PF’s Soil Health & Habitat Program Increases Focus on ND & SD

By Nick Simonson Pheasants Forever’s (PF) Soil Health and Habitat program, an initiative created with corporate support from Purina Inc., is helping to establish more grassland habitat and better soil and water quality throughout the nation’s Prairie Pothole region in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.  Now entering its third sign-up, the partnership is…

Brad’s Bites: Late Summer Stabilization

By Brad Durick Water levels on the Red River remain low but the flow is substantially better than a few weeks ago, running about 700 cfs in Grand Forks. While it is still not great, it is good for the fish. The catfish seem to be responding to the stable higher water quite well with…

Our Outdoors: Hot Dogs

By Nick Simonson In what has been an historically hot summer across much of the country, and certainly the upper Midwest, it’s easy to assume those temperatures will stick around into fall. As the old saying goes, when in a drought, don’t predict rain. But even in those average years over the past few decades,…

Highlighting ND’s WMAs

By Doug Leier  North Dakota’s 200 wildlife management area’s total around 220,000 acres of state land open to hunters. These aren’t Private Land Open To Sportsmen acres. PLOTS are private lands enrolled in the Game and Fish administered program.   The department WMAs have specific rules and regulations to balance and reduce potential conflicts, which can and do occur when areas attract…

The Peluso Report: Seasonal Slow Down

By Mike Peluso It’s been a relatively slower week of fishing for me. I did chase muskies one day and went after walleyes on the river south of Bismarck and fished Devils Lake one day guiding. So, this is going to be a mixed report. I’ll start with the muskie day. We never caught one,…

Pheasant Counts Drop, Grouse & Partridge Stable

NDG&F Dept. Release North Dakota’s roadside surveys conducted in late July and August indicate pheasants were down from last year, while sharp-tailed grouse and gray partridge numbers were about the same. State Game and Fish Department upland game supervisor Jesse Kolar said results of the annual upland late summer counts were expected. “Recent weather patterns…

Brad’s Bites: Flows Up, Catfish Turning On

By Brad Durick We have water for now. The rains of that past couple weeks have brought the river up to over 1,000 cfs at Grand Forks and that is moving north. While it is still not a ton of water, it is truly blessing for the fish to keep them going. It probably won’t…

Choking Up for Upland Game

By Nick Simonson When I began hunting, I was gifted an old Remington 870 Wingmaster by my father, who had used it extensively in his younger days for pheasants and grouse, and the occasional waterfowling trip for ducks and geese.  The gun was well worn, with the scratches in the stock and slight mottling of…

Secret Stops for Sharptailed Grouse

By Nick Simonson September brings with it the initial upland seasons of the year, and sharptailed grouse have often been that first flush that has sent my heart soaring each fall after its beat echoed steadily in my ears as my dog held point.  While these buff and gray birds with the trademark chuckle that…

Our Outdoors: First Watch

By Nick Simonson Opening day of North Dakota’s bow season sits in that stretch of time where summer and fall mix together.  Cool dewy mornings of Labor Day weekend melt into warm afternoons, and despite the fact that deer are in their warm weather patterns and most often present themselves with a reserve limited to…

The Peluso Report: Seek Structure on Devils Lake

By Mike Peluso A little wind, a little rain, a little heat, and a lot of walleyes were all in play this week on Devils Lake. This is sure shaping up to be an unbelievable late season. Structure like rocks, roads, humps and definitely the deeper structure seems to be where some of the bigger…

Brad’s Bites: Flows Up, Frogs Moving

By Brad Durick We have had a bit more rain and the flow on the Red River in Grand Forks is nearly double what it was last week. It appears to still not be enough for the catfish to respond positively with a more consistent bite. They are still lined up on the back of…

Our Outdoors: The Need for Nets

By Nick Simonson The things you own end up owning you. It’s a statement I say every so often in life, as mechanical things break down, technology freezes up, and the piles of day-to-day stuff mount in the corner of the basement storage area. I uttered it at least once this weekend as a summer’s…

Celebrating 90 Years of Outdoor History

By Doug Leier It’s easy to look at the negative impact the drought has had on every aspect of our state. But a recent feature in North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine had me looking at the “glass half full,” considering some of the historical notes of outdoors from the past 90 years when the first issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS was published.  1931 …

Brad’s Bites: Catfish Rise on Rains

By Brad Durick Rains last weekend brought flows on the Red River up a little bit. It’s not enough to really see it on the gauges but if you are out there every day you notice it. The catfish have responded to the little influx very positively and if you can find current you will…

