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Kalli Hawkins

WTIP Outdoor News Podcast

WTIP shares a variety of outdoor news content from the region, including Lake Superior, Isle Royale and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. From fishing and hunting to environmental issues, this locally-produced podcast covers important outdoor news relevant to the radio station’s broad community of listeners.

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March 17, 2023
Turkey Reintroduction in Minnesota & The Upcoming Spring Hunting Season

Following habitat loss and over harvesting of wild turkeys in the late 1800s and early 1900s, wild turkeys ceased to exist in Minnesota.

In the early 1970s, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) along with the National Wildlife Turkey Federation partnered to reintroduce the large bird species on the landscape.

Between 1971 and 1973, 29 adult wild turkeys were trapped in Missouri and transplanted to southeastern Minnesota. Fifty years later, the population has grown to more than 70,000 wild turkeys.

The success of the reintroduction efforts in the 1970s has allowed a turkey hunting season in all 87 counties in Minnesota.

In this week’s episode of the Outdoor News Podcast, host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Blaine Klemek, the regional wildlife manager with the Minnesota DNR in the Northwest region about the history of turkeys in Minnesota, the success of the reintroduction efforts, and shares turkey hunting stories. The spring turkey hunting season in Minnesota starts on April 12.

March 10, 2023
Converting Wildfire Fuel Into Biochar In Superior National Forest

Wildfires are a real and present threat nationally, but also in Minnesota’s northern dense landscape, like the Superior National Forest. There is one tree species in the forest that particularly adds to the problem – balsam fir. The young fir trees are considered ‘ladder fuel’ by the U.S. Forest Service due to the dense understory & the vulnerability to spruce budworm.

The Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota –Duluth recently partnered with the U.S Forest Service to conduct a demonstration project or concept to help mitigate wildfires in the Superior National Forest by transforming cut balsam firs into a biocarbon material called biochar.

In addition to reducing wildfire fuel in the Superior National Forest, carbon offset credits are generated when the downed balsam fir is converted into the engineered biocarbon product – biochar.

In this week’s episode podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Brian Barry the chemist and project lead for the research & demonstration project at the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. She also speaks with Patrick Johnson, the east zone fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

March 3, 2023
Lynx Protection And Trapping In Minnesota

Trappers across the Boundary Waters and Cook County will no longer be allowed to use certain types of snares following a federal ruling that directs the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to increase trapping restrictions in this part of the state.

The changes are focused specifically on protecting Canada lynx, according to the conditions of a settlement between the Center for Biological Diversity and the DNR. The setting was completed Feb. 21 in a ruling from a federal judge.

The news is tied directly to a lawsuit that sought to protect lynx, a beloved and rare animal of Minnesota’s North Woods. Population estimates vary, but most wildlife officials claim there are no more than 200 of the cats living in Minnesota. Lynx are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. Trapping or hunting lynx is not allowed in Minnesota. However, occasionally lynx end up in traps and snares set for other animals. Trappers are allowed to target bobcats, fishers, pine martens, and other fur-bearing animals across areas that include Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The new trapping regulations ban strangulation snares and certain leg-hold traps that are known to harm lynx. Even before the new restrictions take place, such incidents were rare. The DNR says that fewer than ten of the majestic cats have been accidently trapped in Minnesota during the past 15 years.

The changes to the trapping regulations was opposed by the Minnesota Trappers Association. Cook County trapper Jimmy Wallner said the restrictions will make an impact on how local trappers are able to operate.

“In my professional opinion, this nearly eliminates snaring in the Lynx zone,” Wallner told WTIP.

Furthermore, Wallner said vehicles, trains, and even bobcats pose greater threats to Canada lynx in Minnesota than the trapping industry does.

And while the new restrictions may protect lynx in the forests of northeastern Minnesota, those cats that wander across the border into Canada have minimal protection. Trapping lynx in Canada, including along the border lakes shared with Minnesota, is legal.
“Lynx can be trapped in northwestern Ontario by trappers who have lynx quotas,” said Lauren Tonelli, the general manager Ontario Fur Managers Federation. “Lynx are not a threatened or endangered species in Ontario.”

