Volume 122, Number 2
Olson recognized as Mr. Township 2005
A surprised Ralph Olson of Maddock received ND Township Officers Assocation’s most prestigious award, Mr. Township 2005, at its annual meeting in December.
Bob Forward, the presenter of the award, explained that it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise considering the effort Olson has put forth to serve the state association and the county associations in his district.
No other director of the state association has led as many organizational attempts, defenses of townships in his district or as many discussions at the state level on behalf of District 2 township officers, Forward said. His trips to the ND State Legislature and interim committees to defend state and local township policies may not be as well known in his home area, but they stand out boldly on a state level. Being president of the Benson County Township Officers is a task that he carries out proudly as he defends his lifelong friends and neighbors. Traditionally, a nomination for this award comes from people in a township. This year, no one was nominated, so the state township board chose Olson as the most deserving.
Olson’s activities as a township supervisor, chairman of the Benson County Township Officers Association and district director of the state organization are not the only volunteer activities Olson does. Neighboring districts call on him for everything from seeking ideas and brainstorming, to being an arbitrator in disputes. Besides township work, he was always there for his neighbors — fixing wells in all weather, pulling calves and helping with farming. He has been a church leader and has successfully guided his parish (Immanuel north of Maddock) through all sorts of controversy. The thousands of dollars that have benefited area people and causes through Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL), which is now Thrivent, are due to him.
He heard about AAL’s fraternalism in another area, and soon organized a branch network in this area and became an influential volunteer, training and guiding branch leaders for AAL throughout North Dakota. His success has been enhanced and supported by an equally deserving wife Louise, as she is a powerful volunteer in her own right.
THE RALPH OLSON PHOTO GOES WITH NEWS ITEM OLSON RECOGNIZED AS MR. TOWNSHIP 2005.
Key to ice fishing is to find fishing spots in summer
BY MIKE MCFEELY
The Forum (Fargo, ND)
Scott Larson drove his pickup onto the Minnewaukan Flats of Devils Lake, past a handful of other fish houses, seemingly into the middle of nowhere on the barren, white icescape. A few minutes after drilling some holes through the 18 inches of ice and setting up portable fish houses, it was obvious Larson hadn’t taken his fishing partners to the middle of nowhere. The professional angler from West Fargo pulled a walleye out of the lake. Not a big fish, perhaps 10 inches, but a walleye nonetheless.
“When I’m up here in the summer, I’ll specifically take a day or two and move around in my boat to find spots I want to fish in the winter,” Larson said. “Last August I took a day — maybe five or six hours — marking this area with my GPS, finding the drop-offs. It’s extremely tough to do that on the ice, so I do it in the summer and come back to the spot in the winter.
GPS is the saving grace.” For the next several hours, Larson’s homework led to action that
was steady if not spectacular for a trio of anglers that included Mike Miller of WDAY-TV’s “The Great Outdoors.” They caught about 15 walleyes and two sassy northern pike in the 6-pound range. It served as a reminder that while Devils Lake gets much attention for its world-class winter perch fishing, the walleye fishing remains strong through the ice on the 104,000-acre lake.
“Actually, a large percentage of our customers are content fishing for walleye,” said Jason Mitchell, who operates Mitchell’s Guide Service on Devils Lake. “Perch get much of the attention and when the fishing
is good, it’s really good. But the perch bite can also be very, very tough at times, as well. The beauty of Devils Lake is that when the perch fishing is difficult, the walleye or pike will often pick up the slack. We believe the walleye and pike fishing is one of the best-kept secrets.” For Larson, walleyes have always been the attraction at Devils Lake. He grew up in Aneta, N.D., and fished the lake often growing up. Now 33 and a pro fisherman for nearly a decade, he considers Devils Lake his home water despite living in West Fargo.
The lake’s been good to Larson. His best finishes as a pro have come on Devils Lake, including a third-place finish in a 2001 RCL tournament. Larson said he ice fishes Devils Lake about 30 times every winter and at times has spectacular success. One day last winter, Larson said he and another angler caught walleyes weighing 10, 8 and 6 pounds. The key, Larson stressed, is finding fish and fishing spots during the open-water season. Larson said he tries to get to Devils Lake in late October or early November to locate fish. Those walleyes will often stay in the same area through December and early January after the lake freezes over. For anglers unfamiliar with Devils Lake, Larson suggests purchasing a good contour map of the lake and trying obvious walleye spots like points, rock piles and humps.
A bonus on Devils Lake — although some anglers might not see it that way is a population of good-sized pike. It’s almost certain if you’re fishing walleyes with jigging spoons or minnows that you’ll hook a pike.
Many weigh 5 pounds or better, with some ranging up to 10 pounds.
“They’ll be mixed right in with the walleyes,” Larson said. “But the good thing on Devils Lake is that it doesn’t take long for the walleyes to come back even if there’s a pike in the area. On some lakes, once you start catching northerns you’re better off picking up and moving because the walleyes will have moved out. But that’s not true on Devils Lake, so don’t shy away from a spot if you catch a couple of northerns.”
