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NEAR SAWYER, Minn. — Just minutes into this particular fishing excursion, Bret Baker started the verbal barbs with a backhanded comment about his son Joseph's first largemouth bass of the day. "Cute one, Joseph,'' Bret said. It didn't take long in the Bakers' 20-foot Lund Alaskan to realize that "cute" meant "small." "Bigger than yours," Joseph, 15, fired back instantly, referring to the fact that his dad still hadn't landed a fish.
ON LAC LA CROIX, Ont. — For Jim Glowacki of Britt, Minn., this was his second trip to the big border lake here in two years, after last year's trek when he bumped his outboard on an infamous rock in the Loon River. For Mike Appelwick of Biwabik, Minn., it was his first time back to Lac La Croix in more than 20 years. But it was Appelwick who remembered precisely where the "56 Rock" on the Loon River was and how to avoid it in the fast-flowing current.
DULUTH—President Donald Trump will meet with local mining industry representatives and elected leaders during a formal "roundtable" discussion before his campaign event Wednesday, June 20, in Duluth, White House officials announced Monday, June 18. Trump will arrive in Duluth about two hours before the 6:30 p.m. campaign rally at Amsoil Arena.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday, June 14, confirmed that it will try, once again, to develop a proposal to remove wolves from Endangered Species Act protections across the Great Lakes region and in other parts of the Lower 48 states. The agency has tried multiple times — through the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations — to delist wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, saying the big predators have fully recovered here after brushing with extinction in the 1960s and '70s.
LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH — Forgive Gerry Albert if he gets a little excited when he catches walleyes here. "Here's another one!'' Albert shouted as he set the hook on a walleye, working to keep a tight line and run his outboard in whitecaps. "Ohhh, and I think it's a keeper!" Big Winnie is Albert's lake, so to speak. He's the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' large lakes fisheries specialist for the huge reservoir — 67,000 acres, 88 square miles — northwest of Deer River.
COTTON, Minn. — Bob Reed has a little breathing problem that requires oxygen, had a heart stent put in last winter and can't walk very far because of arthritis. But get him on his Polaris four-wheeler ATV and Reed looks like a 15-year-old kid ready to cut loose. You can find Reed every Tuesday morning from late April through October riding ATV trails across the region with a dozen or more of his closest Cotton friends. They don't have a name for their group, but others have come up with something that seems appropriate.
WASHINGTON—A proposed amendment to a U.S. Senate bill funding military spending would bypass ongoing court cases and approve the land swap proposed between PolyMet Mining Co. and the U.S. Forest Service. Senate Amendment 2523 to the National Defense Authorization Act, apparently proposed by Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., would mandate the Forest Service move ahead with the trade of 6,650 acres of Superior National Forest land at the spot where PolyMet wants to dig Minnesota's first ever copper-nickel mine.
JAY COOKE STATE PARK — As his stubby, plastic kayak dipped under the wave of a rapids, between two boulders and then out of sight, Jon Schmidt let out a primal scream audible even over the roar of the river. There was nothing wrong, mind you, just a sign from Schmidt that he was shredding it. Schmidt, of Proctor, Minn., is a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie. In winter, he gets his kicks snowboarding. But when the snow melts and fills Northland rivers with water, Schmidt grabs his kayak and hits the rapids.
DULUTH — When Troy Skorich of Hermantown, Minn., and Tim MacDougall of Duluth won last weekend's 2018 Berg Construction Walleye Cup on the St. Louis River, they pulled up to the dock with no fish to weigh. In fact, none of the 60 tournament boats kept any fish to weigh. Instead, the winners of the tournament were determined not by weight of the fish measured at the dock, but on length, as measured by each two-person team in their own boat. The team with most total inches of fish — up to eight fish could be entered — were the winners.
DULUTH — John Hanna started messing with 12-volt electronics when he was in high school, installing stereo equipment in his car. Pretty soon, his friends were asking them to rig their rides as well. "Eventually I started on my boat ... And then I had friends wanting me to do their boats. It was sort of a hobby that's expanded,'' Hanna said. That hobby grew into Psycho Billy Marine Service — we'll explain the name later — a part-time job for Hanna, a Duluth resident and supervising carpenter for Johnson Wilson Constructors during the day.