In this week’s episode of the Outdoor News Podcast, we’ll hear more details on this story, including an interview with Collette Adkins, the carnivore conservation director and senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.

February 24, 2023
DNR Conservation Officers Win Award For Helping Person In BWCA

Two Minnesota DNR conservation officers were recognized this month for helping to save a man’s life in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness last March.

Conservation Officers Anthony Bermel and Mitch Lawler were off-duty in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely when they helped evacuate someone who was having an apparent heart attack.

Officer Anthony Bermel works as a CO for the DNR near the Iron Range town of Babbitt. He covers the Ely and Babbitt areas, including patrols inside the BWCA. He was ice fishing in the BWCA last March when he and Lawler received a report that another angler on the lake they were at was suffering a heart attack.

After talking with the other angler, they assisted search and rescue and medical responders to help get to the man out of the wilderness. He was eventually taken by air lift to a regional hospital.

Their actions helped the man get lifesaving treatment much faster, the DNR reports. They were presented an award in early February by the DNR for their efforts. Bermel and Lawler received their awards from Capt. Rodmen Smith, head of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division.

Listen to this week’s episode to hear the full story from Bermel as he recounts the experience.

In more outdoor news, it’s the time of year when anglers and hunters need to buy new fishing and hunting licenses. Minnesota fishing, hunting and trapping licenses for 2022 expire Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Licenses for 2023 are now available wherever fishing and hunting licenses are sold, online at the DNR’s website. They are also available at many gas stations and some outfitters in Cook County.

Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.

All 2023 fishing licenses become effective Wednesday, March 1. New licenses are required for 2023 hunting and fishing seasons that continue past Feb. 28.

The stream trout and lake trout season in Cook County and across the Boundary Waters goes until March 31.

The open water fishing season starts this year on Saturday, May 13.

February 17, 2023
Fish Consumption From Lakes Near Lake Superior And BWCA

Many WTIP listeners were alarmed when a recent study found that wild caught, freshwater fish in the United States are far more contaminated with the toxic chemicals than commercially caught fish in oceans. The reports said the highest levels of the toxic chemicals known as PFAS were being found in fish from the Great Lakes.

However, did the study apply to Lake Superior and Minnesota’s North Shore? Did it apply to lakes in the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness?

To learn more, WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Cory Goldsworthy, the Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, about ongoing research state agencies are currently doing to learn more about levels of PFAS in Lake Superior fish. The Outdoor News Podcast team also spoke with Summer Streets, a research biologist for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to get the details.

Spoiler alert: It’s okay to eat fish from the BWCA and Lake Superior. Listen to this week’s episode to get the details.

February 10, 2023
Minnesota DNR Officials Share Their Favorite Winter Fish Recipes

In the late 1980s, Minnesota conservation officers, formerly widely known as game wardens, came together to share their favorite tried and true fish, wild game, soup, bread, and other unique recipes. The recipes were compiled into the Minnesota Game Wardens’ Cookbook, published in 1989.

In this week’s episode, Outdoor News Podcast hosts Kalli Hawkins & Joe Friedrichs recreate the 1980s cookbook by talking with three Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials along the North Shore of Lake Superior to share their favorite methods for preparing and cooking fish.

Hawkins and Friedrichs also head out in the field with fishing poles, canned pickled pike, and an avocado in hand to share a favorite prepared meal.

February 3, 2023
Recap Of 2023 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Though the last musher crossed the finish less than 24 hours earlier in the 2023 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, race officials were already talking about next year.

“We’re already in planning mode for 2024,” said Vice President Brittany North.

The reason the Beargrease team is already looking ahead to next year, in addition to a general enthusiasm for mushing, is because next year will be the 40th anniversary of the race. North said the race will be largely the same, but there will be a “festival” vibe included in the 2024 race.

Meanwhile, this week, Keith Aili’s team of sled dogs were the first to cross the finish line outside the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino near Lake Superior.

The 39th annual event started Sunday morning near Duluth. Temperatures were consistently below-zero for most of the race, including -21 Fahrenheit temps Monday morning at the Trailcenter checkpoint on Poplar Lake along the Gunflint Trail.