Randy Hiltner, a North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologist at Devils Lake, said the walleye population in the lake is healthy. He said there are good numbers of little fish coming up with strong classes of 17- to 19-inch walleyes.
“Our creel survey that we conducted from May to September indicated there were more than 200,000 walleyes harvested on Devils Lake,” Hiltner said. “There were lots of 13- to 18-inch fish. As long as we continue to pull off a good spawn every couple of years, the walleye population in Devils Lake will continue to be in good shape.” Hiltner, too, said walleyes and pike offer a good alternative for perch anglers who run into a tough bite.
“In recent years, Devils Lake has become more of a destination fishing lake. People go up there to catch some perch and maybe come away with some walleyes and some pike, too,” Hiltner said. “Everybody wants to go up there and drive away with a bucket of big perch, but that’s not going to happen all that often. The walleye and pike offer some diversity.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike McFeely at (701) 241-5580. This story originally appeared in the Sunday, Jan. 15 issue of The Forum.
Scott Larson of West Fargo hauls a 6-pound northern pike through the ice of Devils Lake. Larson says he fishes Devils Lake about 30 times every winter with great success. (Forum photo)
Farmers Union ladies take bus trip to old home, winery, garment factory
and end the day with a Greek supper Ladies from the Benson County and Pierce County Farmers Union enjoyed a “Valentine Extravaganza” one-day bus trip to points of interest in North Dakota on Saturday, Feb. 12.
The trip began with a tour of the Point of View Winery in Burlington where the ladies experienced the art of wine making and also visited the wine tasting room. At Russell they visited a restored three-story Victorian home where they had noon lunch complete with three layer desserts (tortes), scones and a
variety of cookies and shortcakes from Europe accompanied by dinner music and entertainment.
The three-story home came complete with a hostess on each floor to show the ladies around, tell them the history of the home and how it came to be Green Gables and to share some stories of the teacups some of the ladies had brought with them.
Area artists provided music and displayed paintings and floral arrangements. These were all available for purchase. North Dakota Farmers Union field staff member Kathy Knatterud explained why the ND Farmers Union would like to see country-of-origin labeling (COOL) enforced. She said in light of the recent cases of mad cow disease in Canada and the USDA planning to open the border to Canadian cattle on March
7, legislators should be contacted to enforce the law. North Dakota lawmakers passed COOL into law in 1999 and to date very few retailers are abiding by it.
When given the choice, Farmers Union believes people will buy American beef rather than beef from Honduras or Romania. Those are just two of the 35 countries that currently import beef into the US. Today consumers don’t know where the beef they are buying comes from. They assume it is of US origin, but that very likely may not be the case. A USDA-inspected stamp on meat does not necessarily mean the meat itself is of US origin. Farmers Union wants mandatory COOL implemented because consumers deserve to know where their food comes from and American ranchers and farmers deserve to be rewarded for the high quality of food they produce. She urged the ladies to write letters, call or e-mail their legislators as well as US Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and US President George Bush and ask them to enforce COOL.
The next stop was a tour of Deva Lifewear at Westhope. Here the ladies learned about the garment industry from designing patterns, cutting fabric, packing and shipping and the complications caused by 911 in the garment industry. They were told that since a lot of their business is done overseas, especially with purchasing their fabrics, that it has been a lot more difficult to get what they want when they need it. Deva Lifewear is a catalogue order company and employs about 22 employees in-house and about the same number of people who do home sewing. After the tour the ladies enjoyed shopping through the garment racks seeing who could find the best bargain. The last stop was in Rolette at the Village Inn Caf? for a Greek supper. The ladies enjoyed Greek salad and Greek chicken and beef kabobs.
Ladies on the tour relax at Green Gables
Left to right are Marie Williams, Eunice Peterson, Darlene Jorgenson, Joyce McKinzie and Diane Sanderson.
An elegant lunch was served to the ladies at Green Gables.
Students send valentines
Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at the Minnewaukan School colored valentine bears to send to veterans at the VA Medical Center in Fargo. They also sent a copy of the verse that the kindergarten students say each school day before they say the Pledge of Allegiance. Left to right, back row, are: Haley Hewitt, Aiana Richotte, Angela Young, Evan Thompson, Brett O’Connell, ShayLynn Martin, James Lovejoy Jr. and LaShay Martin. Middle row: Bryer Erickson, Will Chaske, Brandon Alberts, Talissa Ami, Larissa Fox and Mayan Fox. Front row: Malia Brien, Cody Walen, Joran RedFox, Brenn Alberts and Xavier Lenoir. Teachers are Kristy Hewitt and LaVae Haaland.
Residents of the Maddock Memorial Home crowned their Valentine’s Day King Leroy Garnaas and Queen Fern Rogness by drawing names from hats. The crowning took place during a Valentine’s Day dinner of tossed salad, steak, twice baked potatoes, garlic toast and cupcakes for dessert. The royalty had a table for two with everyone dining on fine china.