Shawn Perich

Shawn is a veteran writer and editor well-known for his many books and outdoor stories. A native of Duluth and longtime North Shore resident, he’s spent a lifetime roaming the Northern Wilds and is eager to share what he knows with readers.

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Recent Articles by Shawn Perich

With closure of Grand Marais office, wildlife management becomes a long-distance affair
posted on Tuesday, Aug 14, 2018
Last winter, Dave Ingebrigtsen, longtime assistant wildlife manager stationed in Grand Marais, retired. At the time, DNR insiders wondered if the position would be refilled, given the Section of Wildlife is rife with vacancies throughout the state. The good news is the position is being filled. The caveat is that the new person will be stationed in Two Harbors—90 miles from Grand Marais. This is the first time in decades that DNR Wildlife will not have a presence in Grand Marais, where there are field offices for DNR Fisheries and…

Now the compass points north
posted on Friday, Aug 03, 2018
It was the only year I ever missed deer season. In November, 1987, we moved from the outskirts of Atlanta to Grand Marais, where I’d been hired as the editor of the weekly Cook County News-Herald. The move was strategic. It took me away from the urban world of magazine editing and positioned me in a place that was a bubbling spring of story ideas. As a young writer, that was where I wanted to be. The weekly grind of the newspaper was enjoyable. I quickly discovered that a small-town…

What a pair of pike!
posted on Thursday, Aug 02, 2018
It was the last spot of the day. Jessica Berg-Collman was trolling on sprawling Saganaga Lake on the Minnesota border with her mother, Julie Collman. Both are from Grand Marais. The mother-daughter duo had already landed a few fish, including lake trout, pike and bass. They were using Musky Jakes, a lure intended for big fish. As the women can attest, the lure works. Julie’s turn came first. She hooked and landed a 45-inch northern pike. “It was a good thing we had a musky-sized net in the boat,” Jessica…

In northern Ontario, a Belgian family discovers fishing
posted on Friday, Jul 27, 2018
Harry Demey can easily sum up his family's philosophy for travel. "We try to be out of our comfort zone," he says. "We look for places where no one we know has gone before. Then we just do it. We like new experiences…and good food!" That sort of explains how Harry, his wife Lieve and her daughter, Luka, of Antwerp, Belgium wound up at Wilderness North's Miminiska Lodge, a northern Ontario fly-in resort on the Albany River about 40 miles upriver from the Ojibwe community of Fort Hope. Harry had…

New book offers fresh look at canoe country history
posted on Friday, Jul 20, 2018
On the North Shore and in the canoe country, the pioneer past is not that far away. Although the region was opened to settlement following the signing of a treaty with the Ojibwe in 1854, the north was so rugged and isolated that pioneers slowly filtered into the region. As a result, some of the pioneer history is within living memory or nearly so. Jack Blackwell was born and raised in Grand Marais. He went on to have a 40-year career with the U.S. Forest Service. Upon retirement, he spent…

Celebrating summer, while it lasts
posted on Friday, Jul 13, 2018
Too much fun has a way of catching up with you. On Monday morning, I rolled into the office a little late, because I rolled out of bed a little late. That’s what happens when you stay out on the water past your normal bedtime night after night. At this time of year, it’s worth being a little bleary eyed. The high days of summer are soon gone. My fishing begins around sunset, when mayflies rise from the bottom as nymphs and emerge on the water’s surface as graceful winged…

As go the monarch butterflies, so do we?
posted on Friday, Jul 06, 2018
The first monarch butterfly of summer fluttered across the yard the other day. Hopefully, there will be more. If memory serves me, last year I saw three monarch butterflies. That’s all. While my yard supports a bounty of butterflies, none are as extraordinary as the monarch. East of the Rockies, this migrant species winters in central Mexico and makes a multigenerational journey northward in the spring. The northbound butterflies live just a few weeks, then breed to begin the next generation. Interestingly, the southbound monarchs that return to Mexico in…

Battles over leisure time distract from larger issues
posted on Friday, Jun 29, 2018
The Minnesota DNR is planning a proposed Border to Border Touring Route, which will allow high-clearance, 4WD, highway-licensed vehicles to traverse existing roads from Lake Superior to the North Dakota border. The route would be about 400 miles in length. The State Legislature has dedicated $150,000 to trail planning, with funding coming from vehicle registrations and the OHV portion of the fuel tax. The DNR claims it will have some money available for road maintenance along the route, part of which, ironically, follows minimum maintenance roads. When completed, the route…

What’s next for the Edna G?
posted on Monday, Jun 25, 2018
TWO HARBORS—When it comes to the future of the historic retired tug the Edna G, Tom Koehler of Two Harbors is pragmatic. “We can save it, sink it or sell it,” he says. “We” being the city of Two Harbors, which owns the iconic vessel. Listed on the National Historic Register and docked in the harbor, the Edna G was open for tours until 2015, when needed maintenance led to closure. Built in Cleveland in 1896, the Edna G has been in the water nearly continuously since it arrived in Two Harbors in 1897, which…

