Staff Directory 6370590

Dennis Anderson

Columnist | Outdoors
Phone: 612-673-4424

Outdoors columnist and editor Dennis Anderson joined the Star Tribune in 1993 after serving in the same positions at the St. Paul Pioneer Press for 13 years. His column topics vary widely, and include canoeing, fishing, hunting, adventure travel and conservation of the environment.


Anderson was born in North Dakota, but grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Minnesota, Morris and a master's in journalism from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where his focus was communications law. He and his wife, Jan, along with their Labrador retrievers, live on a small farm in the St. Croix River Valley. As time allows, Anderson competes on cutting horses.
Recent content from Dennis Anderson
Wilderness Inquiry trip leader Ryan Stumbo paddles in the BWCA with Andrew, one of the participants on a journey that was exclusively for people who a

Anderson: BWCA is unforgettable, even when the only sound is silence

Near the Gunflint Trail, none of the five paddlers heard a loon's lonesome tremolo or the slap of a beaver's tail against the lake. But each returned home eager for another trip.
Donn Weber with a bull red drum caught off the coast of Texas.

Anderson: Retired Minnesota prison guard angling for 50 states of fishing

For 24 years Donn Weber was a corrections officer at Minnesota's only maximum-security prison, where lifers and troublemakers from other confinements do their time. Now he's a fisherman, and happier for it.
Brian Linder, left, and Nathan Thompson fish for the club team at Minnesota State Mankato. Their recent dramatic win in Michigan qualified them for th

Anderson: Best underdog story in Minnesota sports? Two dudes from Mankato

Fishing for Minnesota State Mankato, two young anglers beat the nation's best to qualify for a national tournament.
Terry Arnesen towed his 26-foot boat last week from the Twin Cities to Seattle, where he launched it and headed north to Alaska to fish.

Anderson: Minnesotans have fishing rods, will travel far — and farther

Adventure fishing takes hold as state anglers venture worldwide.
Cutting involves a dance of sorts between rider and horse.

Anderson: Best Independence Day? On a horse competing in the middle of nowhere

Everyone loves a parade, but for my money, the best way to celebrate July 4th and the days approximate to it is horseback. That's what our outdoors columnist did.
A pair of moose calves stood at the water’s edge as their mother foraged at dusk in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness on Topaz Lake in Fall

Anderson: However vague, there's movement in state's wolf plan

Nearly everyone seems to have opinions about how to proceed with managing the growing population.
Retired U President Robert Bruininks, left, is shown in 1989 with a near-record walleye he caught in Loon Lake. At right, Dax (left) and Otis Hofeldt,

Anderson: Could-have-been record walleye proves July 4th fishing can be hot

Retired U president Robert Bruininks caught monster walleye on July 4 under sunny skies
David Carson, 55, of Minneapolis tried Three River Park District’s expansive camping program twice last year, and loved it. “That feeling of the o

Anderson: Can camping save America? Maybe

Campfires and tents can rekindle connections to nature. Numerous studies have shown that people's mental and physical well-being improve when exposed to natural areas and nature-based activities.
Paul Schiller of Minneapolis wanted only walleye action when he and his wife launched their boat in Minnetonka last Saturday. He got a dandy 21-inch w

Anderson: On Minnetonka, a walleye on the hook — and a 52-inch muskie

A husband-wife team of weekend anglers from Minneapolis caught a walleye, and also snagged a big-toothed surprise last Saturday on Lake Minnetonka that left them stunned.
The flood of 2022 has inundated Rainy Lake and other waters in the Rainy Lake Watershed, including these boat lifts.

Anderson: Rainy Lake watershed shows vulnerability to flooding — and possibly mining

From the Gunflint Trail to Lake of the Woods, high water prevails.
A crow glides above the restored grasslands that used to be farmland in Dakota County

Walz signs lottery conservation spending bill, admonishes legislators

The bill funded a dozen legislator-favored projects that weren't reviewed by the commission charged with overseeing lottery funds.
A logo is intended to help citizens identify environment and natural resources projects around the state.