NE ND Deer Dodge Winter & Drought

By Nick Simonson While often the coldest and snowiest portion of North Dakota, the northeastern quarter like the rest of the state was spared the usually chilly temperatures and drifts it normally sees in the winter of 2020-2021, and as a result, the herds of whitetails in the region survived well.  With that, and a…

Our Outdoors: Standard Procedure

“Now, you get to do the strap up on top of it,” I said with a laugh as on my tip toes I cranked hard on the ratchet which secured the stabilizing pole of my buddy’s new deer stand to his chosen tree, putting a pair of red lines into my palm, which suggested the…

The Peluso Report: Front Can’t Halt Good Fishing

By Mike Peluso Most of my guiding this past week has been on Devils Lake with a day spent on Lake Sakakawea. One thing is for sure, the fish are trending deeper on both waters. Starting with Sakakawea, the water levels continue to fall and the fish also continue to slip deeper. A majority of…

Kellen’s Call: NC ND Walleyes, Muskies Remain Aggressive

By Kellen Latendresse Over the past two weeks, I have had 17 trips in 15 days throughout north central North Dakota then took a break to head to Canada with my son and dad to chase my favorite species, muskies, on my favorite water, Lake of the Woods. First things first, the excellent walleye bite…

Prairie History Provides Modern Habitat Tools

By Austin Lang Whether fin, feather, or fur, habitat is a key aspect in having healthy sustainable wildlife populations. Pheasants Forever is known as “The Habitat Organization.” With the moniker comes the recognition of how important habitat is for healthy wildlife populations. But buyer (or hunter) beware, not all habitat is created equal. Habitat is…

Sharptail Harvest Jumps Ahead of Possible Slump

By Nick Simonson Perhaps the most amazing number included in the North Dakota Game & Fish Department’s (NDG&F) recent release of upland tallies from the fall of 2020 was the jump of more than 52,000 estimated sharptailed grouse harvested over the previous season.  Coming on improved nesting and recruitment of broods into the population, last…

Our Outdoors: Mark Your Calendars

By Nick Simonson So many big dates are on the horizon this time of year as we make the turn from summer into fall.  The start of the school year, football kickoff, and of course, opening days across a wide variety of hunting seasons are among the big dates to consider.  There are so many…

Early Canada Goose Season Details

By Doug Leier August is no longer just about winding down the fishing season and planning and preparing for upcoming hunting seasons. While North Dakota has long had a crow season that got its start in mid-August, it wasn’t until changes several years ago put the early Canada goose opener into the middle of the…

Brad’s Bites: Dam It

By Brad Durick Flows on the Red River in Grand Forks as of this writing are at 204 cfs. I figure it’s a matter of days before they go below the lows observed 1988.  Despite the conditions catfish are biting if you are patient, while most of them are smaller with the occasional bigger fish…

Muskie Minute: Turn Back the Clock

By Andrew Slette This past week has been one of the best weeks of the season so far, with lots of active muskies moving to the inside weed edge. The fish have been active all day long. Detroit Lake has been one of the best local lakes producing quality fish. It has been giving everyone…

The Peluso Report: Sak & DL Dog Gone Good

By Mike Peluso One thing is for sure, we are spoiled here in North Dakota when it comes to walleye fishing and so far, the dog days of summer are pretty dog gone good! I’ll start with Lake Sakakawea since that is where I have been mostly. Lots and lots of fish are still being…

Prospects Promising for Early Canada Goose Hunts

By Nick Simonson In a summer which showcased brood survey numbers for ducks at their lowest point since 1994 and drought conditions which impacted breeding and recruitment, North Dakota’s population of Canada geese on the other hand, may provide the best waterfowling opportunity of the autumn.  With the season to hunt these birds opening on…

NW ND Deer, CWD Prevalence Stable

By Nick Simonson The northwestern quarter of North Dakota has sustained a good population of both whitetailed deer and mule deer into 2021 thanks to a mild winter.  But those warm and dry conditions that carried them through the region’s typically toughest months have also left conditions on the ground a bit ragged heading into…

Brad’s Bites: Fish the Narrows for Cats

By Brad Durick Flows on the Red River in Grand Forks are down more, even after the inch of rain a few days ago, and are currently sitting at 240 cfs. But if you’re patient, the catfish are biting.  Most of them are smaller with the occasional bigger fish mixed in. The key to catching…

2020 Upland Seasons Summarized

NDG&F Release North Dakota’s 2020 pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge harvests were up from 2019, according to statistics compiled by the state Game and Fish Departm Upland game biologist RJ Gross said the overall harvest was likely because of increased production of upland birds and favorable weather conditions for hunters. “The increases are largely…