The Woolly Worm

The woolly worm is a fly pattern steeped in the history of fly angling itself, and many branches and regions of that history claim it as their own.  From trout in Europe to bass in the American southeast to panfish in the upper Midwest, the pattern has many origin stories for its popularity and resurgence,…

Post-Frontal Pointers

By Nick Simonson Winter is already the slow time for fish.  Due to their cold-blooded nature, they’re generally less energetic and aggressive than they are in summer when water is warmer.  That doesn’t mean they’re not biting, and fast action can often be found during stable weather and at peak times, such as dawn and…

Collar Studies Provide Info on Mountain Lions

By Doug Leier Wildlife management and biology – science as a discipline – is a function of learning through time, research and analysis. Really not much different than life where we better understand, with a little more time and learning, the past to help plant the future.  Years back when discussions were being held on…

Tips for Bull Bluegills

By Nick Simonson With a bump and a full pull of my spring bobber signaling a none-too-subtle bite, I set the hook on a whirling fish that took my line around the ice hole in a 720-degree spin, clicking and pulling off the slightly uneven edge of the cylinder. With sunlight still filtering through the…

Our Outdoors: Takeaways from 2020

By Nick Simonson The ball had dropped, the calendar had turned.  2020 was officially in the rear-view mirror.  As I made my way through the field-side tree rows and up the winding draws, however, the year did not seem over until I returned to the truck on the final day of the upland hunting season….

A New Year of Angling

By Nick Simonson The main aspect which has always drawn me to fishing, no matter where I am, is the wide variety of species available to angle for.  From season to season, from week to week, and even hour to hour, we are blessed to reside in an area of the world where one can…

Our Outdoors: Go with the Flow

By Nick Simonson Here and there the frozen trickle of the creek bed shown through in the little draw. The last remnants of a dry summer and fall, it was fueled in places by tiny hillside seeps which were almost invisible, save for the change in density and variety of vegetation growing around them.  The…

Winter Tying Plans

By Nick Simonson The depths of winter and the long dark nights can often trigger a lot of indoor time.  Whether it’s a weekend outing cancelled by a blizzard, or just the hum-drum routine of not seeing the sun after five o’clock for a few weeks, time spent inside is a frequent occurrence in the…

Our Outdoors: Let There Be Light

By Nick Simonson The season of light is upon us, and along with countless homes twinkling in holiday colors as the sun goes down each night, so too does another area of darkness light up – the newly frozen water. Like so many other outdoor activities, ice fishing offers up some incredible opportunities at dawn…

Ice Fishing Q&A with Greg Power

By Doug Leier Here’s some ice fishing insight for North Dakota this winter from Greg Power, fisheries division chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Q: In terms of fishing activity, how much participation in overall effort is winter ice fishing? Power: It can be substantial. In an open winter, at least in…

10 Reasons to Take Up Hunting

By John Bradley From an early age, my family could tell I would be a hunter. When I learned to read, I poured over my grandpa’s old Fur Fish and Game magazines. When I was able to tag along with my dad and relatives, I was hooked for life. Your spouse, a friend, family member…

Our Outdoors: By Comparison

By Nick Simonson It isn’t fair to compare hunting dogs, not among friends or fellow hunters, or even among the different ones owned throughout a person’s lifetime. It isn’t fair, but we do it anyway.   I was spoiled with my first lab, Gunnar, who lived for 15 and a half years and hunted for 13…

An Interview with New Enforcement Chief, Scott Winkelman

By Doug Leier Robert Timian, enforcement division chief, retired after 35 years with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. October 1, Scott Winkelman assumed his new role as head of enforcement. Winkelmann’s career began as a conservation officer in South Dakota in 2002. He then moved to North Dakota in 2003 and was the…

The Ten Greatest Ice Fishing Innovations: Part 2

By Nick Simonson In the first installment of this two-part series celebrating the start of the ice season, it was pointed out that the last half century has been an amazing ice age for hardwater anglers.  From tackle to tech and the advanced tactics both allow for on the ice, these options have opened a…

Dakota Uplander: Removing Roosters Won’t Hinder Rebound

By Nick Simonson It might seem like pheasant numbers are down in certain areas as the season approaches its end, and people may be inclined to assume that by not hunting roosters in these final weeks that they are helping preserve populations for next season.  That’s likely not the case, however, and to the contrary,…

