30 to 50 ND Lakes Provide Trophy Perch Ice Opportunities

By Nick Simonson They’re out there under the ice, scattered throughout North Dakota’s slough country; jumbo perch that just a couple of decades ago were limited to major reservoirs in the Peace Garden State along with the noted population in Devils Lake.  With the onset of the wet cycle experienced in the upper plains since…

Access a Need for R3 to Succeed

By John Bradley My uncle and I go pheasant hunting a couple times each year.  We usually hunt over our labs in Montana and during the holidays in Minnesota.  He has a couple catch phrases that will undoubtedly be said during each hunt.  The first is said upon seeing other hunters out in the field…

Our Outdoors: A Flurry

By Nick Simonson You don’t hear much in the way of hymns from a congregation of alligators, which is the name for the reptiles when they’re found in a group.  Likely, you don’t turn to a shrewdness of apes for advice as they’d most likely be chasing you off, especially if they are of the…

Habitat Trumps Feeding for Winter Wildlife Survival

By Doug Leier Thankfully, winter didn’t really start until December. Living in North Dakota we’ve felt winter begin in October some years and drag into what should be spring.  The later winter begins and the earlier it exits is mostly better for resident wildlife.  So far, this version of North Dakota winter has been benign…

The Peluso Report: Staying on Track on DL

By Mike Peluso A few words come to mind this past week up here on Devils Lake: snow, wind, cold, warm and Covid. Yes, I said the bad word – Covid – and while it has not hit me, we have had a few groups cancel on us here as of late due to Covid….

ND Houndsmen Highlight Evolving Hunting Niche

By Nick Simonson The traditional image of a hunting dog on the prairies of the upper Midwest may suggest the statuesque shorthair holding point over a covey of grouse, or the staunch vigilance of a chocolate lab watching the skies from the cover of a duck blind. A growing number of hunters, however, are taking…

Our Outdoors: Bringing Balance

By Nick Simonson In college, at the local grocery store was one of those old-timey scales from the 1930s or 40s with a large dial at the top displaying weights from 0 to 300 pounds.  Each time I’d step on it, I’d watch the needle zip up to the high 200s, then back down to…

ND Ice Fishing Hits High Point

By Doug Leier The current status of winter fishing is better appreciated and understood with a look back at where we were when the ice retreated last spring. “At that time, we had roughly 430 lakes in North Dakota and as we go into the new ice fishing season, we still have about 430 lakes,…

The Peluso Report: Helping Hands

By Mike Peluso It certainly amazes me how fast word travels these days when it comes to catching fish. Modern technology, without question, is a huge factor in this. Text messages, Snapchat, instant messaging, pin drops, etc., all factor into word of a bite and spots being discovered extremely fast. We have found this to…

Tying the Crappie Crush

By Nick Simonson Crappies are baitfish feeders, and where “half-inch brown and buggy” is the rule of thumb for general trout flies, that guide can be adjusted for spring and summer slabs to “inch long, flashy and fishy” for successful patterns.  Thus, tying up a variety of streamers that somewhat match that rule for the…

Late Hatch Likely Bettered 2021 Upland Hunts

By Nick Simonson This autumn, upland hunters found good success where habitat remained intact because it congregated birds in those locations.  In places throughout the state which received little rain and stands of grass grew shorter and sparser than normal, upland birds such as pheasants and sharptailed grouse were harder to come by.  Add in…

Our Outdoors: Trail’s End

By Nick Simonson The whir of wings on the far side of the stand of pines caught my attention as my hardworking lab sniffed out the row’s only resident.  From the sound and the urgency, I guessed it was a pheasant as we had put three hens up on the walk down the valley, before…

Meadowlark Initiative to Head Off Prairie Emergency

By Doug Leier  The North Dakota state bird is the Western meadowlark, a familiar, yet declining, songbird who’s melody booms across the prairie with its rich, flute-like call and equally glowing yellow feathers.  Founders of the Meadowlark Initiative, a new statewide strategy that will team landowners, conservation groups, scientists and others to enhance, restore and…

2022 May Bring Big Changes for ND Deer Hunters

By Nick Simonson With the completion of the archery deer hunting season coinciding with the end of the calendar year, avid hunters have hung up their bows and stashed their camo in scent-proof containers. Whether successful or not behind the scope or the peep sight this autumn, they have already begun planning for next year’s…

The Year Ahead

By Nick Simonson The new year brings with it countless resolutions by those looking to improve their lives through the achievement of mindfulness, the loss of a few pounds, or to educate themselves in some new area.  The same can be said for those in the outdoors.  Whether it’s fishing or hunting or a skill…