Earlier in the week, Grand Marais musher Joanna Oberg won the mid-distance Beargrease 120.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with North about the 2023 race one day after it ended. Also featured in this episode, WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins shares her experience volunteering during the 2023 Beargrease. As she was in 2022, Hawkins was stationed at the Trailcenter checkpoint near the Gunflint Trail during this year’s race.

January 27, 2023
Connecticut Warbler & Other Songbird Populations On The Decline In Superior National Forest

For nearly 30 years, researchers at the Natural Resources Research Institute have been conducting annual surveys of songbirds in the Superior National Forest and Chippewa National Forest in northeastern Minnesota.

The Minnesota National Forest Breeding Bird Monitoring Program started in 1995. The data collected provides insight into the impacts of management policies and conservation initiatives. In recent years, researchers have discovered the decline of particular species, such as the Connecticut Warbler and the Canada Jay or also known as Whiskey Jack in both National Forests.

In this episode Outdoor News Podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Steve Kolbe, an avian ecologist with the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota – Duluth about the songbird population trends in the 2022 bird monitoring program annual report.

Find the annual report below:

January 20, 2023
Grand Portage Hosts Upcoming North American Moose Conference

The 55th North American Moose Conference is coming to the North Shore of Minnesota. Researchers, biologists, and professionals will gather in Grand Portage this upcoming May for the annual event.

The formal conference and workshop events will take place May 22-26. The conference will include a day and a half of technical presentations, a half-day workshop, and a full-day field trip to Isle Royale National Park.

In this episode, WTIP’s Outdoor News Podcast host Joe Friedrichs speaks with Seth Moore the director of biology and environment with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa about the upcoming May conference. In addition, Moore shares insights into current moose and wolf collaring research in Grand Portage.

January 13, 2023
Winter Storm Aftermath Along The North Shore

Severe winter weather during the recent holiday season, including wind gusts clocked at more than 70 miles per hour in Cook County near Lake Superior, led to many trees snapping or uprooting along the North Shore of Minnesota.

Among the areas devastated by the storm is a stand of red pine along the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) near the Devil Track River, about 5 miles east of Grand Marais. The stand of trees is located near the Woods Creek Trailhead on the SHT.

In addition to sustained 70 mph winds, December produced record-breaking accumulated snowfall and precipitation data in Cook County, and many places along the North Shore.

In this episode, podcast hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins speak with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Weather Service to learn more about the aftermath of the winter storms.

January 6, 2023
Retirement And New Conservation Officer In Cook County

The Gunflint Mail Run sled dog race is the hot event this weekend on the Gunflint Trail. Among the mushers competing in the field this year is Mary Manning.

A Cook County resident, Manning has been mushing for about 25 years.

In addition to mushing, Mary uses her dogs for work as a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer patrolling the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, including many of the remote lakes along the Gunflint Trail.

The 55-year-old Manning joined the DNR conversation force in 2005. She has worked locally in Cook County throughout her entire career. And as of the first week in January, Manning can refer to her tenure with the DNR in the past tense. Just ahead of the Mail Run, Manning retired from the state agency.

The new conservation officer taking over for Manning is Hudson Ledeen. A fall 2022 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Academy, Hudson will assume all the duties Manning had with the DNR.

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Ledeen for this week’s episode.

Also featured is Kalli and Joe Friedrichs ice fishing in the BWCA during the first few days of the lake trout opener.

Note: Lake trout were found in the making of this episode.

December 30, 2022
Fisher Population Continues To Decline Across Superior National Forest

From the “Inland Empire” near the shores of Deer Yard Lake to the end of the Gunflint Trail, fishers area beloved animal of the North Woods.

Fisher populations in northern Minnesota have dropped to about 7,000 from a high of 16,000 in the year 2000.

The decline of the population led to a recent study to evaluate whether den boxes could be a valuable management tool to improve fisher habitat and balance wildlife needs with the forest industry. It is part of a larger effort to understand what factors have caused the recent fisher population decline and provide management solutions to boost fishers in Minnesota, according to Michael Joyce, a wildlife biologist at the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth.

