Fishing Buddies

March 15, 2010 by  

Fishing Buddies

By Nick Simonson Of angling’s many positive elements, near the top of the list is that it is a great way to spend time with friends that are so close they might as well be family. My buddies and I try to make it a regular thing to meet up at the cabin, at someone’s […]

Homemade Musky Baits

March 4, 2010 by  

Homemade Musky Baits

By Nick Simonson Muskie anglers love to throw the biggest, flashiest baits. But in these days of dwindling discretionary income, spinners with oversized blades, magnum flashabou skirts and price tags to match are becoming cost-prohibitive. However, you can produce a bait at home for half as much as you’d pay for popular store models and […]

Sculpins

February 15, 2010 by  

Sculpins

For the Presidents’ Day weekend, I had planned out a solid day of fishing on a lake near my mother-in-law’s house where I knew the fish would bite all day. A couple hours at sunrise put me on some good-sized, fast-biting bluegills with the occasional crappie mixed in. The agenda was to meet up with […]

Fish House Spotters

February 8, 2010 by  

Fish House Spotters

By Nick Simonson Shantytowns are generally a bad sign. Economic downturns, natural disasters and tribal wars all come to mind when such a place is shown on the evening news. However, in the ice belt and points north, it is the sign of something good – a hot bite on frozen waters. While fishing a […]

The Glo Bug Fly

February 1, 2010 by  

The Glo Bug Fly

By Nick Simonson Last week, as I braced myself against the wind and made my way up the walk in the glow of the front porch light, I saw through the blowing snow that first sign of spring. It wasn’t a robin, hiding its head under its wing in the late January cold. It wasn’t […]

Life List Lunkers

January 20, 2010 by  

Life List Lunkers

By Nick Simonson There are hundreds of days booked in my fishing logs and countless others banked in my memories. From watching a field of tip-up flags pop for northern pike on a chilly winter morning to a steamy July evening spent fishing an inexhaustible school of white bass, it is tough to keep track […]

Wetlands Key to Spring Flood

January 18, 2010 by  

Wetlands Key to Spring Flood

By Nick Simonson Reports this month have many people across the region looking out their front windows with worry. In the wake of back-to-back blizzards, the National Weather Service (NWS) released its early-season forecast for this spring’s flood potential for the upper Midwest. Some form of flooding is expected when the snow pack melts, with […]

Make Custom Crappie Jigs

January 11, 2010 by  

Make Custom Crappie Jigs

Our Outdoors – By Nick Simonson As winter blankets, and blankets, and blankets the region with snow, it is becoming more apparent that it will be a long season indeed. That’s not a bad thing if you need some time to get your tacklebox ready for one of open water’s early quarries – prespawn slab […]

Trickle Down Techonomics

January 5, 2010 by  

Trickle Down Techonomics

Our Outdoors – By Nick Simonson A post on the ice fishing forum of a website that I help moderate asked: “I paid $300 for an old sled shack and a Vexilar, did I get a good deal?” My response was as it usually is for these kinds of questions, “You’ll wonder how you ever […]

Fly Tying for the WinterTime

December 29, 2009 by  

Fly Tying for the WinterTime

Our Outdoors – By Nick Simonson From Bismarck to Brainerd to Balaton, the region has been blasted with the most epic blizzard since those doubled-barreled every-other-weekend storms from the winter of 1996-97. My wife and I crawled along I-94 to visit my family just before the Gulf-fueled, moisture-laden monster dumped 16 inches of snow. We […]

Hottest Ice Fishing Gear of 2010

December 21, 2009 by  

Hottest Ice Fishing Gear of 2010

By Nick Simonson The ice on most northern lakes is now thick enough for anglers to safely haul out their toys thanks to a cold stretch at the beginning of the month. Though nighttime temperatures have been below zero, new innovations and advancements in tackle, gear and shelters are helping anglers heat up the early-ice […]

Cold Weather Pheasants

December 14, 2009 by  

Cold Weather Pheasants

By Nick Simonson It’s a cold day with clear blue skies following the winter’s first blizzard, which left six inches of snow as an early Christmas present. A group of buntings flits from the shoulder to the field edge as I turn my hard-starting pickup off of the highway. We rumble down the gravel road […]

Small Ice Fishing Jigs

December 7, 2009 by  

Small Ice Fishing Jigs

By Nick Simonson It’s the evening of the first day when the temperature has stayed well below freezing and I’m sitting in the not-quite-bright-enough light of the living room, squinting as hard as I can in an effort to thread a wisp of one-pound test through the eye of a 1/64 ounce Genz worm in […]

