Jim Braaten

Jim Braaten lives near Kenyon, Minn., and has been an avid outdoorsman for more than 35 years. He lives on the family farm that was first settled by his ancestors 152 years ago. He has been an outdoors writer and photographer, and he owns a business producing and marketing calendars.

Posts about Fishing

Experience “Sportsman Day” at the Minnesota State Fair

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: August 25, 2010 - 9:13 AM

Share your best fishing tall tale at the Minnesota State Fair with Mark Romanack, host of the hit fishing show, Fishing 411 with Mark Romanack, during Sportsman Day hosted by Comcast and Sportsman Channel on August 28 from 11 am to 7 pm. Fair attendees will also have the opportunity to “Spin to Win” on Sportsman Channel’s spinning prize wheel for t-shirts, hats, mugs, coolers and a signed copy of Romanack’s book, Precision Trolling.

Sportsman Channel and Comcast’s booth is located at the corner of Randall Ave and Cooper Street on the State Fair grounds. “Spin to Win” starts at 1 pm and ends at 3 pm. or until all prizes are given away.

Romanack has 30 plus years of fishing experience he showcases in each episode of Fishing 411, which airs exclusively on Sportsman Channel.

Watch Sportsman Channel on Comcast channel 738 in Minneapolis and channel 278 in St. Paul.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to the more than 82 million sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel is now available in HD, check with your local cable or satellite provider. Acquired by InterMedia Outdoors Holdings in 2006, Sportsman Channel reaches 27 million U.S. television households and is a part of the nation's largest multimedia company targeted exclusively to serving the information and entertainment needs of outdoors enthusiasts. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (www.twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl), become a Fan on Facebook, www.facebook.com/sportsmanchannel and download Sportsman App at www.itunes.com/appstore

Changing conditions required a flexible approach for opening day walleye

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: May 16, 2010 - 2:01 AM

BEMIDJI, Minnesota — For the 9th consecutive year my fishing group has opened the Minnesota fishing season on Lake Andrusia, a moderately sized Minnesota lake located just west of Cass Lake connected by the Mississippi River flowage. Our past experience has found this lake generally proves to be productive for the opener as we have never failed to achieve enough fish for our much anticipated opening day evening fish fry. Fortunately, this year was no exception. 

Pleasant early morning conditions greet 2010 Minnesota fishing opener anglers.

Pleasant early morning conditions greet 2010 Minnesota fishing opener anglers.

The day started off wonderful with nary a cloud in the sky and only a slight breeze barely creating a ripple on the lake surface. Perfect morning to head out on the lake with only a light coat and no need for the usual opening day rainwear or gloves. What proved to be comfortable conditions for early spring fishermen eventually gave way to walleye on the move and fishermen guessing what strategy to try next. Techniques that seemed to work 30 minutes earlier suddenly would turn quiet. The key to success seemed to be fishermen willing to be flexible in their presentation keeping a watchful eye to the ever changing conditions. 

At daybreak fishermen were finding walleye in 5’ to 8’ depths by drifting over rock points and sunken island areas. Lindy rigs tipped with a shiner seemed to work well early for some fishermen.

As the sun became more intense, plenty of fish were then later marked at depths ranging from 16’ to 22’ most prevalent around the steeper structure drop-offs. Vertical jigging was productive, but nothing worked with any predictable consistency. Throughout the day wind speeds varied greatly and the direction was constantly shifting. The early morning clear skies later turned partly cloudy and at times offered a brief respite from the bright sun.

Short-sleeve t-shirts, not parkas or rainwear, was the preferred attire for the day.

Short-sleeve t-shirts, not parkas or rainwear, was the preferred attire for the day.

There were some fish marked on the sonar at depths exceeding 30’, but they did not appear to be active. Later in the day most fish were caught from depths ranging 10’ to 16.’

About the only thing that seemed to be consistent throughout the day was the choice of bait. Shiners were in and leeches were definitely not the ticket—at least not for our group of 20 fishermen. Chartreuse was a productive color, but by no means was this the only effective jig color.

A common complaint among several fishermen were the missed bites which either means angling skills are a bit rusty coming off winter or the walleye bite was a bit light — or possibly both.