WTIP’s Outdoor News Podcast host Joe Friedrichs spoke with Joyce about the research and the fisher population in Minnesota.

December 23, 2022
Minnesota researchers aim to reduce deer-vehicle collisions along Highway 61, other roadways

Deer bounding across Highway 61 are an often unwelcome sight for motorists along the North Shore. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports around 2,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur each year across the state. State officials, however, think that number is much larger, possibly in the tens of thousands.

According to Natural Resources Research Institute Wildlife Biologist Ron Moen, the number of deer-vehicle collisions is much higher because insurance companies only get notified when the damage is severe enough to warrant expensive auto repairs.

With funding from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Moen is taking part in a pilot study to better understand where deer-vehicle collisions happen, document their frequency and develop recommendations to reduce these incidents.

WTIP’s Outdoor News Podcast hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs share insights on deer collision management in southern Minnesota. In addition Joe Friedrichs talks with Natural Resources Research Institute Wildlife Biologist Ron Moen about the research.

December 16, 2022
Minnesota DNR Hires New Fisheries Manager

Leslie George has been named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s northeastern region fisheries manager. George started her career with DNR in 2004. Since then, she’s worked in field offices in Windom and Glenwood for the DNR. She’s been a fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota agency since 2015, most recently at its office in Hinckley.

George replaces the recently retired Chris Kavanaugh as the DNR’s regional fisheries supervisor based in Grand Rapids.

The northeastern region George will manage is a massive area across Minnesota. It stretches from Gull Lake near Brainerd to Lake Superior, including all of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Collaboration with tribal nations, the U.S. Forest Service, international natural resource agencies specific to Lake Superior, and local jurisdictions like the Cook County Board of Commissioners will be among the many agencies and partners George will need to become acquainted with when she takes over the position in mid-December.

Fisheries management plans dealing with everything from walleye quotas to invasive species will be among the many tasks on George’s desk in 2023.

In this episode of the podcast, we hear from George about her new role with the DNR.

December 9, 2022
Expansion Of Rural Services In Cook County

After 66 years, Sawbill Canoe Outfitters connects to the grid. The project was made possible by a federal grant from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The 3rd generation business owners, Clare and Dan Shirley share what it means to their family and business to now have electric and fiber services after six decades. In addition, podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with John Twiest, CEO/General Manager at Arrowhead Cooperative about the specifics of the project.

Hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins talk about the expansion of rural services in Cook County as it relates to the nationwide trend of individuals moving to rural parts of the country.

December 2, 2022
First Ice Fishing Reports and Northern Long Eared Bat Endangered

Ice fishing is here!

The first ice fishing reports across the WTIP listening area are shared in this episode of the Outdoor News Podcast. Hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins were both fishing in late November and early December. Pike were found, as were walleye.

Also in the episode, we learn more about the move by the federal government this week to classify the Northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.

November 25, 2022
Ski Photographer Stays Connected to the North Shore

Emily Tidwell is a professional ski photographer who grew up in Cook County, but now works primarily in the Mountain West.

Tidwell says she learned to ski in Minnesota and remains very connected to the North Shore, Lutsen Mountains and the local community.

“I’ve been so lucky to have seen so many beautiful other places, both in the United States and around the world,” Tidwell said. “I think what draws me back to Cook County every time is the sense of community, and how unique the environment on the North Shore is.”

In this episode, host Joe Friedrichs shares Tidwell’s journey from Cook County to the mountains of the American West.

Also in the episode, host Kalli Hawkins shares a recap of the 2022 firearms deer season along the North Shore.

November 21, 2022
Wild Game And Fish – Celebration Of The Harvest

The time of the great harvest is here, as is abundant snowfall on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

Many households are getting ready to prepare a turkey on Thanksgiving. Prior to that, WTIP Outdoor News Podcast Hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins are thinking about what to do with things like brook trout, venison, and fall vegetables.

In this episode of the podcast, they talk with Cook County resident Collette Mueller about pickling northern pike, and with Kraig Kiger from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about canning venison.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Collette Mueller about pickling northern pike.

Click here to listen to the full interview with Kraig Kiger about canning venison.

