Ron Hustvedt

Ron Hustvedt is an outdoors writer and photographer who covers a broad array of experiences, individuals and events centered on hunting and fishing. He is also a professional educator. Please visit his website at

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Game Fair ready for a second big weekend

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 13, 2013 - 10:39 PM
The competitions are heating up at Game Fair for dogs, archers, and callers--not to mention for exhibitors looking to give people the best deals on outdoor equipment. 
This upcoming weekend at Game Fair is the second annual $10,000 Duck and Goose Calling contest. The duck calling contest is on Saturday, August 17 and the goose calling contest is Sunday, August 18.
There are three divisions for each duck and goose calling, including: youth, open and two-person. A portion of all entry fees will be donated to Minnesota Ducks Unlimited and sponsors of the event include: Game Fair, Ducks Unlimited, Federal Ammunition, Cabelas, Hardcore Brands, Flyway Customs, Big Sean’s Championship Calls, Beavertail, Luck Duck Premium Decoys, Visual Web Group, Eaglehead Outdoors,, Top Gun Guide Service, Foiles Migrators, Dakota Decoy Company, Flagman Products, First Flight Finishers, and Kruger Farms. 
 Everybody got into the calling contest mood during the first weekend of Game Fair, with a turkey calling contest on Sunday.
 New to Game Fair this year, and expected to return, was a turkey calling contest hosted by Shane Simpson of A total of 15 different callers and 24 entries turned out for the premiere, much to the delight of Simpson.
“This was a very good turnout for a contest and most were new faces,” he said. The contest was more for fun, rather than a sanctioned event, but there were still plaques for the winners along with prizes. “Had this been a sanctioned contest, there would have been even bigger prizes and more callers making it one of the larger contests in the Midwest,” Simpson said.

In the open division: first place went to Kevin Croteau of Ramsey; second place was Curtis Goettsch of Cresco, Iowa; and Connor Wall of Clearwater came in third. In the amateur division, Wall took first place and Croteau came in second, while Thayne Jensen of Otsego came in third.          

  Contest emcee Kara Wattunen, an avid turkey hunter, was especially happy with the fact that in the youth division, the top three winners were all girls: Adrianna Rice of Minneapolis won the event; Clara Wall of Clearwater came in second; and, Kelby Moore of Rice finished third in the standings.


Check out the photographs from each of the three divisions as well as the emcee and judges making their final announcements at the end of the contest. Sponsors of the contest included: Game Fair, Hunter's Specialties, Hook's Custom Calls, Federal Premium Cartridge, Weaver, and




As if that wasn’t enough.
The second weekend of the North American Shed Hunting Dog Association international qualifier and junior dog hunt test takes place Saturday throughout the day at Game Fair. To qualify for the international contest, dogs must already be registered, but the event is open to all who are interested in seeing how well their dog retrieves antlers.
There will also be finals on Sunday for all the dog events at Game Fair. Winners from each day of both weekends will return for a final championship round. If you are interested in having your dog participate, bring them to Game Fair (leashed) Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Dogs are admitted to the fair for free but dog events cost $1 to participate in.

The Game Fair Archery World $1,000, 100-yard Archery Challenge is also going on throughout the second weekend.


            Kurt Baumgartner is running the event and reported that 20 archers have qualified so far and only three are repeats from last year. One of the archers is a 15 year old girl and she probably won’t be the only one by the time the final shoot-off takes place on Sunday.
Additional qualifying shoots take place Friday and Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. There’s one last chance Sunday morning from 10 to 11 before the final shots are fired Sunday afternoon.
More details?
            Details on any of these contests, and all the other details at Game Fair, including the $10,000 Duck and Goose Calling Contest, can be found at Don’t forget to print your $2 off coupon for admission and that Friday is Family Day meaning that kid’s get in free with a paid adult.
Beautiful weather kept the crowds happy during Game Fair's first weekend. Exhibitors and organizers are hoping for a repeat performance from Mother Nature the final weekend of the event August 16, 17 and 18.

Beautiful weather kept the crowds happy during Game Fair's first weekend. Exhibitors and organizers are hoping for a repeat performance from Mother Nature the final weekend of the event August 16, 17 and 18.


