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

Posts about Recreation

Memorial Day crowds too much to handle? Try night fishing!

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: May 21, 2014 - 4:13 PM

            One of the best times to be out on the water, is that time period after most boats have gone in for the evening. Nighttime is a great time to be on the water, especially if you were stuck in the office rather than the boat on that sacred fishing opener weekend. 

            Fishing at night in May and early June is an under-fished time period that can reap large benefits for anglers who try it. Night fishing is a ton of fun and best of all you don’t have to compete for the best locations..

            With all the crowds on the lake during the walleye opener and Memorial Day weekend, walleye can be pressured from their traditional haunts during the day. Move into those places near dark and most of the boats are gone.

            A note of caution: night fishing is not recommended for the ill-prepared. Anglers who fumble around during the daytime are likely to have a disaster at night. Also, be sure that your lake is open for night time fishing. Mille Lacs has a night fishing ban right now and a few metro lakes have some special regulations regarding fishing at night.

Night fishing requires a boat without too much clutter, lighting that is hands-free, and a life jacket should be worn at all times. If you’ve never fished the lake before, be sure to have a good map and don’t just rely on your GPS. Mapping software is another great tool, but there are hidden rocks even on lakes with detailed mapping technology.

            Some anglers like to tape a flashlight to their landing net but most prefer to wear a headlamp. A good headlamp runs around $20 and must be easily turned on and off.

            Getting on the water before the sun sets is best if you can do it because you can get set up while there’s still daylight. Not only that, but the night bite begins before the sun sets so consider it getting out there early.


            Walleye like to move from the depths up to the shallows at night, especially during this time of the year. A large flat with emerging weeds is a great location, especially if it’s adjacent to an area with current such as a channel or narrows. Try trolling the seven to 12 foot depth range with a shallow-running Rapala just ticking the tips of those fresh-growing weeds.

            Inside turns of underwater structure can be especially good in depths ranging from a few inches deep on down to 12 feet of water. If you arrive before dusk, start at the deeper locations but once night settles in go shallow.



            Livebait rigs with or without spinners are great for fishing the lowlight period as the sun is setting. A leech, minnow or crawler will each work but it’s always best to have each along with so you can key in on the most productive lure. Nortland Fireball jigs tipped with livebait are also quite effective.

            A jig tipped with a Northland Impulse artificial bait is also very effective and can be easier at night when checking the condition of your bait is not as easy. The scent given off by the Impulse baits attract walleye that more drawn to scent during low-light periods.

            Crankbaits are not to be overlooked, especially once the sun has set. A shallow-running or countdown Rapala minnow is effective when long-cast over shallow flats at night. Clackin’ minnows, raps and X-Raps are also great options. Longlining these same lures while using the electric trolling motor or a controlled drift with a driftsock are also quite effective.

No boat? No problem!

            Another great thing about nighttime fishing in the spring is that you don’t need a boat to get to the walleye, you just walk out there and they’ll come to you. Many anglers in boats find themselves in depths of two to three feet of water, which anybody with waders will tell you is an accessible range of water.

            It’s a lot of fun to be out there in your waders and I’d say it’s a more rugged experience than fishing from the boat. I’ve gone wading numerous times and had tremendous success. I still prefer to be in my boat but wading out to a shallow flat at night is a surreal experience. You have the stringer tied to your waders and your minnow bucket is tied to you as well—if you get a good bite then back up and get ready for a real in-the-water battle.

            My favorite method is to pitch a Fireball jig tipped with a shiner up into a shallow point or flat that is adjacent to deeper water. Some of my favorite locations on Lake Bemidji are Diamond Point and the fishing pier by Lake Irvine. On Cass, I like the area around the channel that flows into Pike Bay.

            In the metro area, Lake Nokomis has some great night fishing spots around the lake. Some of the best fishing is the southeast side of the lake and just north of the big swimming beach on the west side. Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet have good night fishing locations all around the lake. Areas adjacent to public beaches on any lake are good at night because nobody is swimming and all that sand makes for a good walleye cruising ground.

            Safety is extremely important with this scenario, however. I always wears a lifejacket while night fishing with waders and take along a powerful flashlight. You will have boats out there with you and if somebody wants to cruise over the shallows at a higher speed you need to be able to signal to them that you are out there just as you would if you were in a canoe or kayak. 

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.


Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting filling big shoes at 2013 Game Fair

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 5, 2013 - 11:57 PM




Visitors to this year’s Game Fair will be treated to a fine show of shotgun shooting skills put on by Steve and Aaron Gould of Alexandria, Minnesota. They did one show at last year’s event, located at the Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Ramsey, MN, but this year they are shooting two times a day for all six days of the fair.