November 11, 2022
Forest Service Payments For Land In The BWCA

In 1948, United States lawmakers passed the Thye-Blatnik Act to buy resorts and private lands in what would eventually be named the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The bill also provides payments in-lieu-of-taxes (PILT) to Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties for federal wilderness land to make up for lost private property taxes. A valuation process is completed every 10 years to determine how much each county receives through this piece of legislation.

St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties found out in May the valuation of federal lands inside the BWCA. The findings were not what the counties were hoping for.

Cook County officials were informed May 12 by representatives from the U.S. Forest Service that the county will receive less than the previous amount of approximately $2 million from the federal government in the form of payment in lieu of taxes for land inside the BWCA, according to county officials.

The annual payments to the county from the federal government for BWCA lands will be approximately $1.35 million for the next decade.

A series of appeals, the most recent being submitted Friday, Nov. 11, continue to keep the issue on the table of county government and Forest Service officials. WTIP Outdoor News Podcast Host Joe Friedrichs spoke with Superior National Forest Supervisor Tom Hall and Cook County Assessor Bob Thompson to learn more on this topic.

Pictured in the photo are Tom Hall and Tofte District Ranger Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak.

November 4, 2022
Deer Season Opener & Habitat Projects In Northeast Minnesota

Hunters will take to the woods this Saturday, Nov. 5 for the traditional and highly anticipated deer season opener. While portions of the state are experiencing increased deer populations, the northeast region population is of concern for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials. In this episode, podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Dr. Lindsey Shartell, acting northeast regional wildlife manager with the Minnesota DNR to learn more about current habitat projects to help stabilize and boost white-tail deer populations.

One project in particular, near the Elephant Lake area is a collaborative effort with the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. Kalli also speaks with the Denis Quarberg president of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association to discuss the success of the Hides for Habitat program and challenges the association is experiencing in local participation.

October 28, 2022
Talon Metals – Copper Nickel Mining and Election Day

Election Day is less than two weeks away. An issue that remains important for many voters in northeastern Minnesota is copper-nickel mining. WDIO TV in Duluth recently hosted a candidate forum with Rep. Pete Stauber and DFL candidate Jen Schultz in the race to represent Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. The topic of copper-nickel mining was discussed during the forum, as heard in a segment of this week’s episode.

Developers of a proposed nickel mine in northern Minnesota plan to move construction of its processing plant to North Dakota because of environmental concerns.

Talon Metals has been under pressure from environmental groups and the tribal bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa about a plan to build the processing plant in Tamarack, about 50 miles west of Duluth.

Todd Malan, a Talon executive, told WTIP that relocating the battery-minerals processing plant to North Dakota “would mean that we would only need to permit the mine and rail loading facility” in Minnesota.

“We will need to obtain both North Dakota permits and conduct a federal NEPA review for the facility in North Dakota,” he said.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden recently invoked the Defense Production Act in order to increase the mining of critical minerals that can be used to power electric vehicles. In doing so, Biden specifically referenced the Tamarack mine as a key component of the president’s vision toward changing what travels on America’s roadways.

The proposed mine continues to generate attention from media across the country, including recent reports in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Star Tribune.

Podcast Host Joe Friedrichs spoke with Malan for this week’s episode.

October 21, 2022
Moose Madness And Lake Superior Fish

Minnesotans are expected to arrive to the North Shore this weekend during the annual fall break for most of the state’s schools.

The Minnesota Educator Academy weekend, more commonly referred to as MEA weekend, means that most students in Minnesota have Thursday and Friday off. It’s a popular time for families to visit Cook County and the North Shore. It’s also a great time to see wildlife near Lake Superior and across Superior National Forest. Among the species many people hope to see this time of year are moose.

That also happens to be the theme of a family-friendly event taking place in Cook County all weekend known as Moose Madness.

As the commercial fishing season slowly starts to wind down on Lake Superior, WTIP Outdoor News Podcast co-host Joe Friedrichs checked in with Katie Mumm, a local photographer and the owner of Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais, to learn more on these topics.

