Staff Directory 6370563

Tony Kennedy

Reporter | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4213

Tony Kennedy is an outdoors writer covering Minnesota news about fishing, hunting, wildlife, conservation, camping, natural resource management, public land, forests and water.


T"A Minnesota native, Kennedy lives in the Twin Cities and on land surrounding a Driftless Area trout stream. Previously, he was an investigative reporter at the Star Tribune, an Associated Press newsman and a beat writer covering the environment, aviation, state politics and police. His journalism career started at Marquette University, a small-town newspaper in Indiana and The St. Cloud Times. Kennedy's wife is an inner-city kindergarten teacher and their two boys are crazy about hockey and the outdoors.
Recent content from Tony Kennedy
A 10-point buck with velvet antlers in summer. Minnesota deer hunters will notice new regulations next week when the DNR releases its rule book for th

CWD reaches a new northern limit with discovery of deer disease in Beltrami County

Discovery on Beltrami County farm threatens animals on tribal lands.
State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen’s panel has altered a list of 2019 projects recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources th

Senate panel again tries to alter wildlife habitat projects with constitutional backing

2019 projects tied to lottery proceeds are cut and lumped into bill.
“Rough fish” include bullheads, carp, suckers, and dogfish (low-oxygen tolerant fish species).

DNR pushes for new respect of Minnesota's rough fish

Agency wants to reverse culture of disrespect with targeted new campaign.
Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs will be tightly controlled and conservatively managed for the foreseeable future to avoid unplanned closures needed in r

Walleye harvest a central topic as DNR lays out Mille Lacs plan

The agency's higher goal over the next five years is to maximize fishing opportunity, including catch-and-release.
Unlike last year, anglers will get to keep a walleye early in the season.

Mille Lacs anglers will get to keep a walleye early in the season

Early season anglers on Mille Lacs will be allowed a one-walleye bag limit this year before the season shifts to catch-and-release regulations in June.
Finding their freedom outdoors

Finding their freedom outdoors

These Minnesotans went into the wild for different reasons, but all have experienced unmistakable awe.
The sun illuminated a dramatic palisade on South Fowl Lake Friday night near the dam.

What makes a great trip to the BWCA — from the experts

A trip into the million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for a long weekend is a must. So, too, are gaining some skills and taking on a longer adventure.
The Department of Natural Resources plans to enlist hunters again to provide deer spleens for study.

DNR says it will look harder at insecticides' effect on Minnesota deer

Discussions already have begun with wildlife officials in North Dakota to collaborate on a research paper showing dispersal of the chemicals in deer from both states.
A nice walleye caught on Lake Mille Lacs. On Wednesday, the DNR heard recommendations on early-season walleye limits from a panel.

One-walleye limit proposed on Mille Lacs for early-season anglers

For the remainder of the year, walleye fishing would be limited to catch and release with a two-week closure in July
Most of the hatchery-raised lake trout stocked by Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff in mine pit lakes in the Crosby-Ironton area are yea

Accidental lake trout spawned expansion in Crosby area mine lakes

Stocking mishap on Cuyuna mine lake has started dedicated effort in Crosby area.
Gunflint Lake was frozen and snow covered with a view into Canada on Monday, February 1, 2021. ]

Gunflint Trail's backwoods living is still a draw; so, too, is a fast internet

Of all that has changed over centuries along the Gunflint Trail, the greeting that pines whisper to old-timers and newcomers alike has been constant.
Hundreds of anglers ply the Mississippi River near Red Wing in spring to seek walleyes amd saiger that swim upstream from Lake Pepin to spawn.

Good old days are now for Lake Pepin perch and walleye anglers

Consecutive years of high water during spawning have helped walleye, too.
CBoys member Ben Roth takes his share of spills during the filming of YouTube videos, but he excels at riding wheelies of all types.

With throttles wide open, small-town 'CBoys' achieve YouTube stardom

Five young gear heads regale YouTube with daring thrills and spills.
Sunfish, bluegills and crappies — collectively known as panfish — are the most sought-after finned species in Minnesota.

Plan to raise bluegill numbers by lowering bag limits gaining support

DNR is pinpointing lakes for growing sunfish populations.
Eelpout destined for a ‘pout fry at the 2017 Eelpout Festival.