Anderson: Legislators' actions again prove lottery-fund system is broken

Wouldn't it be nice if legislators didn't misappropriate profits from lottery ticket sales, which are supposed to enhance Minnesota's environment? Or for the governor to step in?
(Clockwise from top left) Walleye status in Garrison,Beaver House Bait Shop in Grand Marais, Big Fish Supper Club in Bena and the Rainy Lake mermaid.

These fish statues point the way to a big catch

Here's a sampling of big fish statues in Minnesota, as well as some very fishy ones — along with the best fishing and camping spots near each.
This walleye statue in Baudette is Willie. Not to be confused with Wally, the walleye statue in Garrison.

Anderson: Minnesota's roadside fish statues are a call to start casting

Minnesota might have — and, if it could be proven, probably does have — more highway shrines to all things finned than any other state.
Jan Anderson, wife of outdoors columnist Dennis Anderson, with a family favorite, a crappie.

Anderson: Walleyes are tasty — but crappies and sunnies are more fun

Like mother, like daughter. Anglers of all ages love crappies.
Two boats with eager anglers departed the dock at McArdle’s Resort early Saturday morning on Lake Winnibigoshish.

Anderson: Again on walleye opener, 'Winnie' gives up her treasures

Slower in the morning, action on the big lake picked up throughout the day Saturday for Minnesota's traditional fishing opener.
The late LeRoy Chiovitte of Hermantown, Minnesota, held his state record walleye, caught in 1979. The huge walleye weighed 17 pounds, 8 ounces.

Anderson: 43 years later, record walleye moves back to Gunflint Trail

When LeRoy Chiovitte of Hermantown died, he left no plans for the fish that had been encased in glass for four decades. Soon, though, you'll be able to see the big walleye close to where it was caught in 1979.
Opening Day 2022 looms for Minnesota walleye anglers, and hopes, as alway, are high.. (Dennis Anderson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS) ORG XMIT: 4334251

Anderson: To catch your limit on Saturday's opener, increase your walleye IQ

Walleye facts and insights from a new book by DNR fisheries biologist Paul Radomski might help you catch shore lunch on Saturday's opener.
Peter Lo, right, and friends picked up some crappie minnows at Wayzata Bait and Tackle on Tuesday.

Anderson: Hooking anglers since 1975, Wayzata bait shop may have reached its limit

Big box stores and changes in fishing technology may lead to the closure of another one of the suburban bait shops that have fallen victim to changing times.
With luck, opening day of the walleye season this year won’t look like this on Upper Red Lake. This is how the 2008 opener looked on the huge lake �

Anderson: For opener, ice-out will be a close call on some Minnesota lakes

Cold weather has hung around this spring, slowing the arrival of open water on some lakes in the northern part of the state.
The Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. ] LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navidi@startribune.com

Anderson: Republicans' attempted diversion of lottery proceeds sign of the times

Today, Minnesota legislators too often hew the caucus line, and the state's natural resources are going to suffer.
Dreaming of open water while sitting in their boats — still on trailers, in their garages — is popular sport for Minnesotans in April.

Anderson: For the love of boats — and why not?

Sitting in your boat, in your garage, anticipating open water, is good for your mind in April
A diorama of sandhill cranes completed in 1946.

Anderson: Fascinating new book celebrates 150 years of the Bell Museum

The book, like the museum's new building, showcases visionaries' long-held belief that science and public education — and entertainment — can go hand in hand.
Colleen Grant (top left with yellow Labrador, Cody), Nikkii Harrington (bottom left), Nancy McLaughlin (middle), and Shar Goihl.

Anderson: Women hunters find excitement, satisfaction in search for turkeys

Meet four who have learned that rising early and communing with nature is worth repeating.
Craig Brown: Fishing was a way of life.

Anderson: Accident claims Minnesota resort owner, family carries on with opener near

Craig Brown grew up on "Winnie'' at his family's McArdle's Resort and was never happier than when fishing was involved.
Hatchery production of walleyes is critical to sustain Minnesotans’ pursuit of their state fish.

Anderson: Held together 'by baling wire and duct tape,' DNR hatcheries need state help

The hatcheries are critical to maintaining fishing opportunities Minnesota anglers expect and that attract nonresidents to the state every year.
Gov. Mark Dayton suffered what was at times excruciating pain in his back and hip. But he always made the Governor’s Fishing Opener. Not so for Gov.