October 14, 2022
Local Officials Respond to Coast Guard Station Closing in Grand Marais

After more than 90 years, the U.S. Coast Guard closed its station in Grand Marais this summer, finalizing a plan it made public in 2021.

The Coast Guard station was established in 1928. It’s been staffed on a seasonal basis since the late 1980s, up until the complete closure this summer. The facility is situated on Artist Point near the breakwall housing the Grand Marais Lighthouse.

As WTIP reported last year, the Grand Marais station was staffed by a limited crew. The Coast Guard said it responded to less than one call per year from the Grand Marais station.

At the time, federal officials from the Coast Guard said they “would not consolidate these stations if we thought it would increase the risk to boaters or the maritime industry.”

However, during a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Oct. 11, local officials said the closing of the Coast Guard Station has “left the burden of Lake Superior water rescue to Cook County Sheriff’s Department and to the Grand Portage tribal government.”

The area that is that is now vacant of any US Coast Guard patrolling is a massive area that extends from the Ontario border south to Schroeder, all of the water in between to Isle Royale National Park.

In this episode of the podcast, hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins follow this story through the lens of two local meetings and discussion that took place at the courthouse and city hall in Grand Marais.

October 7, 2022
Fall Flyfishing Along The North Shore of Lake Superior With James Egan

The peak of fall is settling over the woods and water of Cook County and the North Shore. In this episode of the podcast, hosts Joe Friedrichs and Kalli Hawkins celebrate the season of harvest. From fresh-caught trout to a homemade batch of potato leek soup, Joe shares his reflections on this important time of transition for many in the community.

Kalli takes listeners on a fishing trip during the episode. Kalli met up with local fishing enthusiast and outdoor columnist James Egan for a day of fly fishing on the North Shore. Kalli also shares stories of grouse hunting and preparing the garden for upcoming frost events.

September 30, 2022
Bear Reports from Cook County and the North Shore

Reports of bears guzzling rancid barrels of oil, tipping garbage cans in Grand Marais and breaking limbs off of apple trees all reached the WTIP News Desk in autumn arrives to the North Shore.

In this episode of the podcast, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Bear Project Leader, Andrew Tri, shares reminders on how to stay ‘Bearwise’ during this busy time of year for local wildlife.

September 16, 2022
Fall fly fishing from a canoe in Cook County

Fly fishing conjures many images for spirited anglers: Remote streams, waders and a brimmed cap, looping line from a roll cast dancing behind a setting sun.

And then there’s the Cook County canoe version: trolling.

It doesn’t always have to be fancy or romantic to go fly fishing on inland lakes in northeastern Minnesota. In fact, trolling a fly that looks like a minnow is a fine way to pursue fish in Cook County from a canoe. And there’s no better season than fall for such an activity.

In this episode of the WTIP Outdoor News Podcast, hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs learn this firsthand. Kalli and Joe recently trolled with Clouser minnow flies on a local lake.

Also featured in this episode of the podcast is local angler and fly fishing instructor Michael Hero. A dedicated fly angler who frequents the North Shore tributaries that flow into Lake Superior, Hero shares insights on fall fly fishing in Cook County.

September 9, 2022
Minnesota DNR Shares Changes To Upcoming Deer Hunting Season

The fall season is a welcomed time of the year for many. Before Minnesota hunters take to the woods this upcoming deer hunting season, there are a few changes to be aware of.

The Minnesota DNR has decreased antlerless lottery permits in the Superior Uplands Arrowhead region of northeast Minnesota as deer populations remain low. In addition, the DNR has updated regulations regarding chronic wasting disease and non-toxic ammunition. Learn about the changes and more in this week’s WTIP Outdoor News Podcast episode.

WTIP’s Outdoor News Podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Nancy Hansen, Area Wildlife Manager with the Minnesota DNR based in Two Harbors, Minn.

September 2, 2022
Grand Marais Boat Ramp opens for Labor Day weekend as water temp warms in Lake Superior

The multi-year Parkside Public Water Access project in the Grand Marais harbor is completed. The project began in 2019 to revamp and improve the west side of the Grand Marais harbor. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officially signed off on the project on August 31, just in time for Labor Day weekend.