Harvest season possible for eelpout, a fish on the rise

Research shows vulnerability; first bag limit possible in 2022.
Held-up outdoors projects, issues piled high for Minnesota lawmakers

Held-up outdoors projects, issues piled high for Minnesota lawmakers

Minnesota legislators who care about fish, wildlife and other natural resources are poised for a five-month session expected to be dominated by fiscal matters and COVID-19 precautions.
This busy scene from Upper Red Lake on opening day of the 2020 walleye season foreshadowed a statewide surge in fishing and greater participation in m

When so much else slumped in 2020, nature took off

The outdoors lured new participants in 2020.
Craig Ihrke with a buck he arrowed this fall.

'Like a prion bomb': Chronic wasting disease mystery hits near La Crescent

DNR and landowners search for answers for hot spot near La Crescent.
Benjamin Knutson of Inver Grove Heights had spent years trying to catch a giant muskie. Fishing Mille Lacs on Nov. 25, he finally landed his first, a

Epic muskie day lifts young fishing guide into rare air

Benjamin Knutson achieved the inconceivable by landing two 50-inch muskies on the same outing on Mille Lacs.
Lacey Lupien, 33, of Lancaster, Minn., with the giant elk she shot 3 miles from her home in Kittson County. She harvested the bull in August, and it w

Bull elk is second-largest on record taken in Minnesota

The 7-by-8 rack with a gross score of 380 and a net score of a little more than 367 is now the second-largest Minnesota elk scored for the Boone and Crockett conservation club.
Ron Lindner, fishing with his granddaughter in 2009.

Ron Lindner, who founded a family fishing empire, dies at 86

Lindner, of Brainerd, described himself as a daydreamer but worked obsessively as a salesman, fishing guide, inventor, educator, storyteller, outdoors pioneer and ambassador.
Jake Gonse, 16, of Anoka, felled this monster 12-pointer in Houston County on opening morning. His grandfather, retired Star Tribune outdoors columnis

Minnesota deer opener was poor for harvest and CWD sampling

Harvest down nearly a third from last year; weather cited.
Zeb McInerny with his 13-year-old daughter, Ella, on Friday afternoon outside their home in rural Rockford. The family won a hunting license lottery f

Father, daughter, deer: 'Such a good opportunity'

Forty-six Minnesota state parks were closed this weekend to hold deer hunts of one sort or another. Afton's hunt is one of 15 set aside for youths.
Minnesota deer camps will have a different feel in some places because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Into the woods: Deer hunting camps will have different feel this season

Many families will be altering their traditions this weekend as Minnesota's deep season starts."Everybody hates it, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do.''
When chronic wasting disease testing was mandatory last year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sampled 18,571 deer.

CWD surveillance collapsing from a majority of hunters' indifference to testing

Not enough hunters are volunteering their deer for testing, challenging disease researchers.
One of the 1,300 spruce tree tops the agency recently seized from alleged thieves who entered a public forest without a harvest permit to cut and sell

'Thieving in the woods': DNR officers try to corral spruce top pirates

Conservation officers have turned up at least 15,000 pieces headed for back-channel selling.
The survey overestimated last year’s duck harvest in Minnesota.

Small game survey shows greater hunting success for pheasants, grouse

Minnesota small game hunters enjoyed a higher rate of success for most species last year, including pheasants, according to the annual survey conducted by the Department of Natural Resources.
Trevor Montez, center, steered his mud boat through a backwater on the Mississippi River on his family’s return from the state duck season opener no

Duck-crazy Cottage Grove family lives to hunt

In an era when conservationists and wildlife managers are yearning for an injection of youth to reverse a decades-long decline in waterfowl hunting, Tyler, Trevor, Travis and 16-year-old Tanner Montez are bucking the trend.
Hunters hunkered in cover and waited for ducks to arrive near the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Weaver, Minn.

Judging from opener, Minnesota is seeing a revival of duck hunting

Counter to recent years, stamp sales are up and reports are positive.
Off-highway vehicle use in Minnesota, like that among ATVs, has increased since the pandemic hit.

