Articles written by Bret Baker

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 By Bret Baker    Sports    April 14, 2023

Prehistoric monsters are a thrill to hook

Winter has officially worn out its welcome in the Baker household, and we decided to do something about it over spring break. Half our crew - Jamie, Josh and I - traveled to the Osage Arm of Lake of... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Sports    March 31, 2023

Fishing skill lands a scholarship

Sixteen hours south of his hometown of Esko, Noah Wells entered a combine excited to showcase his skill set to the coaches gathered around. Unlike the NFL combine, his 40-yard split time or vertical... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    May 13, 2022

Plan for opener success this year

A couple of weeks ago I predicted the 2022 fishing opener could be fantastic. As the big day approaches and the weather forecast solidifies, I’m sticking to my guns. I believe the May 14th... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    April 22, 2022

Out In It: April snow brings May optimism

The last couple of days of April I’m scheduled to be chasing cohos and browns on Chequamegon Bay out of Washburn, Wisconsin. If you have spent any time outside the last couple of weeks, you will...

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    April 8, 2022

Out In It: Spring bass Texas-sized

We slid Cap'n Ron's Skeeter into the warming water of late March. On each side of the landing, the docks towered above us, a harbinger of how dangerously low the water had receded. We slowly worked... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    March 5, 2021

Out In It: Winter fish fry stirs up warm memories

I twisted and pulled at the icy bags scattered along the bottom of our basement chest freezer in mid-February. The Minnesota winter had proven mild until that week. Bone-chilling winds pummeling the... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    July 31, 2020

Dig deep for fish during these heated dog days

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been on several lakes all across the upper half of Minnesota. One thing they have in common, they register the highest surface temperatures I’ve ever encountered....

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    July 10, 2020

Out In It: 'Just looking' morphs into unexpected camper buy

The entire Baker crew was in Duluth the other day, and, on a whim, we decided to check out some campers. We pulled into Bullyan RV and proceeded to drive through the line of small travel trailers...

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    July 3, 2020

Out in it: Thanks prop, it was a nice run

A quick yank on the cotter pin, a spin of the wrench and she was loose. Ten years my Honda prop has been with me every second I've been on the water. Unceremoniously, I relinquished her to the... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    June 19, 2020

Out in it: Tech dominates fishing plans

Recently I got a text soliciting some advice about fishing a lake a couple of hours north of Cloquet. Within seconds I responded with a detailed map indicating the wind would blow at 20-plus mph... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    June 12, 2020

Out in it: Trolling in Brookston

If you read my column regularly you're already aware I'm up for new adventures. This week I jumped at the chance to fish a new stretch of the St. Louis River with Cloquet's Chad Vermeersh. We hooked u...

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    June 5, 2020

Out In It: An old boat brings new memories, welcome distraction

My two oldest, Hannah and Joseph, were just kids when they saved up their pennies to buy their first boat. They split the cost of a 1984 Alumacraft with an old 50-horsepower Merc hanging off the back.... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    May 29, 2020

Out in it: A shallow mind helps right now

If you are reading this, you should probably stop. Hook up your boat and read this later. The fish are biting. The light switch has been turned on this week. Many different species have moved shallow...

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    May 22, 2020

Out in It: Red-eye trip to Red Lake pays off

Bouncing along the backroads of Mahtowa, I leaned hard into the glow of my headlights, seeing the fine line between dirt and marsh. My eyes strained and blurred searching for my turn. Cottontail...

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    May 15, 2020

Out in it: Nice opener haul despite short outing

Avoiding the expected crowds, I slid the big blue Lund into the water a little past 4 a.m. on opener morning. By the light of the full moon, David, Joseph and I made our way slowly upstream from Boy... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    May 8, 2020

Out in it: For openers, fish where the fish are

This week I've been able to get out and chase some pre-spawn crappies, brook trout, and sample the annual sucker run. Most of my focus is on the impending Minnesota walleye opener Saturday. The march... Full story

 By Bret Baker    Outdoors    April 17, 2020

Outdoors: Finally landing that dinosaur

The wind gathered momentum and funneled directly down the narrow stretch of the river channel, unleashing its strength against the far bank before dissipating around the bend. Current and wind and...


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,...


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