Joe Friedrichs

Joe Friedrichs holds a journalism degree from the University of Montana. He lives in a lakeside cabin near Grand Marais and hopes to one day land a brook trout “big enough to alter the course of humankind.”

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Recent Articles by Joe Friedrichs

Trout opener for Boundary Waters lakes rings in the New Year
posted on Monday, Nov 27, 2017
Boundary Waters—If catching trout hooks you on the idea of a party, then the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the place to be on New Year’s Eve. The winter season for trout on all lakes located entirely within the BWCAW opens Dec. 30 and runs through April 1, 2018. That means by New Year’s Eve, the fishing season will be open for more than 24 hours, giving anglers ample opportunity to ring in the holiday on the ice. “We usually have lots of cabin business that time of year,…

Drill, Sit, Jig: Ice Fishing
posted on Friday, Oct 27, 2017
If you’re looking for something unique to try on a first date this winter, ice fishing probably isn’t the place to start. After all, consider the scene: two people walking 500 yards through the blowing wind across a frozen lake near the Minnesota/Canadian border. They crunch through snow and eventually drop their gear and drill a hole in the ice. They set up a flimsy ice house that is essentially a wind breaker and sit inside. Then they sit. For hours…and hours. However, and perhaps oddly enough, this scene would…

Two Harbors keeps it fresh with community garden
posted on Monday, Aug 28, 2017
Two Harbors—When it comes to planting seeds in a community, longtime Two Harbors resident Marek Fuller believed in the roots of inspiration. And so it’s only suitable that a welcoming and productive community garden in Two Harbors now bears his name. “Marek was an activist for social change and improvement in Two Harbors,” said Michelle Miller, director of the Two Harbors Area Food Shelf and one of the volunteer coordinators of the garden. “After he passed away, his family approached the food shelf to create a community garden as a…

Minnesota wolf population remains stable
posted on Monday, Aug 28, 2017
North Shore—If consistency is a measure of success, Minnesota’s wolf population is doing just fine. Results from the most recent wolf population survey (released in August 2016) show no significant change in the state’s wolf population during the past four years, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The latest survey results estimate that within Minnesota’s wolf range there were 439 wolf packs and 2,278 wolves. This in comparison to 374 packs and 2,221 wolves the year before. There has been no biologically or statistically significant change in the…

The Business of Climbing Rocks
posted on Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017
I wasn’t sure where to put my left hand. For the first time since that awkward homecoming dance during my freshman year of high school—an event that featured the first slow dance of my life—I had no idea where my hand needed to be placed. And though the homecoming dance seemed important in the moment, this time I was rock climbing on a massive cliff at the end of the Gunflint Trail. And so my next move was important. My climbing guides, Matthew Baxley and Lindsey Gau, kept the situation…

Smallmouth Bass and a Fly Rod will change your Life
posted on Tuesday, Jul 25, 2017
Walleye. Lake trout. Trophy pike. Undoubtedly, these are the fish which lure anglers to the waters of the Northern Wilds. And yet, one fish and one specific means of catching said species remains the hidden gem of the region: fly fishing for smallmouth bass. Far too many anglers in Minnesota and Ontario dismiss smallmouth as pests, lacking as adequate table fare or simply as rogue garbage fish. What these same anglers overlook is the sheer joy that comes with catching smallmouth. They pull hard. They jump high. They are the…

Go fishing!
posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2017
If someone was looking for an excuse to not take a youngster fishing during the second weekend of June in northeastern Minnesota, geographic proximity to fishing holes would likely be the worst excuse imaginable. Take a Kid Fishing Weekend is fun for the whole family, held June 9-11 in Minnesota. | ROCKWOOD LODGE In fact, it would be a challenge to travel more than a mile or two in any given direction throughout the Northern Wilds and not be able to find a location to go fishing. From tiny streams holding…

How to Plan (But Not Overthink) a Successful Canoe Trip
posted on Wednesday, Mar 29, 2017
It’s finally happening: your first trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). You’ve secured the trip with a permit from the U. S. Forest Service. The adventure will launch from the entry point you spent hours researching and concluded was the ideal route. With a crisp map of the area in hand, you and the other members of your party prepare to work out the details of the trip. However, much to your surprise and halting your enthusiasm, the portage trails are long and apparently not marked by…

Shrinking Homes a Growing Trend
posted on Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017
A growing trend in the housing market seems to have its roots in something natural, realistic and geared toward the future: The tiny-house movement. “I’ve talked to a lot of people in (Cook) County who think they have too much house,” said Mark Hansen, a builder of small homes who lives in Grand Marais but is staying in his tiny house on wheels in Duluth for the winter. “It costs them so much to heat these big structures. But I think the handwriting is on the wall. Most people are…

Cancer Survivor Fulfills a Dream
posted on Friday, Feb 24, 2017
In 2010, Montana resident Jonathan Haun was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma at the age of 28. Doctors gave him a minimal chance to survive. Haun grew up and lives in rural Montana. He presently resides in the town of Thompson Falls, a small community about 70 miles northwest of Missoula situated along the banks of the Clark Fork River. A lifelong fisherman and outdoorsman, Haun decided to spend as much time in nature as he could once the prognosis came in. He changed his diet and worked hard to find…