Fatal mix: More off-road vehicles, reckless drivers create surge in deaths

So far this year, an unprecedented surge in ATV ridership across Minnesota has led to 20 fatal accidents — more deaths than the state normally sees in a year.
A walleye caught on Mille Lacs earlier this year.

Fall walleye fishing on Mille Lacs after July shutdown is successful

Walleye harvest by state-licensed anglers totaled 64,339 pounds through August; the 2020 allotment was 87,800 pounds.
Phased logging has proven to be a great way to improve habitat for wildlife like grouse.

Ruffed Grouse Society project would improve Minnesota's degrading hunter walking trails

Ruffie group's push for trail upgrades comes as hunter numbers decline.
Lucky 7 Bear Bait supplies hunters with sweets rejected for human consumption.

How sweet it is: Cambridge couple lead the nation in bear bait trade

Walk-up sales at the nation's biggest provider of bulk bear bait are just a fraction of overall operations, but Jen Carlson and her husband, Cory, enjoy their customers' hunting tales and bear photos as much now as they did 21 years ago.
Don Pereira, the former fisheries chief for the state of Minnesota, joined a multi-species fishing club after his retirement. The Waterdogs have been

Old-school Waterdogs stick to the ways of their fishing club

Founded by two conservation-minded anglers who wanted to bond with fishermen who would "take to the water like dogs," the old-school club is thriving after 38 years
In this photo from 2013, DNR biologists Steve Merchant, left, and Lou Cornicelli talk about the decline in Minnesota's moose population.

Minnesota DNR's top wildlife scientist departs agency

Lou Cornicelli led the state's effort to stop chronic wasting disease in deer.
Fishing guide Matt Quick of St. Michael distributed tackle and other gear to, clockwise from bottom, Andy Schneider, Jake Gundry and Josh Cocking.

A little fishing tackle goes a long way after kids' stolen gear replenished

Someone stole the fishing gear of three 12-year-olds in St. Michael, but a pro fishing guide led an effort to replenish it.
Theories abound on how Canada’s closed border will affect duck hunting this year. People seem to be in agreement that thousands of Americans will tr

With Canada closed, duck hunters will pile into North Dakota this year

Heading north to Canada likely is not an option, so Minnesota waterfowlers are expected, in large numbers, to try North Dakota instead.
YMCA’s Camp Menogyn does more than lead teens on wilderness trips into the Boundary Waters. Guides also train campers for backpacking, paddling and

YMCA cuts affecting Camp Menogyn and Camp Widjiwagan cause controversy

Glen Gunderson, chief executive president of the nonprofit association, has successfully allayed some fears that the YMCA could be losing interest in camping. But his strong reassurances haven't ended the controversy.
Kevin Nelson led a tour at the Kettle Falls Hotel in Voyageurs National Park, a site to benefit from new federal funding.

Minnesota's outdoor gems stand to gain from landmark government act

Voyageurs Park Superintendent Bob DeGross said the blockbuster act raises hopes for restoration of many undeveloped historic sites inside the boundaries of Minnesota's leading national park property.
Deer head drop boxes like this one in southeastern Minnesota have become a fixture during recent deer hunts

DNR changes deer test process in CWD zones, has other new regulations

Illnesses affecting humans and animals drive many adjustments.
Flood waters overtook the intersection of 12th and Florence Street in Baldwin, Wis. in the early hours of June 29.

Rush River trout ride out damaging flood in western Wisconsin

Even young trout survived as did most stream banks.
Liaison Ray Ruiz brings a fresh urban perspective and zeal to his DNR job. He also appears to have the hookup on landing bass on the Mississippi River

Fishing in the city: DNR's Ruiz shows off hotspots near downtown

Ray Ruiz's job with the Department of Natural Resources is to work with diverse metro area community groups to increase participation in fishing.
A buoy at the lakeshore in Angle Inlet. The marker matches the design of its "sister" buoy in Key West, Fla.