Anderson: Tradition, ritual — and Minnesotans — are losers in Governor's Fishing Opener fiasco

The Governor's Fishing Opener dates to 1948 but will be replaced this year. That break with tradition by Gov. Tim Walz is a disappointment.
Fly-in fishing trips to Canadian lakes will again be on the agendas of many American anglers this summer, thanks to an easing of border-crossing restr

Anderson: For vaccinated anglers, Canada opens up, no testing required

Canadian resort owners and outfitters hope anglers respond in droves, but Americans' reluctance to get shots might limit numbers.
Anglers aren’t threatening the future of walleyes and walleye fishing in Minnesota, a DNR biologist says. Global warming and shoreline destruction a

Anderson: DNR biologist says proposed walleye limit cut is a social issue that won't yield more fish

The Legislature is mulling over an idea dividing the state's anglers.
Brainerd area fishing guide Nate Blasing is president of Walleye Alliance, which is advocating for a reduction in the state walleye limit from six to

Anderson: Walleye limit cut to 4 popular among anglers and might help, Brainerd guide says

Legislature mulls change that biologists say won't produce more walleyes.
Few things are more hopeful than springtime, unless it's a puppy in springtime, in this case a 4-month-old black Labrador.

Anderson: A new puppy means less sleep but more hope

Life gets interrupted by a four-legged, Labrador tail-wagger.
Federal’s plant in Anoka is celebrating its centennial this year and is operating around the clock supplying hunters and target shooters, as well as

Anderson: At 100, Federal looks ahead while churning out ammunition

Few companies reach their centennial anniversary, but the Anoka-based company is thriving at that age. Hear from Jason Vanderbrink, its ammunition president.
The Student Angler Tournament Trail offers competitive bass fishing in Minnesota for high school boys and girls, and awards scholarships to winning an

Anderson: Kids' fishing tourney group inspires kids, parents at Northwest Sportshow

Student Angler Tournament Trail offers tournaments and scholarships.
Fishing for lake trout, Dennis Anderson, left, and Pete Harris of Grand Marais peered into icy cylinders bored into thick ice on a lake off the Gunfli

Anderson: A venture off the Gunflint Trail leads to lake trout

Pete Harris, 87, already worth knowing because he fishes Lake Superior in a 14-foot boat, finds his way around winter, too.
Dick Hanousek of St. Paul cast a fly on a recent opening day of stream trout season in Forestville State Park in southeast Minnesota.

Anderson: In memory of a fisherman who taught those around him well

Dick Hanousek acted on the lessons he learned throughout his life. One was shared by his son: "Dad told me once that he had good friends who made a lot of money and sometimes lost their families in the process.''
A new study of Wisconsin lakes echoes what some other studies have said: Walleye production in some northern tier states is declining.

Anderson: Is cutting the walleye limit to four a good idea? Retired DNR fisheries manager says no

Angler harvest is an important tool to manage lakes, Gary Barnard says, and those pushing for change are targeting a problem that doesn't exist.
Wild steelhead are prized on the North Shore, where anglers will soon brave early spring weather to seek these migratory rainbow trout.

Anderson: North Shore's steelhead stocking revives after COVID pause

This winter's deep snow from Duluth to Grand Portage ensures the North Shore's 60-odd steelhead rivers will have sufficient water in spring for the fish to make their spawning runs from Lake Superior.
Officials at a Wyoming Game and Fish Department Lander check station during the 2021 big game season remove lymph nodes from hunters’ deer to check

Anderson: Wyoming's present could be Minnesota's CWD future

The alarming incidence of chronic wasting disease in at least one Wyoming deer herd should wake up Minnesota.
How many walleyes is enough? Cutting limit from six to four is a feel-good idea for some. But it lacks scientific backing.

Anderson: No scientific sense, but DNR, Legislature mull cutting walleye limit

If Minnesota's six-walleye limit isn't hurting anything, why are some legislators and the DNR in favor again this legislative session of cutting the limit from six to four walleyes?
The scene from a thriving summer in Ely, early August of 1962, along E. Sheridan Street.