The Fifty Pointer

December 1, 2009 by  

The Fifty Pointer

As I joined the mad rush at 5 a.m. on Black Friday with my wife in the aisles of the Virginia, Minn. Target store, I caught the stare of one half-awake fellow in a camouflage hunting coat, pinned down between a cart full of pink baby clothes and a display of 42-inch plasma TVs. His […]

I’m Thankful For the Outdoors

November 24, 2009 by  

I’m Thankful For the Outdoors

Our Outdoors: I’m Thankful By Nick Simonson I’m thankful for Gunnar, And his powerful nose. As he sniffs out the pheasants, From harvested rows. I’m thankful for trap shoots, In June and July. That cut down on fall misses, So I don’t wonder why. I’m thankful for crappies, Dressed in black and green. And bluegill […]

The Bye Week

November 16, 2009 by  

The Bye Week

By Nick Simonson My guess is whomever was in charge of setting up the 2009 NFL schedule was a deer hunter and a Minnesota Vikings fan. What other alignment of the stars could explain last week’s bye for the Favre n’ Harvin show falling precisely on the opening weekend of deer firearms season in the […]

Spring Steelhead Fishing

November 10, 2009 by  

Spring Steelhead Fishing

By Nick Simonson As my offering drifted around in the pool eddy, I hoped that my brother would see a fish caught – if not by me, then by another angler, or maybe himself – and he would experience the finned allure of the north shore of Lake Superior beyond the lichen-covered bluffs and pine-shaded […]

Taxidermy Tips

November 5, 2009 by  

Taxidermy Tips

By Nick Simonson At a near run, you step over the crest of the small hill to the other side that leads down to the oak bottom and wonder where the deer bounded after it left your sight. With the scent of gunpowder fading, you follow the sign in the brown leaves and dry grass […]

Not the Same Old Safety

November 2, 2009 by  

Not the Same Old Safety

By Nick Simonson Year after year, the approach of the deer firearms opener causes something to stir in the souls of outdoorsmen. Tags are placed in secure spot, the final preparation of shooting lanes occurs in the woods and walking hunters map out their favorite draws, ravines and creekbottoms for opening day. With all the […]

Lightning Bugs – Pheasant Tail Nymphs

October 22, 2009 by  

Lightning Bugs – Pheasant Tail Nymphs

Our Outdoors Nick Simonson Of all the game birds sportsmen pursue, none is more colorful than the ringneck pheasant. Which makes it a pretty odd fact that the most popular fly used by outdoorsmen is the generally drab looking pheasant tail nymph – or simply, the PTN. Of course, trout, bluegill and other fish don’t […]

Double Down on Pheasants

October 20, 2009 by  

Double Down on Pheasants

By Nick Simonson This year’s pheasant opener was unique in a number of ways. It was the first time I had opened the season somewhere other than North Dakota, with kickoff usually held at my grandmother’s farm near Watford City, N.D. in the company of my dad, brother, uncle and cousins. The hunting report from […]

It’s About the Little Things

February 23, 2009 by  

It’s About the Little Things

Our Outdoors Nick Simonson   It’s the little things in life that matter; a couple bluegills on the flyrod to pass a sunny afternoon at the lake or a few golden walleye fillets sizzling in the frying pan for an evening meal. And it is these little things that make angling so much fun. Getting […]

Spring River Walleye Fishing

February 23, 2009 by  

Spring River Walleye Fishing

Our Outdoors Nick Simonson Spring in the upper Midwest is unpredictable; seventy-two and sunny one weekend, twenty-seven and snowing the next. However, there is one thing about spring that is a given; fish will go through the same process in preparation to beget more fish. It is during this time of year – the prespawn […]

Fishing in May

February 23, 2009 by  

Fishing in May

Our Outdoors Nick Simonson “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” This line, an eye-to-eye plea by Matthew Broderick as the title character in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, sums up our very existence. For anglers, month of May moves even […]

Walleye Fever – Trophy Walleye Fishing

February 23, 2009 by  

Walleye Fever – Trophy Walleye Fishing

Our Outdoors Nick Simonson   Call it the result of a lucky catch, call it an unwanted side effect of Minnesota fishing opener (I guess now I see why ND really got rid of opening dates for fishing) but I’ve been stricken with walleye fever. Chance Encounter The symptoms started last Tuesday when fishing with […]

Flinch-Free Firing – Rifle Shooting Technique

February 20, 2009 by  

Flinch-Free Firing – Rifle Shooting Technique

Our Outdoors Nick Simonson An old neighbor of mine who was just as good at busting sporting clays on the skeet range as he was at busting my chops regarding my tales of fishing and hunting misadventure, asked me what my problem was when he read I didn’t get a deer on opening weekend a […]

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