It's not an easy trek, but Angle Inlet still can be reached

The temporary closure of Canada's border has cut off the only land route to Angle Inlet. For now, nearly all traffic is by boat. The routes vary from 30 to 50 miles long and can be dangerous if ill-equipped or inexperienced.
Turkey hunting increased this spring, but groups like the National Wild Turkey Federation are hurting financially. The group laid off 51 employees thi

Pandemic has harmed fundraisers that conservation groups depend on

Despite the surge in hunting and fishing during the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesota's wildlife conservation groups are retrenching to cope with a fundraising crisis.
Mille Lacs walleye

Fishing has been bonkers: On Mille Lacs, lots of anglers and walleyes

The head-spinning measurements of activity on the lake, as reported in the most recent DNR data, mesh with reports by fishing guides, bait store owners and conservation officers.
Collin Cody of Grand Rapids learned to captain a drift boat on the trout rivers of Colorado before moving back to his home state.

Collin Cody and his drift boat guide others to fly fish on Mississippi

The teacher leverages his passion for fly fishing and drifting into a unique Minnesota guide service.

DNR pivots on fishing tournaments: Live weigh-ins allowed

Previous outdoor recreation guidelines set by the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health prohibited live weigh-ins.
A wild elk herd in northwestern Minnesota crossed grassland. The Department of Natural Resources is working with the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior

Far from done, but a comeback plan for elk north of Hinckley advances

Project taken up by DNR and Fond du Lac Band could include moving some elk to Hinckley area.
Vickie Jones led the processing line at Mohn Fish Market on a recent day. Her father, Ralph Mohn, is at the end of the line. The family business was f

Twin Cities appetites keeping Mississippi River fish market alive

At least 85% of the daily catch at Mohn Fish Market is purchased by retailers along University Avenue in St. Paul and in other Asian enclaves in the metro area.
Paul McEnroe in 2009. The longtime investigative journalist, who worked 35 years for the Star Tribune, has died at age 69.

Paul McEnroe, legendary Minnesota investigative journalist, dies at 69

McEnroe developed an unrivaled trove of sources ranging from hotel bellhops to federal judges to strangers to break news around the world.
Jon Stravers listened for cerulean warblers on a backwater of the Mississippi River near his home in McGregor, Iowa. Stravers is a free-sprited, indep

Stravers serves as eyes and ears of the Driftless Area

Researcher "Hawk Daddy" is part of restoration effort near southeast part of state.
Fishermen competed in the Hmong Bass Fishing Tournament on the St. Croix River. Organizers of the long-held event canceled it this year. That’s the

Fish on: More than 250 tournaments in Minnesota still on as planned

The tournaments are going forward in Minnesota this season despite significant rule changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Venizon bratwurst.

Sale of wild venison over the counter brings criminal charges

Two-year case centered on a butcher who owns a Circle Pines meat shop.
Minnesota’s 2020 walleye stamp was created by Mapleton artist Josh Evan. Purchasing the $5 stamp is voluntary.

Sales of walleye stamp spike 60%, proceeds go to stocking fingerlings

"It's great to see and it could still be higher," said Jim Bedell of Hackensack, a longtime citizen volunteer member of the state walleye management committee.
Daniel Belous, 15, held up a smallmouth bass he’d just caught Wednesday night at the Rum River Dam in Anoka He was released it after measuring it an

New angling generation: Boom in licenses for teens adds to opener

Through Tuesday, the DNR had sold more than 13,000 fishing licenses for Minnesota youngsters who are 16 and 17. That's an increase of 99 percent for the same period in 2019.
Fishermen on Lake of the Woods.

Can't do much else? Minnesota fishing license sales are exploding

Local bait shop owners are thinking that Minnesotans, including a lot of youngsters, are turning to fishing to fill a void left by the closure of organized sports.
Sunfish, bluegills and crappies — collectively known as panfish — are the most sought-after finned species in Minnesota.

Anglers should consider alternative waters and species on fishing opener

Staying close for next week's Minnesota fishing opener? Plan for crowds and consider alternative spots and species.
Launches like the one run by Twin Pines Resort on Lake Mille Lacs were shut down by pandemic safety concerns.