Podcast hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs visited the boat launch to see the new and improved site and chat about summer Lake Superior temperatures.

Also featured in the episode are Jay Austin from the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth and Kent Skaar of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division.

August 26, 2022
Wolf Ridge continues to practice core beliefs

The Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Lodge renovation at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland was the first renovation project in the world to receive full Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification by the International Living Future Institute.

To achieve this standard, the 22,000 square-foot dormitory has proved its ability to achieve net positive energy and net positive water over a 12-month period, generating more energy than it consumes.

Podcast host Joe Friedrichs visited the Wolf Ridge campus to learn more and shares a full report in this week’s episode.

August 19, 2022
Cook County’s history with the Becoming An Outdoors Woman Program

The Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program began in the early 1990s, thanks to the research and foresight of one Dr. Christine Thomas. In addition to being a professor at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Thomas is an avid hunter and angler. She identified common barriers that hindered women from participating in outdoor recreation compared to men.

In today’s episode, Linda Bylander, BOW coordinator and local Cook County resident Linda Newman share more about what the program means for women in Minnesota and what value it brings to the future of conservation and sportsmanship.

August 12, 2022
Visiting the site of the Greenwood Fire, one year later

The Greenwood Fire burned nearly 27,000 acres in northeastern Minnesota following a summer of heat, drought and smoky skies.

The fire started August 15, 2021, and led, in part, to the complete closure of the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness last summer.

Along the way, the fire destroyed more than a dozen buildings and led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes near Isabella and Highway 1 in Lake County.

WTIP reported extensively on the wildfire while it was burning in August and September 2021. Since that time, the radio station in Grand Marais shared reports about the fire and its aftermath, including a visit to the burn area during the winter months.

Just days before the one-year anniversary of the Greenwood Fire, WTIP Outdoor News Podcast Host Joe Friedrichs traveled back to the site of the Greenwood Fire to see what the forest looked like. Blackened trees lined an area near Lake County Highway 2, not far from the Intersection of Highway 1 heading toward Ely.

For the episode, Joe also spoke with Laura Reuling, a forest researcher at the University of Minnesota, to learn more about the Greenwood Fire, one year later.

Photo by Lane Johnson.

August 5, 2022
Rock Snot in Lake Superior and Lake Trout Habitat

Rock snot, officially called didymo, is an algae native to Lake Superior. The algae was the centerpiece of research the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently conducted on and in Lake Superior. Heidi Rantala and several other DNR researchers, fisheries biologists and members of the state agency’s aquatic invasive species unit traveled to Grand Marais to collect samples from the bottom of Lake Superior.

WTIP Outdoor News Podcast host Joe Friedrichs joined them for the research expedition and shares this report.

July 29, 2022
DNR Loon Monitoring Program In Field Report

Loons are an iconic species of the North Woods. From Lake Superior to the many lakes across the Boundary Waters, the call of a loon is a signature sound for many who live here and visit the area.

In this episode of the podcast, Kalli Hawkins gets involved with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources citizen science project and the 2022 state loon count. Kalli visits a lake in Cook County to count loons and report other bird activity.

Kalli also talks with Gaea Crozier, the DNR’s non-game wildlife specialist, about the status of loons in Minnesota.

July 22, 2022
Lake Trout Gill Net Survey Lake Superior July 2022

WTIP Outdoor News Podcast hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs were on Lake Superior in mid-July watching staff from the DNR conduct the juvenile lake trout assessment for 2022.

After nearly being wiped out in the 1950s, the Lake Superior lake trout fishery has bounced back in a big way during the past 70 years.

The decline of lake trout in Lake Superior was caused by overfishing and nonnative sea lamprey. After a decades-long effort to restore lake trout, there are now so many naturally reproducing fish in Minnesota waters on the Big Lake that the DNR no longer stocks hatchery fish.

Featured in this week’s episode are staff from the DNR’s Lake Superior Fisheries Office in Duluth. On board the 31-foot boat that left from the Grand Marais Harbor July 15 are:

— Josh Blankenheim, the large lakes biologist for the DNR

–Chris Palvere, DNR fisheries technician

–Wyatt Hiltner, fisheries intern

They joined the Outdoor News Podcast on this episode, most of which was recorded on Lake Superior near Grand Marais.