Finding respectable walleye during the mid-winter groove

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: January 14, 2012 - 4:55 PM


Tim Schwartz of H2O Outfitters in Big Lake with a chunky Mille Lacs walleye he caught guiding with Roach's Guide Service

Tim Schwartz of H2O Outfitters in Big Lake with a chunky Mille Lacs walleye he caught guiding with Roach's Guide Service


 Late ice and early ice get so much attention it’s only fair that mid-ice gets its fair share of ink. After all, it’s the timeframe more anglers fish and it is largely neglected by the experts who are too busy debating the merits of early ice versus late ice.

            This scribe has wandered through that debate with some early ice fishing in December and a late March fishing trip last winter. Similar to other anglers, the majority of my ice fishing comes when the ice is at its thickest, the weather at its coldest and the lakes their busiest. This year has been “interesting” at best but the story remains the same.
            Why so little attention to this mid-ice timeframe?
The author's father (Ron Hustvedt Sr.) with an early morning walleye that made it into the frying pan that night

The author's father (Ron Hustvedt Sr.) with an early morning walleye that made it into the frying pan that night

         The answer to that question might be tough to find, but big walleye over 20-inches are thankfully not as difficult.
            Oh sure, a lot of work and a certain level of luck comes into the equation for finding walleye with of a respectable size, but anglers need not worry with a few tidbits of advice.
            This scribe recently chatted with fishing guide Bryan “Beef” Sathre of Fathead Guide Service out of Cass Lake and Bemidji for some advice on finding walleye big enough to give a good fight. The conversation took place during a furious jumbo perch bite on Lake Bemidji:
Bryan "Beef" Sathre with a beautiful golden walleye caught in the Bemidji area

Bryan "Beef" Sathre with a beautiful golden walleye caught in the Bemidji area

            Q: First of all, where can you expect to find walleye that measure 20-inches plus?
            A: It’s not like they hang out in a specific area away from the other walleye, but combine your location with the right presentation and you’ll find yourself catching a lot of walleye in that size range.
            On the lakes I fish, there are a lot of 20 to 24 inch walleye to be had with these tactics but you will occasionally find yourself with a walleye pushing the 28 inch mark or beyond. Don’t be surprised if you catch a hearty pike or eelpout as well. Walleye in that size range hang out in the same places as other large predators this time of the year.
            What I look for is a wide variety of locations, but my favorite is a transition zone where a soft bottom meets a hard bottom.
            You can use an underwater camera to find these areas, a high quality flasher will work as well but a simple weighted dropper is the cheapest way to go. Just put it on your hook and feel it make contact with the bottom. If it sticks after bottoming out, then you have a soft bottom.
            Soft bottoms have a lot going on with them including bug hatches, worms coming up and crayfish moving around. All of these activities attract baitfish and, in turn, larger predators.
            I also utilize the best mapping technology I can get my hands on to find breaklines, inside turns, underwater points, rock piles and donuts.
Author Ron Hustvedt with a hefty Lake Bemidji walleye

Author Ron Hustvedt with a hefty Lake Bemidji walleye

            Q: Besides what we had for breakfast, explain a donut.
            A: Large sandy flats are especially good for them but you can find them elsewhere on a lake. They essentially are areas of a consistent depth with a deeper hole contained in the middle. It might only be a 12-foot flat with a 15-foot hole in it, but that’s what you want to find.
            I like to fish these because they provide a natural edge that predators tend to like patrolling around. There’s often times a weedy edge nearby providing shelter for baitfish and cover for predators.
            Where there’s not a weedy edge, and when I’m on a spot I know has walleye regularly cruising by, I’ll toss down my structure on a string and create a weed bed. Perch and other baitfish come into the area and hold tight to the artificial weeds which is more incentive for those big predators to move in.
            If you find just such a location, try to figure out which direction the predators typically move in from. It’s amazing how the walleye can be almost like creatures of habit for the right location.
            Q: How deep of water?
            A: I know a lot of anglers who swear by deeper water, but I’m one who likes to stay shallow. There are some who fish as shallow as eight feet but I like the 14 to 18 foot range most of the time.
            Where I consistently fish is on the top half of a breakline. The depth drops gradually from eight to 12 feet and then fast from 12 to 15 feet. It’s gradual from 15 to 18 and then it drops off fast.
            Just make sure to stay away from the crowds and limit your movement. Noise is a big factor largely ignored by anglers but I’ve seen it time and time again on the ice.
Tony Roach of Roach's Guide Service on Mille Lacs with a quality mid-winter walleye

Tony Roach of Roach's Guide Service on Mille Lacs with a quality mid-winter walleye