Anderson: Defined by complex history, Ely is a colorful town we're lucky to have

On the wilderness' edge of northeastern Minnesota, people can disagree. But most try to get along — and make a living. Ely is a complicated and colorful place.
In Minnesota, management of wildlife and other natural resources ultimately resides with the governor and legislature, not professional biologists.

Anderson: If politicians coached the Vikings, fans would learn why Minnesota conservation loses

Lakes impaired, habitat gone? Minnesota's resources have 201 "General Managers," ensuring more squandered seasons.
Deer can carry and spread brainworm benignly, and that spells trouble for the state’s moose population.

Anderson: DNR tells hunters to get used to low deer numbers in northeast

Department of Natural Resources managers held an online chat this week about depleted whitetail populations in northeast Minnesota, and their message to frustrated hunters was, "Get used to it.''
A gathering of longtime friends, pre-pandemic. In back row, from left, Bob Lessard, Norb Berg, Pat Smith, Bud Grant. Front row from left, Dick Hanouse

Anderson: Amid pandemic, memories often are glue that connects longtime outdoor friends

Communicating by phone, text or email is a poor substitute for in-person gatherings
Americans are critical business for Quetico Provincial Park.

Anderson: Want to paddle Quetico this summer? Maybe you'll get to

Owing to COVID's impact, a number of factors will determine how feasible it is for U.S. residents to cross the border into the Canadian wilderness that's a twin to Minnesota's BWCA.
The Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Division is reorganizing and some positions around the state might be consolidated. The plan is

Anderson: While DNR Fish and Wildlife Division reorganizes, jobs go wanting, outposts go dark

A plan that is expected to be complete by spring aims for more efficiency.
This male bald eagle was brought in December from Cass County into The Raptor Center. Blood work came back showing blood lead levels at 4.0 parts per

Anderson: Minnesota DNR takes baby steps in banning lead ammo for hunting

Responding to a petition, lead will be outlawed in some Minnesota state parks and scientific and natural areas.
Joe LaFave of St. Paul, with his Chesapeake Bay retriever, Beatrice, hunting successfully on a frigid December day in west-central Minnesota.

Anderson: Morris, Minn., is still there — and the pheasants, too

A December hunt chills to the bone, with birds flying.
Steve Grooms wrote about pheasants and the upland-bird-hunting life.

Anderson: An outdoor life, now passed, was more than just the hunt

Steve Grooms was an outdoor writer, a description that for him was too confining. He could have written about anything. But nature was the lens through which he saw the world.
Deer hunting was slow near this camp in northeast Minnesota this fall, despite mild weather and some snow,

Anderson: Readers agree: NE Minnesota deer are scarce — or worse

Habitat is changing, but wolves get most of the blame for whitetail losses
Deer camps like this one near Tower, in northeast Minnesota have struggled to find whitetails in recent years.

Anderson: Why deer numbers in the northeast remain low

There are no quick fixes, but ongoing research might show a path forward.
Minnesotan Jay Johnson’s avocation and vocation focused on the state’s natural resources and their conservation.

Anderson: A sportsman's life, Minnesota style

Jay Johnson has shared in the state's bounty, and helped replenish it, too.
Bo Brannon, 14, of Genoa City, Wis., felled his first deer, a buck, on the Wisconsin deer opener while hunting with his dad,  Frank, as well as his gr

Minnesota deer harvest lags last year; license sales flat

Wisconsin opening weekend kill is down 14%.
Nolan Sprengeler, left, and Kevin Kray with the massive fish. The 57 3/4-inch muskie had a girth of 29 inches.

Plymouth angler's Mille Lacs muskie breaks state record: 'What an incredible fish'

Plymouth angler catches 55-pound, 14-ounce monster and topples a record that has stood for 64 years.
Properly preparing for a rifle shot in open country ensures a steady rest and proper target acquisition — thus ensuring to the greatest degree possi

Anderson: The art and practice of shooting straight

Proper rifle-shooting technique is necessary to make any shot, particularly those at long range.
Mount of a spruce grouse.

