by  

Lure Making Tips

By Nick Simonson In the past few weeks, I’ve touched upon different jig patterns and fly patterns on tap for the new year in my articles and that, along with what looks to be a winter that will cause a cabin fever epidemic of historic proportions, has elicited some emails and Facebook messages asking me […]

Downsize Your Ice Fishing

December 13, 2010 by  

Downsize Your Ice Fishing

By Nick Simonson As the seasons pass and I have become more adept at ice fishing and technology has bolstered my ability on the ice, I have drifted away from those species I once pursued primarily in winter. Walleyes and northern pike, though tops on the food chain, take a back seat these days to […]

Late Season Compromise

December 10, 2010 by  

Late Season Compromise

By Nick Simonson When temperatures drop below freezing, my thoughts generally turn to ice fishing. My wife’s thoughts on the other hand, turn to ways to keep me from testing the newly-formed surface of local waters. And as we usually do in our marriage, we have reached a nice compromise on this issue. In the […]

Ghost in the Grove

November 15, 2010 by  

Ghost in the Grove

By Nick Simonson As sundown approached one evening, I heard a loud series of crashes in the ten acres of old elms behind me. The repeated footsteps thrashing the leaves and twigs were far more aggressive than those of the doe and fawn that had crept out of the trees a half hour earlier to […]

The Extremes

November 1, 2010 by  

The Extremes

Our Outdoors: To The Extreme By Nick Simonson I know it’s going to get colder. But I’m ready for it. At least I think I am. While manning my post on an extended family member’s farm atop a four-legged stand tucked into the woods along an open grass pasture bordered by a meandering creek, I […]

First Test of Buck Fever

October 20, 2010 by  

First Test of Buck Fever

By Nick Simonson As a beginning bow hunter, I fall victim to what I’m sure are rookie mistakes. The sound of a squirrel on the ground, rustling through leaves for a bite of food is about all it takes to get my heart pumping and I find myself overamped at the noise. However, I am […]

CRP – Make the Call

September 29, 2010 by  

CRP – Make the Call

By Nick Simonson Last winter was one of the harshest I can recall since my senior year of high school. That winter of 1996-97 kicked off with a cold and snowy November and weekly storm events occurred straight on through the “Flizzard” in April, which flooded both Fargo and Grand Forks, N.D., ending the most […]

Fishing Grand Slam

September 7, 2010 by  

Fishing Grand Slam

By Nick Simonson While growing up on the Sheyenne River, I’d make it a weekend effort to complete what I called the Sheyenne Slam. It wasn’t necessarily tough to do, despite the parameters of seven species in two days, considering that most of them were willing biters and after a few weeks on the water, […]

August Muskies

August 30, 2010 by  

August Muskies

By Nick Simonson I stood at the edge of the dock and sighed as Sunday’s gusty south wind whipped through the pages in my mental calendar. Next weekend is Labor Day with family up north; the next, dove hunting; the one after that, grouse opener, and then bow hunting. Every weekend was filled with events, […]

Treestand Safety

August 23, 2010 by  

Treestand Safety

By Nick Simonson While in the throes of a hotly contested battle with the seat section of a new 15-foot ladder stand, I took a break from what is now becoming a late summer ritual to get a drink of water and my bearings while looking over the assembly manual. It wasn’t the antler fever-inducing […]

Hunting Doves

August 18, 2010 by  

Hunting Doves

By Nick Simonson I’ll take the sure thing before I’ll take the risk. Give me a savings account with two percent over anything on Wall Street these days. I play poker like that too, which might be why I’m not very good at it, and I rarely bet on sports, even when I know the […]

Following Smallies

August 3, 2010 by  

Following Smallies

By Nick Simonson It’s a jungle out there. Every man for himself. Greed is good. These mantras aptly describe the competitive drive in the world around us; natural laws that even mankind hasn’t rid from our collective psyche after millennia of becoming civilized. Whether it is in big business or the food web, one thing […]