Our Outdoors: Late Season Pheasant Haunts

By Nick Simonson While much of pheasant country remains free and clear of snow cover at the moment, it’s likely that at some point in the back stretch of the season we’ll be looking at a white Christmas and a frosty finish to the upland hunting calendar.  Even when there isn’t snow on the ground,…

The Ten Greatest Ice Fishing Innovations: Part 1

By Nick Simonson In the blink of an eye which has been human existence, we’ve gone from living in caves to designing skyscrapers that touch the heavens.  Where travel by horse and carriage brought messages from east to west over a period of weeks, electronic impulses now carry them in seconds.  In the fraction of…

Devils Lake Ice Fishing Preview

By Nick Simonson Even as one of the last waters in the state to totally freeze up, Devils Lake remains one of the first places people think of when it comes to ice fishing in North Dakota.  With abundant walleye, perch and pike populations, even in off years, mni wakan or “spirit water” as it…

Our Outdoors: Doe Fever

By Nick Simonson The first morning of muzzleloader season arrived clear, cold, and calm.  With just the faintest bit of dawn edging over the eastern hills, I ventured down to the southernmost stretch of a favorite piece of public access land and followed the flags along the hillside break to the final mark on my…

Be Ice Safety Aware All Winter

By Doug Leier It’s not written in any expert ice safety advice column, but I’ll always remind hard-water anglers how valuable experience can be. If you’ve never tried ice fishing before this pandemic impacted year, with all the cancellations of activities and events, now might be the time to pick up a new hobby or…

NDWF Receives MTN DEW Grant

NDWF Release Bismarck, ND – MTN DEW is awarding the North Dakota Wildlife Federation (NDWF) a $5,000 grant in support of the organization’s ongoing commitment to R3 (Recruitment, Retention, Reactivation of hunters and anglers). NDWF is one of twenty nonprofits in the country to receive a grant through MTN DEW Outdoor Grants program. To receive…

Our Outdoors: Call it Memorable

By Nick Simonson There was nothing subtle about the way the buck came into the cut bean field where the growing herd of does and fawns were working diligently, heads down, to scrape up the remnants of a harvest from two months ago.  He charged the nearest one like the intoxicated BMOC hitting on a…

Bismarck State Wins National Trap Title in First Season

By Nick Simonson In post-to-post fashion, the Bismarck State College Clay Target League (BSC CTL) team took the USA College Clay Target League’s (USA CCTL) Conference 1A-1 Fall National Trap Title with dominant shooting performances from its team members competing in just their first season for the Mystics. “I am tickled to death with the…

Our Outdoors: What I’d Hoped For

By Nick Simonson I can still hear the whisper from my left and sense Gene leaning in as the deer emerged in the first tree line below our position on the top of the hillside along the Sheyenne River valley one temperate November evening in 2007.  It’s a moment I relive each time I’m in…

Advancements in Walleye Stocking

By Doug Leier I’ll interrupt the usual “migration” of hunting information this time of year with an interesting update on the future of fishing in North Dakota where fisheries biologists continue to mix the standard tried and true fish stocking with innovation and experimentation.    North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have for years stocked millions…

Ice Fishing Preview: Southeast Lakes Benefit from High Waters

By Nick Simonson In the fall of 2019, the southeast corner of North Dakota received significant rain which not only complicated the hunting efforts of many in the region, but also filled up sloughs, lakes and wetlands to the highest point seen in recent years.  This occurrence resulted in the creation of unstable ice which…

Leaving Lead Behind

By John Bradley Hunters and anglers are the primary funders of wildlife conservation through license fees and excise taxes on equipment like fishing tackle, guns, and ammunition.  These taxes, resulting from the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts, were advocated by hunters and anglers to restore game and fish properties across the country.  Take a moment to…

Our Outdoors: The Weight and the Wait

By Nick Simonson With the anchor-like weight of a deer tag becoming more and more tangible in the right leg pocket of my camouflage hunting pants and that heft spurring much of my recent outdoor activity, I catch myself thinking ahead, beyond the quiet morning sits and windy sneaks through the countryside as I wait…

Care & Cooking of Wild Game

By Doug Leier I grew up in an era when wild game cooking involved a can of cream of mushroom soup and a roaster. The wild game – grouse, duck, partridge or a rare pheasant – was simmering beneath the greyish gravy base. It was the way Mom did it, the way Grandma did it…

Talking Tails

By Nick Simonson When it comes to trophies following a successful hunt, most people’s minds turn to the antlers on the buck they just shot, or the tenderloins in the doe they just tagged; but there’s one part of a whitetail deer that stands out to those hunters who also create their own lures in…