Pandemic fishing rules spread suffering to Minnesota guides, charters and launches

Guided trips, charters and launches are shut down.
Walleye fishing has been allowed continuously on the Mississippi River, but the governor’s order Friday will loosen some restrictions on outdoor act

Shooting ranges, game farms, bait shops can open in Minnesota

Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order Friday expanding outdoor recreation in the state.
DNR fisheries biologists and other staff trap walleyes in the spring to produce eggs that eventually will be stocked as fry or fingerlings.

DNR cancels fish egg-collecting operations owing to close-contact work

State fisheries officials have canceled all egg-taking operations this spring for all species of fish, a decision that will immediately affect walleye stocking on 330 lakes.
Crystal Springs Hatchery Supervisor Luke Jadwin.

Coronavirus concerns extend to traditional spring fish egg-taking, stocking in Minnesota

Already this spring, South Dakota, Michigan and Indiana have chosen not to conduct egg-take operations. In North Dakota and Wisconsin, operations will be reduced.
Vados Bait & Tackle co-owner Eric Stokes, in protective gloves, did business with customers outside the shop Thursday. He said currently business revo

What will this year's fishing opener look like? 'Let's see what happens'

Even though the celebratory Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is canceled, the walleye and northern pike season is set to open as planned next month.
Highway 61 leads travelers along the North Shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth to Grand Marais and the (now closed) Canadian border.

Anglers pondering whether to travel to fishing places where residents don't want visitors

Thousands of anglers across Minnesota and Wisconsin are having to decide whether to travel or stay home.
It’s relaxing to have private time fishing in a river while maintaining social distancing to the max.

What does 'stay at home' mean for life in Minnesota's outdoors?

In places such as Red Wing, where spring walleye fishing already is booming on the Mississippi River, the mental health benefits already are obvious.
As the ice melts off the northern edge of Minnesota and the walleye begin their run to bite everything they can to fatten up before spawning season, d

'Walleye capital' Baudette, county close boat ramps to Rainy River amid crisis

Closures are attempt to keep coronavirus out of the border region.
The long-awaited overhaul of Marsh Lake in southern Minnesota is finally complete after years of work that included rerouting the Pomme de Terre River

Feds, state putting the marsh back in Marsh Lake

A plan 20 years in the works is bringing life and wildlife back to the lake in far western Minnesota.
The new grant will sustain existing Walk-In Access agreements in Minnesota.

Grant will give Minnesota hunters more room for 'walk-in access'

The hunting privileges on 28,000 acres of private land would have expired without an infusion of cash to extend the state's agreements with landowners.
This walleye was caught on Lake Mille Lacs in 2015.

Mille Lacs walleye fishing won't allow for keepers this year

Even worse this year for state-licensed anglers is that catch-and-release opportunities will cease in July under a one-month closure.
The upcoming Northwest Sportshow at the Minneapolis Convention Center (the children's fishing pond is shown from 2015) was canceled because of the COV

Outdoors world not immune to COVID-19 effects

Fly Fishing Expo, Northwest Sportshow canceled; Turkey Classic started, stopped.
Taxpayers paid more than $500,000 for deer farm buyouts the last three years

Taxpayers paid more than $500,000 for deer farm buyouts the last three years

$129,000 in Minnesota last year eclipsed prior two years combined.

Minnesota and Wisconsin unite fishing regulations on Mississippi River

New limits are more restrictive to protect populations of walleyes, crappie and others.
Photo of Asian carp caught in the Mississippi River near Winona, Minn., by commercial fishermen.

Solution for a scourge? U scientist progressing with invasive carp-killer tool

Sam Erickson, a 25-year-old University of Minnesota researcher, plans to produce batches of male carp that would destroy the eggs of female carp during spawning season.
A $25 surcharge would be added for nonresidents to hunt or fish in South Dakota under a bill that has moved to the governor's desk.

$25 wildlife stamp likely for out-of-state hunters and anglers in South Dakota

Backed by outdoors people and groups, the surcharge for nonresidents would raise nearly $6 million per year.
Whitetail deer

CWD threat prompts deer-feeding ban in seven more Minn. counties

Expansion is related to discoveries last year of chronic wasting disease at captive deer facilities.
In western Minnesota, Lac qui Parle County is known for its wildlife habitat.

Fight over land sale to DNR moves to court in western Minnesota

Landowner who wants to sell is suing Lac qui Parle County.