            Q: What presentation tends to work best?
            A: If I’m fishing a tougher bite I’ll use a jigging spoon with a minnow head. If the fish are neutral and need to be willing to be coaxed into a bite, I’ll use an eye-droppers jig that has a stamped, spoon-shaped body tipped with a small to medium-sized shiner minnow.
            If you want to fish two lines, I like to deadstick the eye-dropper on a slip bobber rig while I jig with the spoon. With the eye-dropper, hook the shiner after the dorsal fin so that when it swims it has to put up a considerable effort and provides additional flash.
            In other situations when the walleye are steady but not strong, I’ll tie on a dropper spoon rig with a whole shiner minnow.
            A jigging spoon is the most versatile rig both with color and size. Tipped with a minnow head, jigging spoons can be absolutely deadly. If you have electronics, be sure to watch how the fish react to your presentation.
If they come in and hold, only to leave again, it could mean you have to slow your presentation. Be willing to let the walleye tell you how to react. Usually they want the action slowed down, but every once in awhile you can only get them to hit while aggressively jigging.
            Just be sure to pay attention if one comes in and leaves again because if you see that walleye once, and you didn’t try and set the hook in it, the chances are good that it will return.
            Q: Any other advice?
            A: With walleye over 20 inches be sure to practice catch and release as much as possible. There’s nothing wrong with a fish or two for a meal but let the rest of them swim another day.
            On yeah, watch out for the occasional pike using these tactics in these locations. They lurk around for the same reason as those larger walleye.
            I hate to say it, but there are also plenty of eelpout down there and that trophy walleye could turn into an ugly catch in no time. It might be slimy out of the hole, but under the ice a ‘pout provides you with an epic battle.
The midwinter bite is always hot up on Lake of the Woods

The midwinter bite is always hot up on Lake of the Woods


City Limits Fishing comes to Minneapolis

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: March 24, 2011 - 9:20 PM
Watch a sneak preview of the show at Bass angling professional Mike Iaconelli has his "City Limits Fishing" show on the Versus network and he does around six shows a year in a major metropolitan area. He's bass fished a ton of cities, gone deep sea fishing off the Miami coast and gone after other species in other cities around the country. It's a good show and reality-based in that he has only eight hours of fishing to try and get a limit as established by the host angler at the beginning of the show. He came to Minneapolis this past winter to shoot a show on the ice, and have his first time ice fishing ever (on or off camera). There was an angler from Chicago who was originally going to host but that didn't work out. I was called by the show’s producer back in early December and asked to help out but couldn't due to my full-time gig. Iaconelli's producer found a local guide to do the show but then one of our monumental blizzards this winter shut the entire country down and they had to cancel the shoot. After they rescheduled the shoot and it didn't work for the other guy they came back to me and asked if I could. I had been kicking myself for passing it along and this time it worked into the schedule. Iaconelli, his producer and a cameraman from Florida arrived the night before we were to fish. Locally, a cameraman and one of my best friends, went along as well. There were two cameras on us at all times, one following Iaconelli and the other following me. My buddy drove the chase vehicle that provided some of the driving shots as we moved from place to place. When we filmed the show, there were only about 10 hours of sunlight and I had to choose an eight hour window to fish. I wanted to fish the sunrise, but knew that might not work out both for lighting and it’s not the best way to introduce a bunch of rookies to the sport. I settled on fishing from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. to see if the evening bite would kick in earlier than usual for us and possibly pop a few panfish during the day or even a pike. We fished the morning and early afternoon on Calhoun and then hopped to Harriet for the end of day bite. The show is true to its deal. No canned fish. Nothing pre-rigged to look good for the camera. What you will see on the show is what happened true to the timing of how it happened. My only complaint is that while they say 8 hours of fishing, it works out to much less than that because of all the filming that has to be done a certain way to get the angles and perspectives they want for a cool, rapid-fire, kind of show. Let's just say we were on the ice for an hour before a single hook hit the water! It's a fishing show, but it's more a show about fishing opportunities in the middle of a city. Catching fish is good, and we caught lots of fish, but it's not your typical fishing show where "canned" fish are often the star of the show. That's the inside scoop. I don't know how much of that will come through in the show. I know none of what I just wrote will be in the press releases that are circulating about the show. It was a lot of fun. It was cool to do. I still say this was THE TOUGHEST bite I had all winter and it just had to be for national television! That's the luck but when I last spoke with the producer of the show he was absolutely giddy about the show. As a city kid, born and raised in South Minneapolis, riding my bike several miles to Nokomis and the Mississippi with my tackle box bungee corded to my bike and holding my fishing rod with my handle bars it was a great experience. Fishing in the city is a concept I believe in firmly and have written about a lot...I hope that it comes across on the show the way it was for Iaconelli and myself. We had a blast!

