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 Events

Weekend events expose youths to outdoor fun

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: July 29, 2009 - 12:36 AM

Tri-State Outdoor Festival

Are you looking for some inexpensive fun for the entire family this coming weekend?   Consider attending the Tri-State Outdoor Festival being held in St. Charles, Minnesota—just a short two-hour drive southeast from the Twin Cities.

This second annual event is primarily for kids designed to introduce them to new outdoor activities.   Daily skill events include many hunting and fishing related games, such as: air rifle range, BB gun/slingshot shoot, skeet simulation, trout pond, rock climbing wall, fly-fishing obstacle course, kids archery shoot, tomahawk throw, plus much more.

While the festival emphasizes youth outdoor activities, there will also be over 100 vendor booths on hand promoting a wide array of hunting and fishing related items.   There’s even a 3D pop-up archery course for adults, so don’t leave home without your bow.   For more information: www.tri-stateoutdoorfestival.com or on Facebook.

DATES: July 31, Aug. 1&Aug. 2 (Friday thru Sunday)

TIME: 2pm – 8pm (Friday)
        10am – 8pm (Saturday)
        noon – 6pm (Sunday)

LOCATION: Winona County Fairgrounds (St. Charles, Minnesota)
                 (Click HERE for a map/directions)

COST: Free (Children 15 and younger)
          $8 (Individuals 16 and older)

Trailblazer Adventure Expo

This year Game Fair will play host to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s youth learning program known as Trailblazer Adventure.   This national program expects thousands of Twin Cities’ area youth, along with their families, will participate in various outdoor skill challenges, such as: archery, shooting sports, game calling, and more.   Participants must go from stage to stage experiencing hands-on what makes each outdoor activity so much fun.   Upon conclusion of the challenge, all youths will be eligible for a prize drawing awarding outdoor equipment to several lucky kids.

Game Fair is celebrating its 28th year in 2009 having grown into the largest, pre-hunting, family participation event in the country.   With hundreds of exhibitors and dozens of seminar speakers, this event has become an annual tradition for many sporting families from throughout the Upper Midwest.   For more information: www.GameFair.com or on Facebook.

DATES: Aug. 7, Aug. 8&Aug. 9 (Friday thru Sunday)
           Aug. 14, Aug. 15 & Aug. 16 (Friday thru Sunday)

TIME: 9am – 6pm (Daily)

LOCATION: Armstrong Ranch Kennel (Anoka, Minnesota)
                 (Click HERE for a map/directions)

COST: Free (Children 6 and younger)
          $5 (Children over 6)
          $8 (Senior Citizens)
         $10 (Adults)
     (Click HERE for a printable discount coupon for admission)

Join the fishing opener fun on Twitter

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: May 6, 2009 - 9:17 PM

This weekend Minnesota anglers from throughout the state (actually, the world) will be able to keep up with the fishing action simply by reaching for their cell phones.   That’s right, if you’re the tech savvy type who enjoys texting on the cell phone nearly as much as jigging a shiner, this blog post might be right up your alley.

Introducing Twitter.com, the wildly popular social networking service that allows you to function from either your computer or a mobile device, such as a cell phone.   Consider it somewhat like a mini blog requiring the user to post information containing 140 characters or less, sometimes even including a picture.   With an estimated 14 million current users, Twitter has become one of the hottest websites on the Internet with daily traffic often ranking it in the top 25.

So how do you use it?   Well, best of all everything is FREE.   To join Twitter and start “tweeting” (the lingo for posting a message) all you need is an e-mail address and a little time to set up some basic information about yourself.   Then you start “following” people and posting an occasional message.   HINT:  One of the best ways to figure out who to follow is to observe someone sharing similar interests and watch who they follow.   Simply click on the “follow” button and soon you’ll be reading all the tweets made by that person.   Keep in mind to tweet from your mobile device you’ll have to take some additional steps in the set-up process.