The Peluso Report: Ice Fishing Good Despite Conditions

By Mike Peluso Well between fixing starters, putting tracks on, having to get a skid shack, thawing frozen pipes, fixing zippers on shacks and so on, we have actually been fishing during this massive deep freeze on Devils Lake, and surprisingly some days have been pretty good! The first thing we are finding is some…

Our Outdoors: All Smiles

By Nick Simonson I’m a Christmas carol guy through and through, which generally makes coming out of the holidays a little hard on my psyche. The satellite radio stations that I’ve been listening to since the day after Halloween are all returning to their regularly scheduled programming for the next ten months, and the last…

Salmon, Mule Deer Projects Make for Busy Fall

By Doug Leier Most people think of fish and wildlife surveys in terms of test-netting to determine stocking success or pheasant rooster crowing counts as an indication for prehunt bird populations, but this fall a couple of important Game and Fish Department survey results were assessed. With so many different species and populations, space doesn’t…

The Peluso Report: Hardwater Hunting

By Mike Peluso Ice fishing remains pretty good all over the state of North Dakota. Many of the northern and eastern sloughs continue to produce. Some of these bodies of water are well known, while others are not. In order to keep all my friends, I will not name the ones I know or have…

2021: The Outdoors Year in Review

By Nick Simonson Each year brings with it a number of stories that capture the excitement of hunters and anglers, detail challenges for those hitting the water and the field, and ultimately lift our spirits that opportunities will continue to be available for future generations, despite the demands on our landscape, a shifting populace and…

CWD a Threat to Tradition

By John Bradley It starts with countless hours of scouting, days sitting in the stand or miles of boot leather burned. It is late nights and cold early mornings with family and friends.  It is moments when, if everything goes to plan, a shot rings out and the deer dies quickly. And it then is…

Our Outdoors: Grab & Go

By Nick Simonson If you’ve ever watched the top of a tip-up spin after a pike has taken the offering below, be it frozen smelt, herring or perhaps even a hot dog, you often wonder when the metal circular blur is going to stop. Sometimes the process takes well over thirty seconds before the whirring…

Register Youth Now for Fast-Filling Hunter Ed Courses

By Doug Leier Every year, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department certifies between 4,500 and 5,500 hunter education students. This is the time of year when many of those students begin looking for classes so they can legally hunt when their chosen season comes around. It’s particularly important for youngsters who will turn 12…

The Peluso Report: Cautiously Getting Out There

By Mike Peluso The cold snap has finally hit the north portion of North Dakota and it has allowed us to finally start venturing around. While it’s still not safe thickness for truck traffic yet, ATVs are starting to get around many of the lakes in the upper half of the state. I still tell…

Bringing the Grassroots Effort Together

By Renee Tomala Unbeknownst to many, Pheasants Forever (PF) operates under a unique local model that allows for an even bigger impact to be made for our wildlife and lands. That model puts our grassroots efforts on a pedestal, and by “grassroots” I am referring to our local chapters in small and large towns alike…

The Christmas Carey

By Nick Simonson Strings of streetlights, even stoplights, blink a bright red and green, as the shoppers rush home with their treasures.  – Silver Bells It’s tough to deny the holiday spirit this time of year, and when preparing gifts for friends and family at the fly tying vise ahead of Santa’s big scene, those…

Our Outdoors: In the Thick of It

By Nick Simonson Give me an expanse of cattails in December with a little snow on the ground and a lot of pheasants scattered throughout it, and that’s about the best gift the outdoors can provide.  Even in those years where I did not yet have a dog, I can recall serving as my own…

Bighorn Sheep a ND Success Story

By Doug Leier North Dakota’s fish and wildlife diversity is impressive. From paddlefish and pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River to trophy catfish and lake sturgeon in the Red River. We’re home to mountain lions, moose and elk. Otters, fishers, bobcats and pine martens. While few outside of the state would recognize the variety, North…

The Peluso Report: Ice Thickening on Devils Lake

By Mike Peluso Ice Ice Baby was the famous song by Vanilla Ice. As the lyrics go here, we are making ice in the northern tier of the state. I would say we are a bit behind on the ice development, but in areas it’s happening. I spent much of the latter portion of last…

A Panfish Ice Primer

By Nick Simonson Bluegills, perch and crappies can provide fast action on ice, but like any species this terrific trio can also provide a challenge, as there’s nothing more frustrating on hardwater than watching a red line rise quickly on a sonar only to fade away without offering a bite.  What follows is a quick…