July 15, 2022
Minnesota Moose And Wolf Population Updates Summer 2022

Calf recruitment for Minnesota’s moose is the process of young moose surviving to become adults.

This spring, in the far reaches of northeastern Minnesota, calf recruitment of moose does not present an uplifting narrative.

“It’s abysmal. I think this is the worst calf recruitment year we’ve seen in 12 years of study,” said Dr. Seth Moore, the director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “Essentially, of our collared moose. 100 percent of the calves are gone.”

Moore shared these sentiments during a live outdoor news special that aired July 7 on WTIP. Joining Moore was EJ Issac, a fish and wildlife biologist for the Grand Portage Band.

The update from Moore and Issac strayed from a more optimistic done the the state Department of Natural Resources released in April 2022 about the population of Minnesota’s moose herd. The DNR said Minnesota’s moose population is the largest it has been in more than a decade, after 11 consecutive years of remaining relatively stable.

The DNR’s 2022 survey estimated the moose population at about 4,700 animals, with a potential range between 3,440 and 6,780. The survey showed no statistically significant change from the last one conducted in 2020 but is the highest estimate since 2011.

Learn more about Minnesota’s moose and wolves in this week’s episode.

July 8, 2022
Wolves Being Fed Near the BWCA and DNR Wolf Plan Update

Wolves are the focus of this week’s episode. Reports of wolves being fed on Superior National Forest near the Sawbill Trail reached the WTIP news desk in July 2022. Tofte District Ranger Ellen Bogardus-Szymaniak said recent reports of humans feeding wolves near the Sawbill Trail led to the closure of a dispersed camping area on Superior National Forest, not far from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Ellen shares more in this episode.

We also hear an update on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Draft Wolf Management Plan in this installment. The DNR’s Dan Stark shares an update with host Kalli Hawkins and the podcast.

July 4, 2022
DNR Halts Lake Trout Stocking in Cook County

Lake trout in Cook County are on their own when it comes to sustaining their populations on lakes in or near the Boundary Waters and Gunflint Trail corridor.

A recent decision by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to discontinue – at least temporarily – lake trout stocking is both a success story and an indication into how hard it can be to reintroduce fish species into area lakes once they vanish.

Matt Weberg, the interim Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor in Grand Marais, shares more on this topic in today’s episode.

Kalli and Joe also talk about recent mountain lion sightings near the Cascade River and Lake Superior.

June 24, 2022
Superior Hiking Trail Outdoor News Podcast

The Superior Hiking Trail is a 300-mile pathway leading from the Duluth area to the Canadian border, following the rugged Lake Superior coastline along Minnesota’s North Shore.

In this episode of the WTIP Outdoor News Podcast, Kalli Hawkins talks with hikers on the SHT near Grand Marais, Minn., and the Devil Track River area. Thousands of hikers from all over the country hike the SHT annually. In this report, Kalli speaks with a collection of them as summer arrives to the North Shore.

June 23, 2022
Lake Superior Fishing and Border Route Trail update

Commercial fishing on Lake Superior is a centuries-old practice that includes Isle Royale, Grand Marais, Duluth and nearly every corner of the massive freshwater lake. The industry, however, sometimes raises the eyebrows of common sport anglers. In this episode of the podcast, we hear from Cory Goldsworthy, the Lake Superior Area Fisheries Supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about the balance of sport and commercial fishing on Lake Superior.

We also hear an update on the Border Route Trail after a tornado blew a collection of massive pine onto the trail in October 2021. In May 2022, trail crews used handsaws to clear the trail.

June 23, 2022
Learning about the Outdoor News Podcast

In this opening segment of WTIP’s Outdoor News Podcast, we hear from hosts Kalli Hawkins and Joe Friedrichs. The installment comes from the banks of the Cascade River along Minnesota’s North Shore, not far from where the river flows into Lake Superior.

Kalli and Joe share their stories and background in reporting outdoor news near Lake Superior, the Boundary Waters and the many trails zigzagging around the region.