Sound too confusing?   Not interested in joining?   No problem there, either.   If you’re willing to forego posting pictures of yourself holding that lunker walleye, you can still use Twitter.   For instance, I will be tweeting from www.twitter.com/jim7226 and you can follow my messages just by linking.   My plans are to start detailing my Minnesota Fishing Opener experience near Bemidji beginning on Friday morning.

Yet, don’t just follow me.   If you want to read about how other Minnesota anglers are doing and reporting their fishing results on Twitter, go to this website: www.search.twitter.com and simply type in the search block #mnfishopener as your query.   On Twitter the words or characters preceded by the #(hash sign) are considered hashtags.   By inserting a hashtag somewhere within your posted Twitter message it allows other people searching to easily find your relevant comments.   In other words, performing a search as I just described should result in reading tweets made by everyone pertaining only to the Minnesota Fishing Opener.

The key is if you’re using Twitter and you want your tweet to be found by others you must include the following hashtag #mnfishopener somewhere as part of each message.   Keep in mind you can also “follow” the Star Tribune’s Club Outdoors (www.Twitter.com/cluboutdoors) on Twitter to get the latest updates made to the website.

No doubt about it our polite society has come a long way since the days when Izaak Walton epitomized angling in its purest form.   Certainly using Twitter while dancing in the waves sitting in a Lund isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time.   Still, this year for those opening day anglers with a penchant for modern technology, it might be just another way to pass a little time once the fishing action becomes slow.

Anticipation grows as fishing opener draws near

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: April 29, 2009 - 1:09 PM

Fishing license…check!   New line spooled on the reels…check!   Tacklebox cleaned and decluttered…check!   Boat taken out of storage inspecting all critical components for operation…check!   Boat trailer serviced ensuring against any unpleasant surprises while driving to the lake…check!   Trip to local sporting goods store purchasing the latest gizmos and gadgets for fishing fun…check!   Snacks for munching on between fishing bites…check!

Indeed, with the Minnesota Fishing Opener just days away these are some busy, yet exciting times for Minnesota’s anglers.   In fact, often times the preparation phase leading up to the big day can be nearly as much fun as the opening day itself.

Whether plans are to drive just a few miles to the lake, or perhaps driving several hours northbound, the Minnesota Fishing Opener represents a much celebrated event for sportsmen located in all corners of our state.   For many of us, taking part in this annual piscatorial ritual is often even more important than catching a stringer full of walleye.

It’s about family and friends getting together after a long winter to renew a kindred outdoor spirit.   Oh sure, the goal is always to catch ‘ol glass eyes and to savor the fishy odor left on your hands…but during the opener “catching” fish is only part of the equation that measures a successful outing.   The other factor is simply sharing a boat or cabin with special friends who also cherish the annual spring fishing tradition.

Perhaps no other state in the country can claim what Minnesota has going for it.   Sure, other states have opening days of their fishing seasons, but in Minnesota when nearly a million anglers take to the waters on one single day…hey, now that’s something special.   Especially, considering that Minnesota is so geographically diverse that an angler near Faribault might be swatting mosquitoes during the day, while another angler near International Falls might still be navigating the boat around ice.

To many of us the tradition of taking part in the Minnesota Fishing Opener dates back to our childhoods.   Often, it was an experience such as the fishing opener that baptized a young child into the outdoor world.   Even decades later, the act of heading to the lake can still hold as much intrigue and excitement as it once did during those earlier years of life.

No doubt there are families and friends throughout Minnesota eager for the 2009 walleye fishing season to open statewide.   Some might claim the event signals the true arrival of spring here in Minnesota.   Others might use the event as nothing but an excuse to escape the usual chores associated with life.   No matter what the reason for participating, when the clock strikes midnight on Friday night the waiting ends and the fishing fun officially begins.

Let’s see.   Lake maps…check!   Personal flotation devices…check!   Landing net…check!   Camera…check!   Rainwear…check!   Polarized sunglasses…check!   Coffee thermos…check!   That’s it, let’s finally get this 2009 Minnesota walleye, sauger, northern pike and lake trout fishing seasons underway.



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