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Articles written by Bret Baker

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Pine Knot outdoors: With winter waning, finding solace in the spear shack

The bitter northeast wind relentlessly reshaped the landscape, shifting and sculpting dunes of snow across the expanse of the lake. I pulled hard against the heavy door separating me and my warmth...

 

Out in It: Castle Siege

I shouldered my way through the early morning crowd at Hi-Banks Resort on Fish Lake. A patron glanced my way, unimpressed, through a forest of celery sticks jutting from his Bloody Mary breakfast. I...

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: Let's hope Band will give young hunters a permit break

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has decided to charge an annual fee to access thousands of acres of reservation land for non-band members. It’s $25 a month or an annual fee of $100....

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: For any endeavor, never stop learning

When most kids my age were playing Nintendo or watching “The Goonies” on VHS, I was nose-deep in a Stephen King novel. My mom developed my love of reading, even if “Misery” or “Pet...

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: Mirage

When I slow down, staring out the window late at night, it eats at me. It pulls at me. It bothers me, but I try to ignore it. Thirty years I’ve hunted whitetails. Not this year. It began in...

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: A clearcut rendezvous gone by the wayside

A couple of nagging health issues have kept me out of the whitetail woods and off the newly formed ice. I have to rely on the stories of others or think back to hunts of the past to keep me sane, know...

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: Making time for outdoor pursuits can pay off

Sometimes you can’t wait for perfect, you just have to jump in. A week-long vacation in Canada slamming walleyes? Sounds nice. Two weeks bow hunting elk in Montana. Sign me up. When I’m retired. M...

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: Up a birch tree with a treasured family gun

There is no way he could have imagined my world, and I find it difficult to imagine his. We are separated by a century or more: generations of Bakers have come and gone. Nothing directly connects us,...

 

A suckers' trip yields results

The four-day MEA weekend is a Minnesota tradition. A holiday without the stress and busy schedule of an actual holiday. By the time everyone rolled out of bed Thursday morning, I was heavily gauging...

 

OUTDOORS: For anglers, these are the good old days

Since the start of the 2019 fishing season on the St. Louis River in May, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend roughly 75 days on the streams, rivers, reservoirs and lakes in the region. I’ve...

 

Monster muskie is a Vermilion treasure

I had my article for this week almost completely written when I got a short and simple text from my oldest brother, Bob, on Saturday night. His wife Julie had boated a monster muskie. Exciting, for...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    October 4, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Moose whisperer works his magic

I was heading back down the Gunflint Trail from a full day of guiding on Lake Saganaga, or Big Sag as the locals refer to it. I had a young couple from the Cities who were excited about the cooler of...

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: Dallying is no option under a revered Harvest Moon

I stood parallel to the Cloquet goal line cheering on the hometown Lumberjacks football team Friday night under the lights of Bromberg Field. The moon struggled to break through the thick white...

 

OUTDOORS: Make safe decisions as we head into hunting seasons

My phone rang just late enough to make me nervous that something was wrong. I was right. My brother, Bruce, had fallen from his deer stand. He was in the emergency room. My heart raced. My mind...

 

Pine Knot Outdoors: Fishing for the gold, silver and bronze

Back to reality. The Baker household held tightly onto summer for as long as possible. But with two kids in middle school, one in high school, another off to college, and both parents teaching,...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    August 30, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Quest for the big bite requires lots of adjustments

I have a little secret my wife and kids already know. Sometimes, I have no idea what I'm doing. The last couple of weeks on the water, I've been making it up as I go. Some trips have worked out,...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    August 23, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Tales of the cattail harvest

My wife, Jamie, loves to put her fall decorations out at the first sign of autumn. A couple of cold mornings triggers her to journey to the recesses of our basement in search of her stash of...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    August 16, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Reflections on fishing from the baseball diamond

We loaded the Suburban with most of the Baker crew plus an omnipresent extra child, and headed north. The big blue Lund stared back at us in confusion as we pulled away — it would remain unhitched f...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    August 9, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: 'Crappie Keith' lives up to his name

The fog rolled across the surface of the water as we slid Keith Nelson's Alumacraft into the coffee-colored waters of Big Sandy Lake. I relegated myself to the back deck of his boat. I was here to...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    August 2, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Tournament tension

Stretching out in front of us, dozens of boats jostled for position, awaiting blastoff. My oldest son, Joseph, and I tucked into the back of the pack; based on the 200-300 horsepower motors...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    July 26, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Reservoir hogs are calling

Over the years I've fished them all. Collectively referred to as the "big four" reservoirs north of Duluth, they include Wild Rice, Fish, Island and Boulder. They all have their own personalities, and...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    July 19, 2019

PINE KNOT OUTDOORS: Change it up and find some fish

The freshly fried walleyes had barely hit the cake pan when they were scooped up by the masses gathered around our picnic table. A Baker fish fry was in full swing. In all, 25 friends and family...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    July 12, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Waxworm trip leads to a tall tale

The week started with a real emergency around the Baker household. Phoenix, our resident gecko, was out of food. Normally, we would run to Duluth and pick him up some crickets or tasty mealworms. It...

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    July 5, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: Food, fun, action lure kids to the water

Our anchor tethered us to the rocks below. The current ripped underneath our bow and poured out the backside of the Lund. I threaded half a crawler onto my orange jig and plopped it over the transom....

 
 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    June 28, 2019

Pine Knot Outdoors: As seasons turn, so does the bite

I half-walked, half-skipped to my truck. I had just polished off my second week of teaching summer school. Much like the fish I’ve been chasing, I’m transitioning to my summer pattern. In the...

 

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