Some thoughts on letting them go
posted on Friday, Jun 22, 2018
Sometimes you get asked a simple question that is difficult to answer. Someone recently asked me, "What is the point of catch-and-release fishing?" From a foraging perspective, the concept of catch-and-release doesn't make a lot of sense. Why would you make the effort to go fishing, put a fish through the stress of being caught on a hook and line, and then let it go? It's a question that many piscivorous anglers struggle with prior to converting to catch-and-release. And "conversion" is an apt description of what often happens to…

Flattery won't get you wildlife habitat
posted on Friday, Jun 08, 2018
Last week, Minnesota Outdoor News published an unusual commentary. For starters, it wasn't an opinion piece, just a Dept. of the Interior press release announcing new hunting and fishing opportunities on national wildlife refuges. This is a standard announcement from Interior that reflects updates to refuge management plans. What made this release unusual was that more than half of it was devoted to accolades to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke from politicians, bureaucrats and the leaders of several conservation organizations. As has been previously noted in this column, praise for the…

Questions, not easy answers, about outdoor recreation
posted on Friday, Jun 01, 2018
Outdoor recreation is big business.  Last year the Outdoor Recreation Industry reported that the outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending annually, sustains 7.6 million American jobs and generates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue each year.  According to data from the U.S Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, outdoor recreation is among the nation's largest industries, accounting for two percent of the GDP. This is less than construction at 4.3 percent, but greater than agriculture (farming, forestry and…

In defense of sausage makers
posted on Friday, May 25, 2018
At the end of last week, two days before the Minnesota Legislature was scheduled to adjourn, news outlets reported that our duly elected hadn’t completed their work. Nearly all of the session’s major legislation was essentially no more than muddled paperwork that had yet to pass both houses of the Legislature, not to mention survive the Governor’s veto pen. The Legislature’s intent was to cram over the weekend for the final moment at midnight Sunday, hastily slamming together three-months-worth of law-making. An errant lawmaker cheekily observed that governing a state, which is…

When a fishing trip becomes an adventure
posted on Friday, May 18, 2018
If you’ve ever seen the movie “A River Runs Through It,” there is a scene where the narrator’s brother, Paul, hooks a huge trout and then plays it, wading chest deep and eventually tumbling down through a rapids until he reaches quiet water to land the fish. The narrator and his father watch the masterful performance and then congratulate the soaking wet brother as he hoists his trophy to show them. “At that point,” says the narrator, “I knew that surely and clearly I was witnessing perfection.” I watched a…

In the company of otters, loons and eagles
posted on Friday, May 11, 2018
They launched from a birch tree; first one, then the another. The two bald eagles were perched above a small tributary to a North Shore trout river and flushed as I approached on a passing trail. I knew what they were up to. It’s spawning season for rainbow trout and suckers, both of which may be seen in the shallow riffles along streams. From an eagle’s view, the birch above the creek was a good spot to go fishing. It’s not unusual to encounter eagles while fishing along the North…

Duluth’s story-teller portages into retirement
posted on Friday, May 04, 2018
For 38 years, Sam Cook had what some folks might consider a dream job as an outdoor writer for the Duluth News-Tribune. He would likely concur, with a caveat. “When you go fishing for work, it’s not the same,” he says. “You may have a fishing rod, but you also have a notebook and camera. If you are doing it right, it’s work.” Cook’s many readers know he does it right. For decades, he covered an outdoor beat in a region many see as a slice of heaven, posting stories…

For some, all else stops when the steelhead run
posted on Monday, Apr 30, 2018
Spring used to be when a young man’s fancy turned to steelhead. Maybe it still does, but in the not-so-distant past, steelhead fishing was a way of life for a lot of guys around the shores of Lake Superior. A way of life, even though “the run,” when the big rainbow trout enter streams to spawn, lasts no more than a few short weeks in any given locality. In other words, you have to work at it in order to make steelhead fishing a lifestyle. The way to begin is…

A good dog is called home
posted on Friday, Apr 20, 2018
You never know what you’re getting when you choose a puppy. You may get some assurances from the breeder about the pup’s lineage, but all you really know is that it’s cute. When it comes to dogs, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. We picked up an eight-week-old yellow bundle with big paws and floppy ears from some folks just west of the Twin Cities nearly 14 years ago. We had two older dogs and decided to start the transition to a young hunting dog. We debated names…

Crows, suckers and the rites of spring
posted on Friday, Apr 13, 2018
Northern Minnesota has a season which doesn’t have a name: the uncertain time between winter and spring. It’s when midday sunshine and warm temps get you thinking spring is just around the corner, but the nighttime temps drop to single digits, ensuring the hip-deep snow on the ground stays put. That’s when the first migrating crows appear. Some of us get a little stir-crazy then. Tired of the semi-hibernation that winter forces upon us, we want to get outside and savor some sunshine. When I was a kid, Dad would…

Spring Rush at the Resorts
posted on Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Multi-tasking before the first guests arrive If you own a resort, spring cleaning is…well, a rite of spring. Once the snow melts, resort owners have a short window to get their entire operation in shipshape before the first guests arrive for the fishing season opener. Opening a resort for the season is a formidable task. “I tend to put it out of my mind for four months in the winter,” says Paul Del Pino, owner of Dog Lake Resort in Kaministiquia, Ont. “I need 20 days to get open and…