Kicksled trend hits the Gunflint Trail
posted on Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017
Gunflint Trail—As he prepared to enter his first winter in the Northern Wilds, Gunflint Lodge owner John Fredrikson wondered about a new means to travel across the snow and ice that was sure to come. Already equipped with skis, snowshoes and other means of traversing the landscape for both himself and the guests who visit Gunflint Lodge each winter, Fredrikson wanted something unique for the business he and his wife, Mindy, purchased in the summer of 2016. And satisfying this urge for uniqueness came in the form of something known…

Wilderness rangers survive the Pagami Creek Fire
posted on Tuesday, Dec 27, 2016
Ely—A video posted online in late November of 2016 details how close Minnesota’s Pagami Creek Fire came to taking the lives of six U.S. Forest Service employees. The video comes to the surface five years after the massive fire was put to rest. First detected on Aug. 18, 2011, the Pagami Creek Fire eventually raged across approximately 93,000 acres of land in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Nancy Moundalexis, one of the Forest Service employees interviewed in the video, told Northern Wilds that safety of all…

Grand Marais pioneers had one wish for Christmas: A road
posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2016
Walking the North Shore during the winter
Grand Marais—If someone told Henry Mayhew in 1895 that future generations would joyously hike on a trail from Duluth to Grand Marais for recreational purposes, the North Shore pioneer would likely have toppled over with laughter. After all, Mayhew and many of the early white settlers to the North Shore and surrounding region did not take casual strolls through the wilderness for the purpose of exercise or amusement. Embarking on a hike and taking photographs to post on social media would have been inconceivable for Mayhew and his compatriots. It…

Herring: Lake Superior’s most important and underrated fish
posted on Friday, Oct 21, 2016
Under the assumption that each day is a unique adventure for a fish in Lake Superior, the chronicles of an adult herring found in the greatest of the Great Lakes must contain some amazing tales. And Cory Goldsworthy believes he knows the reason why. “Although herring are relatively small fish, they are long-lived, as are most fish species native to Lake Superior,” said Goldsworthy, the Lake Superior area supervisor with the Minnesota DNR. “We still see a few herring from the huge 1984 year class, which are now 31 years…

South Lake Trail
posted on Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016
GUNFLINT TRAIL—The first time I hiked on the South Lake Trail, I saw a moose and caught an 18-inch lake trout. It’s no wonder I continue to make this six-mile round-trip journey a frequent location to place my boots on solid ground. The South Lake Trail is an easy trip in the mid-Gunflint Trail region. | MAGGIE FRIEDRICHS The South Lake Trail (SLT) is one of the pathways not classified as a portage into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The trail is easy to moderate and passes though old…

Maple Hill History
posted on Friday, Aug 26, 2016
For many visitors to Cook County, the “Four Corners” intersection of Devil Track Road and the Gunflint Trail is of mild significance. It’s simply the turning point for a golf course or perhaps a vacation rental on the shores of Devil Track Lake. Others pay no attention at all, focused on reaching the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But for longtime local resident Charlene Anderson, the Four Corners represent a junction of important history. “My grandfather would come and pick us up there on Christmas and Thanksgiving in a sleigh…

Troll'n Troll'n Troll'n
posted on Monday, Aug 01, 2016
On certain lakes throughout the Northern Wilds, it’s worth forking over the necessary funds to hire a fishing guide or charter captain. On one particular lake, it can be a matter of life or death. Just ask Darren Peck, the owner and charter captain of Lake Superior based Tofte Charters. “When fishing on Lake Superior, changing weather conditions, equipment failure or lack of preparation can change a great day on the water into a life or death struggle,” Peck said. “Charter captains are not only experienced in catching fish, but…

Fish find refuge near Fitger's
posted on Monday, Aug 01, 2016
Duluth—The next time someone hooks a lake trout in Lake Superior, they might have the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to thank for it. And while it might seem an odd pairing, MnDOT did make a sizeable effort in the early 1980s to build spawning grounds for lake trout in Lake Superior. A fine idea for anglers and public relations, perhaps, but one that came about when the tunnels in Duluth were being blasted and created. “The truth is, it was a convenient way to get rid of a lot…

So what is glamping?
posted on Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
Grand Marais—For most who opt to pitch a tent in the wilds of Ontario or along Minnesota’s North Shore, a leather recliner and silk robe are not considered essential items. Satellite television and being able to check email with the click of a button aren’t often requirements that will make or break a trip for early season lake trout anglers heading toward Quetico Provincial Park. But for glamping expert MaryJane Butters, an extended list of luxury items are the exact ingredients required for her recipe to enjoying quality time in…

Slow progress for Gitchi-Gami bike trail
posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Grand Marais—For Bill Blank, the most challenging aspect of building a non-motorized, multi-purpose trail along the North Shore of Lake Superior has nothing to do with pouring asphalt or finding outdoor enthusiasts to visit the region. Rather, as with many things snared in the perpetual state of planning, the rate of completion comes down to mathematics and dollars. “The easiest part is the construction once we get funding and get started,” said Blank, president of the Gitchi-Gami Trail Association (GGTA). “It’s the engineering and getting the money in place that…