Search for 'larger than average' bass not always elusive

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: July 20, 2010 - 1:42 AM


Ron Hustvedt with a dandy largemouth bass

           Anglers tend to go through a natural progression—first they are satisfied to just catch fish; second, they are satisfied if the number of fish they catch is high; and third, they are satisfied if the fish they catch are big.
Ron Hustvedt with a dandy  largemouth bass

Ron Hustvedt with a dandy largemouth bass

            That seems to be how it goes for most anglers, though not all. The trouble with this progression is often in making the step from being happy with numbers to desiring bigger fish. For a whole variety of reasons, it seems that a significant number of lakes around the state have a similar size structure when it comes to bass.
            Green Lake near Spicer is a great example of this phenomenon. There are a ton of smallmouth bass in the lake, the bulk of which are three-pounders. For proof of this look no further than the standings from a recent bass tournament. Take the average weight and divide by the number of fish and the figure is right around three pounds.
            Perhaps Green Lake is a bad example because not many lakes are known for having such an impressive average. On most lakes with healthy largemouth populations, the average tends to be in the one to two pound range. These bass are always willing to bite and are fun to catch, but spend a day catching nothing but one to two pounders and many anglers begin wondering if they can do better.
            This is the point where regular anglers and tournament anglers have in common. While catching fish is the name of the game, there’s that desire for larger fish.
For tournament anglers, finding those larger fish is the difference between taking home a payout or going home with nothing but good stories. For average anglers it’s the difference between a good day on the water and a day you remember forever.
            The challenge for both the regular and tournament angler is pinpointing locations and presentations for those larger bass roaming the lake. It is a pursuit that sometimes pays off, literally and figuratively, and sometimes doesn’t.
John House with a meaty Mississippi River smallmouth

John House with a meaty Mississippi River smallmouth

       An angler has to stay incredibly open-minded and you can always follow seasonal patterns where the fish should be but at any given time you need to be able to switch it up and use something a bit different to catch that fish that’s a little more difficult to catch.
            It’s the old versatility game but it is much easier to talk about it than to apply it and be successful. There are days when being versatile and open-minded works and there are days when it won’t—both for the fish and the angler. The key here is to realize that fact and not let it frustrate you.
Leaving the comfort zone
            For a lot of bass anglers, a favorite method is pitching a jig tipped with plastic. The jig remains the most versatile of lures because it works shallow and deep, along the rocks, under docks and in the weeds. There will be days, however, when you won’t get a single bite on it.
            Most anglers have their chosen methods of fishing and those lures they are confident in using. There comes a time, however, when one must leave their comfort zone either to get on bigger fish or to figure out why there isn’t a bite.
            There comes a point where you say, this is my bread and butter and what I’m comfortable doing, but it’s not working and I need to switch. When is it the best time to switch? When you are not satisfied with the results.
            Though not preferred, most anglers are more versatile then they imagine and have the ability to switch gears for larger fish. Those who don’t have this will achieve it with more time spent on the water.
            A lot of bass anglers throw plastics in the spring, jigs in the summer and spinnerbaits in the fall. That right there is three different techniques making you a versatile angler—as long as you keep those applications in your back pocket you can pull them out at anytime.
Tom Braaten with a six-pound largemouth bass from a lake known for "producing lots of small bass"

Tom Braaten with a six-pound largemouth bass from a lake known for "producing lots of small bass"

Bass all over the place
            This is the time of the year when bass can be found almost everywhere on the lake or in the river. They are up on the inside weedlines, in the sloppiest weedbeds, along the weed edges and on the deep breaklines.
            If you want to catch fish all day, the shallow locations are generally better because you are target fishing. Anglers who want to catch some fish with size, however, should go to the deeper water where bass tend to school up.
            You won’t catch fish consistently all day but you have the opportunity to catch a bunch of fish in a short time and if you find the right spot you could catch 15 to 20 of them and they could be all different sizes or a bunch of four-pounders.

            The thing to remember is that versatility is the key to success and to not get frustrated if the fish don’t cooperate. That’s just the nature of fishing.



The author with a "rockin' big bass" as his two-year old likes to call it (caught by the two year old legitimately)

The author with a "rockin' big bass" as his two-year old likes to call it (legitimately caught by said two year old)




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