The day ended almost the same way it started with near glass-smooth water and clearing skies. Again, with the changing weather conditions the walleye bite tailed off and one-by-one the boats started heading toward our Finn’n Feather Resort cabin. That action didn’t necessarily signal the end of our first big day of fishing in 2010. Nope, instead it meant the fishermen sensed it was soon supper time and once again for the Minnesota fishing opener we were blessed to have fresh-caught walleye as our group’s featured menu item.

Few things in life taste better than freshly caught fish from a northern Minnesota lake.

Few things in life taste better than freshly caught fish from a northern Minnesota lake.


Twitter: R U fishing this wknd w/a cell phone?

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: May 11, 2010 - 9:52 AM

We tried this last year for the Minnesota fishing opener with good success so let’s give it another shot this year. I’m talking about using Twitter to share fishing reports and pictures with fellow anglers across Minnesota. The beauty of using Twitter is the communication is almost immediate—right from your boat, provided you have cell phone reception.

Setting up an account is easy, free and takes just a few minutes of your time. Go to www.Twitter.com and click on the “Get started now” button. Enter your name, a user name (this is how you will be seen on Twitter) and a password, plus a few other details and soon you’ll be in business. If you’re worried about privacy…just use a nickname and that will work, too.

Once you have a Twitter account communication is like a two-way street. You have the ability to share brief 140 character messages with the world. Brag about the fish you are catching…complain about the miserable weather…share a funny experience at the boat landing. The point is using Twitter on the fishing opener is like virtual coffee shop chatter. Best of all, you’re not talking about the experiences the next day or when the weekend is over. Nope, on Twitter you can describe the action as it is happening.

If you are using a cell phone that doesn’t have “smart phone” technology (BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, etc.) don’t despair. You can still have most of the mobile Twitter functionality, it just takes a few more steps. Once you have an account—click on “settings” and then click on “mobile” for details on how you can send a “tweet” simply by sending an ordinary text message.

Share your weekend fishing success with the world as it happens by using Twitter.

Share your weekend fishing success with the world as it happens by using Twitter.

Now, if you want to send a picture from a non-smart phone it gets a bit more involved. Provided your phone has a camera, to send a picture to Twitter on a basic phone you will need to go to a website, such as www.TwitPic.com. This site automatically coordinates with Twitter so if you already established an account on Twitter you simply use that same login information for TwitPic. Again, once you logon for the first time go under “settings” and you will see an Email address which you can use to upload pictures. A picture that is uploaded to TwitPic will automatically appear on your Twitter updates, too.

The process I’ve just described is usually made a lot easier if you use one of the many applications available for a smart phone. Still, if everything sounds way too confusing don’t despair…you can also have fun reading other peoples’ tweets and you don’t even have to sign up for anything.

Within a few days StarTribune.com will be aggregating all tweets using the hashtag #MNFishOpener. What this means is out of the millions of tweets made daily only the ones pertaining to the Minnesota fishing opener THAT ALSO INCLUDE THE #MNFishOpener copy will be shown. That’s why it’s important that when you tweet about the fishing opener somewhere included in that 140 character Twitter message it must also include the #MNFishOpener characters (not cap sensitive).

If you have questions or comments about any of this send me a message on Twitter (@jim7226). You can also follow my fishing tweets by clicking on: www.Twitter.com/jim7226. Now, rumor has it that Dennis Anderson will also be using Twitter this coming weekend. You can follow all of Dennis’ tweets by linking to: www.Twitter.com/StribDennis.

Oh, and by the way…a quick word of advice. If you just landed a lunker and you happen to be fishing at your favorite honeyhole…be sure to turn off any geotagging features that might be enabled. If not, you might just suddenly discover a lot of fishing company appearing out of nowhere around your boat.

Hunt. Fish. Feed. event coming to St. Paul

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: February 24, 2010 - 3:44 PM

Do you still have some excess venison in the freezer you might be willing to donate? The Sportsman Channel’s Hunt. Fish. Feed. project is coming to St. Paul this Sunday and they could use some additional sportsman-donated venison to help feed those in need.

This successful event was first launched in Las Vegas, NV last month (during the SHOT Show) and will be hosted in several additional cities throughout the U.S. during the upcoming year. The effort showcases sportsmen providing food for and feeding those less fortunate in each respective city.