Fishing Northern Pike

July 20, 2010 by  

Fishing Northern Pike

Our Outdoors: A Pike in the Hand By Nick Simonson Not once but twice, the devil’s fork tail turned short just feet in front of the dock at the family cabin. The fish, a muskie of nearly four feet in length had given chase, even bumping the lure halfway through my first retrieve, and exerted […]

Tying Foam Flies

July 13, 2010 by  

Tying Foam Flies

In my memory banks, I hold a combined blur of countless lazy, sunny afternoons standing in the shallows of the lake, long after more serious quarries have been abandoned in favor of hearing the plop of a fat foam fly and the delayed smack of a never-satiated bluegill rising to pull it from the surface. […]

Topwater Bass Fishing

June 17, 2010 by  

Topwater Bass Fishing

Top Water Fishing Lures By Nick Simonson I still remember the first time I watched a surface lure get inhaled and taken into the depths by a largemouth bass. It was a calm, sunny Saturday morning in late May and my buddy flung his Zara Spook about twenty yards off shore over a shallow flat. […]

Soft Plastics for Bass

June 2, 2010 by  

Soft Plastics for Bass

By Nick Simonson Fishing fast is a fun way of covering water and targeting active largemouth bass. Ripping crankbaits and burning spinnerbaits back to the boat triggers reaction strikes and puts a solid bend in the rod when largemouth are in a feeding mood. This fun-n-gun presentation also helps anglers key in on areas that […]

Homemade Gypsy Jig

May 21, 2010 by  

Homemade Gypsy Jig

By Nick Simonson When I was just getting the hang of what worked and what didn’t on the water, I stumbled on what was, at the time to me, a miracle lure. It was a banana head jig with a fan-shaped skirt made from krystal flash called the Gypsi Jig. For that summer, it was […]

Fishing North Shore Steelhead

May 10, 2010 by  

Fishing North Shore Steelhead

By Nick Simonson If you’ve ever laid eyes on a steelhead, you know the color they bring to a spring fishing trip. The hens are a glistening chrome with a faded pink stripe down their sides and a light green top. The bucks turn a deep pink – almost purple – throughout their sides with […]

Stocked Trout Fly

May 3, 2010 by  

Stocked Trout Fly

Stocked trout are known as the eat-anything additions to their foster flows, and they probably aren’t as sharp as their more naturally occurring cousins. However, they can still be a challenge and are definitely a lot of fun as the angling season gets going. While many trout anglers prefer using spinners to cover water and […]

Brown Trout Fishing

April 27, 2010 by  

Brown Trout Fishing

It’s What We Make of It By Nick Simonson A year ago this very morning I was sitting across from my old boss in a conference room as he explained the layoff benefits the company would be providing me until they’d run out or until economic conditions improved. As I had been the one handling […]

Horizontal Jigging

April 19, 2010 by  

Horizontal Jigging

By Nick Simonson Have you ever watched the way minnows move? When I was in Grand Forks, N.D. attending “The School that Shall Not Be Named” I had multiple chances to jump the Red River into East Grand Forks, Minn., and watch as trout, bass and pike preyed upon minnows that the staff had dumped […]

Ultralight Fishing Tackle

April 13, 2010 by  

Ultralight Fishing Tackle

The UltraLight Brigade By Nick Simonson There’s something special about taming a charging bull bluegill on line as thin as a spider web. Few fishing sensations are wilder than a white bass tearing up the sunset reflecting off of the evening water. Even a ten-inch trout brings a wondrous battle as it twists and turns […]

Fishing Diary

March 30, 2010 by  

Fishing Diary

By Nick Simonson There have been a lot of changes in my life over the past five years. I’ve lived in two states and three towns and have had six different jobs, with this one being the most consistent. In that time I’ve fished over 60 lakes and rivers, gaining some level of familiarity with […]

Time to Get Moving

March 22, 2010 by  

Time to Get Moving

By Nick Simonson It was hard to hear the beep of the cash register as I stood in line with the few items that my wife requested I pick up from the grocery store. Behind me, a four-year old girl screamed bloody murder each time her mother pried the candy bar from her hands and […]

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