            For those who don’t know, Game Fair is the nation’s largest outdoors pre-hunting event and it takes place over two weekends in the northwest metro off Highway 10 and Armstrong Boulevard.These guys are very talented shooters who have managed to amass a lot of notoriety in a very short period of time. 
            That’s a testament to both their marksmanship and showmanship because in the exhibition shooting world you have to be able to consistently hit a lot of targets while also making crowds laugh, smile, ooh and aah.
            What I found most interesting is that neither had ever heard of exhibition shooting until about a decade ago. The older brother, Aaron, grew up hunting with an uncle, so he has been around shooting and firearms most of his life. The younger brother Steve, only really started shooting when he was in college.
            That was less than 10 years ago and now the two are being flown all over the country to put on shows and talk about their number one sponsor Winchester. They selected Winchester as much as the company selected them and they are more than willing to show off the attributes of their Super X3 and Super X Pump shotguns.
            Crowds at Game Fair over the past six years saw Tom Knapp put on the exhibition shooting shows and for the first 25 years of Game Fair the exhibition shooter was John Satterwhite. 
            Retirement ended Satterwhite’s run while Knapp retired from exhibition shooting earlier this spring, only three weeks before his death in late April. His passing was a very sad moment for everybody at Game Fair as well as for the Gould Brothers who idolized Knapp and saw him as their mentor.
            Knapp accepted that mentorship role and did a lot to pass on many of his shows to them, including Game Fair. But it’s not like Chuck Delaney, owner of Game Fair, and other folks had to just accept the Gould Brothers. The pair earned their shooting gigs because of their skills and talent. A nod from Tom Knapp doesn’t hurt either, but it’s a tough world out there.
            I had a very good conversation with Steve Gould on the phone Sunday night and he’s excited for Game Fair. He has a lot of different ideas for what the two of them will do in their twice-daily shows and visitors can expect to see their finest tricks on display.
            Their first shooting exhibition is at 11:30 each day of Game Fair (August 9, 10, 11 and 16, 17, 18) in the Game Fair bleachers near the front entrance. Their second show of the day is at 5:00 on Friday and Saturday and 4:30 on Sundays.
            For more details on the Gould Brothers exhibition and the entire Game Fair rundown be sure to visit 

Game Fair 2013 promises to be bigger and better than ever

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: August 3, 2013 - 11:58 PM

Folks line up as gates open up 9 a.m. daily August 9, 10, 11 and 16, 17, 18

Folks line up as gates open up 9 a.m. daily August 9, 10, 11 and 16, 17, 18

 The Armstrong Ranch Kennels in Ramsey are set for the 32nd annual Game Fair, with tons of events, activities and attractions for the entire family . The six-day event takes place over two weekends in August beginning August 9, 10 and 11 and continuing August 16, 17 and 18. Fall hunting seasons are coming soon and Game Fair is the best place to see and try the latest gear while learning from the nation’s leading experts.

Your hosts for all 32 years of Game Fair are Chuck and Loral I Delaney. After a visit to England’s Game Fair in 1980, the Delaney’s decided this type of event might be a hit among the outdoorsmen and women of the Midwest. That first Game Fair held in 1982, on the same grounds as it is today, was just barely a success—but it was the start of something that’s only grown bigger and better each year, attracting millions. Game Fair has also been the launching point for many new products, talents, and experts—it’s truly the place to be for outdoors lovers of all ages.
Plenty of things to see and experience at Game Fair