The Twin Cities event is special because it’s being held in conjunction with FISHAPALOOZA—the region’s largest ice fishing contest. During that event on Saturday in Forest Lake, participants will be given the chance to donate their catch to the feed-the-hungry event taking place the next day.Hunt. Fish. Feed. Logo

"This is a unique opportunity for us to connect anglers with our Hunt.Fish.Feed efforts to serve fish alongside our venison dishes," said Todd Hansen, Sr. Vice President of Sportsman Channel. "A special thanks to our partners, Comcast, Sportsmen Against Hunger and FISHAPALOOZA for helping us accomplish this goal and bring awareness to sportsmen's efforts to help those in need." 

WHAT: Hunt.Fish.Feed.SM Twin Cities

WHO: Expecting to serve over 350 nutritious meals to those in need

WHERE: Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Center
                 183 Old 6th Street
                 St. Paul, MN 55102

WHEN: Sunday, February 28, 2010, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

DONATE: Visit the HFF website and click on "Donate."  www.huntfishfeed.org

MORE INFORMATION: Join the conversation about Hunt.Fish.Feed. online at http://facebook.com/huntfishfeed and http://twitter.com/huntfishfeed.

If you have extra venison to share, please consider helping out this worthwhile cause by donating it for this event or to your local food shelf.

I plan on being there this Sunday to volunteer and to meet many other sportsmen giving generously of their time and their harvested game/fish resources. This is a great community service project reflecting both a positive image on all hunters and fishermen while at the same time showing how a charitable component truly exists within our outdoor sports.

Discovering a cure for spring fever

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: February 15, 2010 - 11:31 AM

I didn't realize it at the time, but I made a mistake about three weeks ago. I purchased a new boat, motor and trailer in anticipation for an early spring. It seemed like a logical purchase at that moment, but ever since that wonderful day the snow just keeps piling up.

Indeed, somehow the spring season seems to be less imminent with each passing day. What I now have come to realize is that buying a new summertime outdoor toy during the dead of winter can give a person an extreme case of the winter blahs.

Oh, sure, I could go out and participate in various ice-fishing activities that are going on strong right now. I could even strap on the snowshoes and trek out for some fabulous predator hunting going on during this time of the year. Of course, that’s not the point…all I yearn to be doing is sitting in my new boat, playing with the electronics and catching fish in warmer weather. I want winter to end!

Glancing up at the calendar it’s depressing to see the Minnesota Fishing Opener is still 89 days away. For that matter, Minnesota’s average ice-out date doesn’t come until AFTER the April tax deadline. Granted, I could likely find open water on the river system if I looked for it…but the point remains it’s still winter and this year it has seemed like an unusually long one.

As I sit on the tractor blowing snow I day-dream what it will eventually be like to make waves on the water rather than snow piles along my driveway. As I struggle to pull heavy snows off the roof of my house I pause occasionally to image what it will be like to reel up that nice late-summer muskie. Somehow, sore muscles after a day of casting has a quite different feel to it than aching muscles as a result of moving heavy, wet snow.

There’s just no doubt about it this winter needs to end soon. After all, for many of us it got started early in October with only a few teaser periods of nice weather thereafter. And now with the football season officially over, these next several weekends can be relentlessly long and boring.

So, is there a magical cure for dealing with spring fever? No, but like any ailment manifesting itself in your body, I’ve found there is a prescription that works for me to reduce the psychological discomfort. Perhaps best of all…you don’t even need to visit your doctor to seek relief.

My recommendation: Turn on the TV and check out some of the great outdoors programming to be found on both cable and on local channels. If nothing else, these programs can suck you in and at least take your mind off of not being out there doing it yourself.

Ever since my youth when I would watch the likes of Virgil Ward, Roland Martin and eventually Winkelman and the Lindners…TV has served as great medicine for chasing the wintertime blues.

I must admit…fishing vicariously with any of these legendary TV fishermen doesn’t eclipse actually being out on the water in your own boat. Not even close. But when the alternative is to go outside and shovel the sidewalk…well, hand me the remote please. I need another dose of outdoors video comfort to get me by just a few more weeks until this situation will surely pass.

Related Items Worthy of Note

This past week Sportsman Channel began airing in High Definition (HD) on DISH Network, channels 285 and 9483(HD). Also, the Sportsman Channel, in honor of President’s Day, is asking viewers to vote in their online poll to determine which of 8 Great Sporting Presidents would you rather spend a day in the woods with. Learn about these great Presidents and then be sure to vote on your favorite.



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