Plenty of things to see and experience at Game Fair

Game Fair is a full participation event and visitors are encouraged to bring their shotgun (cased), their bow (cased), and their dog (leashed). Many visitors just prefer to watch others in action with a twice daily shooting exhibition, dog events, archery, birds of prey, and dozens of daily seminars from national outdoors experts. Game Fair is home to over 250 exhibitors including top dog trainers, hunting guides and retailers from across North America. With dozens of Dog Clubs and Sportsman’s Clubs, Game Fair is the nation’s largest gathering of outdoor organizations.
Game Fair is the only place where you can do it all. Some of the highlights of 2013 include:
·      Twice daily Exhibition Shooting Shows brought to you by the Gould Brothers
·      Firearms Trainer Wendy Brown with Ladies and Youth shooting instruction
·      Fan favorite “Mr. Sound Effects” returns to perform his phenomenal vocal skills
·      Meet Rusty the Horse, otherwise known as the world’s largest golden retriever
·      Big prize contests open to all including a $1,000 Archery Shooting Challenge, a $10,000 Duck and Goose Calling Contest, and a Turkey Calling Contest.
Visit with Ron and Laura Schara, talk waterfowl with champion callers, hear dog training advice from nationally renowned trainers, watch the fabulous birds of prey with Frank Taylor, or just walk along the lake taking in the sights throughout the picturesque grounds.
Quench your thirst or curb your hunger at the many concession stands. Be sure to try your luck at numerous raffles and drawings for big prizes throughout the Game Fair.
The spacious woods and water of Game Fair are open rain or shine from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 9 to 11 and August 16 to 18 (closing is 5 p.m. on Sundays). Game Fair is located in Ramsey at the Armstrong Ranch Kennels. Complete details on the 32nd annual Game Fair can be found online at or by calling 763-427-0944. Follow Game Fair on and on Twitter @GameFairUSA. See you at Game Fair!

Opportunities abound for discovering the outdoors if you just express an interest and apply

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: January 30, 2013 - 11:10 PM
Most of us outdoors types had an influential person in our lives who introduced us to the outdoors and helped ignite, not just our interest in the outdoors, but also provided us with guidance. Chances are it was more than one person and probably at different times in our outdoor experiences.
            The world we live in today is distinctly different from that of just a generation ago and there’s a definite need for people to serve as mentors. Numerous hunters and anglers have put themselves out there to serve this role but they need youth and adults interested in having a mentor.
            It’s an interesting dynamic. You find out about people who need mentoring, so you find mentors. They connect and a new group of people learn the joy of the outdoors. This in turn spurns others to sign up for a mentored hunt and others to mentor.
            That said, the effort to recruit mentors must also be matched with the effort to recruit mentees. Mike “Cold Front” Kurre, mentoring program coordinator at the DNR, recently told me that they are looking for first-time youth and a supporting adult to apply for a mentored youth spring turkey hunt.
            The deadline for this hunt is coming soon on February 19 and application information can be found at
            This hunt is in conjunction with the National Wild Turkey Federation and intended to be an educational experience for new turkey hunters, both youth and their guardian. Only the youth is eligible to shoot but both the youth and adult will go with a mentor to hunt.
            To be eligible, a youth must be between the ages of 12 and 17 by April 20, possess a Firearms Safety Certificate and have a parent, guardian, or authorized adult accompany the youth. The youth must also be a “first-time” turkey hunter.
            If you are interested, go to the link above and sign-up. If you think you’d like to be a mentor down the road, contact Kurre at or 651-259-5193.
            Another equally fantastic opportunity exists for women over 18 interested in learning turkey hunting skills and participating in a mid-May turkey hunt. The area of the hunt this spring is limited to Hugo in the northeast metro area. The application can be downloaded at with an application deadline of February 19.
            These are certainly not the only opportunities available for mentors and folks new to the outdoors. A complete run down of programs can be found at or contacting Kurre.
Another great resource is the "Women Hunting and Fishing in all Seasons" work group which can be accessed online at
            If you have been on one of these mentored hunts either as a mentor or mentee, please post your stories in the comments section below. 

One of first two women paddlers who made journey to Hudson Bay making two appearances this week

Posted by: Ron Hustvedt Updated: November 25, 2012 - 3:29 PM
       Meet and chat with Natalie Warren, one of the first two women to paddle the 2,000-mile journey from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay. Hear first hand the trials and tribulations they experienced on this expedition of epic proportions.
         Warren will be sharing these stories at two locations this week sharing the details of the expedition, displaying photographs from the journey and talking about upcoming adventures.
         This Tuesday, November 27th at 5:30 p.m., Warren will be at the University of Minnesota in Hudson Hall Room 495 located at 516 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis.
         Then on Wednesday, November 28th, Warren will be at Midwest Mountaineering in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis beginning at 7 p.m.
       The duo completed the journey from May to September 2011 and I had the honor of covering their expedition for the Star Tribune and Outdoor News. Both women are very interesting to chat with and are great storytellers.
         Their trip was nominated for Canoe and Kayak’s 2012 Expedition of the Year. Folks who are interested in adventuring, canoeing, and individuals accomplishing their dreams would greatly enjoy either of these presentations.
         For more details, including the complete blog they wrote while on their journey (complete with photos), visit their website at
Raiho looks out over Lake Winnipeg, a massive waterbody they crossed on their journey

Raiho looks out over Lake Winnipeg, a massive waterbody they crossed on their journey


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