Anderson: Outdoorswoman Meadow Kouffeld has new stuff to do — taxidermy

The Minnesota college instructor and onetime DNR employee fashions life-like mounts artistically.
A whitetail buck, using its ability to observe under cover, kept an eye on an approaching photographer from his bed in a small patch of brush and gras

There's a world of research to help deer hunters bag a buck

As deer hunting season gets underway, DNR harvest data reveal areas of high buck harvest rates. Hard-copy maps are available and there's even an app.
A review of Minnesota firearms hunting mishaps speaks to one thing: They can happen in any moment.

Anderson: Gun accidents can happen to anyone, even you

A review of Minnesota firearms hunting mishaps is telling.
Kelly Straka, originally from Wayzata, will lead the DNR’s wildlife section from her home near Duluth. She’s shown here on a recent woodcock hunt.

Anderson: Q&A with Kelly Straka, DNR's ground-breaking new section manager

Straka grew up in Wayzata before undertaking a circuitous route back to Minnesota that included stops all over the world.
Tom Franchino, left, moved to a small North Dakota town (population about 250) 19 years ago for the hunting and fishing. Two years ago his buddy, Jeff

Anderson: Like ducks, these Minnesotans migrated to North Dakota, and love it

North Dakota grew at a 15% clip between 2010 and 2020, fourth fastest in the nation. That was mostly in bigger cities. Most of the state still operates at a slower pace with especially great hunting and fishing.
Thirty-five conservation partners joined to form the vast Tiger Lake conservation complex on the edge of the greater metro.

Anderson: Reflecting on a lost land enjoying a rebirth

Legacy Amendment dollars and conservation-minded moves have brought back a wild place in Norwood Young America.
The Minnesota pheasant hunting season begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 16.

Anderson: Ahead of Saturday's opener, ringneck hunters have pheasants on the mind

Among five topics of note, advanced crop harvest should help uplanders find birds.
One of the world’s most beautiful gamebirds, the rooster pheasant becomes legal fare in Minnesota Saturday.

Anderson: Pheasants Forever emerges from pandemic boosting conservation efforts

Now employing some 280 wildlife biologists, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are leveraging significant new government and corporate funds to multiply their conservation reach.
Rowdi, gone 8 months on the North Shore, is seen now only on a billboard outside Grand Marais.

Anderson: Have you seen Rowdi, the dog on the billboard missing 8 months?

The billboard is on Minnesota's North Shore, along Hwy. 61. The man who put it up is in Minneapolis and tells why his family has gone to such great lengths for Rowdi.
Pete Harris of Grand Marais with the vintage 14-foot boat he uses to fish lake trout on Lake Superior.

Anderson: He's on a big lake with a small boat, on a vintage pursuit

Pete Harris, 86, regularly seeks lake trout on Lake Superior, almost always alone and each time deploying the same three-seater 14-foot Starcraft he bought in 1964 to fish for walleyes on inland lakes.
Tom Larson, left, and Matt Slater await a flight of ducks while hunting northwest of Willmar on Saturday, opening day of the 2021 Minnesota watrerfowl

Anderson: Waterfowl season debuts with traditions renewed, though ducks are few

A new duck hunting season at a camp that has long history dawned Saturday. Though few ducks were overhead, the morning's enjoyment, ultimately, would not be defined solely by the number of birds bagged.
Ducks seen on the opening weekend for non-resident North Dakota hunters included drake mallards, like these, as well as pintails, gadwall and wigeon.

Anderson: Ducks deserve our best, not hollow words and indifference

We say we cherish ducks. But our actions often fool us into thinking we're conservationists when the reality is very different. A change of values is needed.
Chandra Twede received trapshooting lessons from her grandmother, Loral I Delaney, in 2003.

Famed trapshooter, dog trainer Loral I Delaney of Ramsey dies at 83

An animal lover who as a young girl kept everything from racoons to skunks as pets, Delaney at age 5 headlined her first dog act in 1943.
Stephen Roche, left, of Princeton, and Steve Backowski of Andover have been friends since their days at Anoka High School, and have hunted ducks toget

Anderson: Two kids from Anoka celebrate nearly a half- century of duck hunting together

Bound by a common love of fall and the surprise appearance of fast-flying ducks wheeling atop their decoys, Stephen Roche and Steve Backowski reflected on a recent day how quickly a half-century can pass.
Hunters might be among the first Minnesotans to have their recreation choices, and perhaps their lifestyles, significantly altered by climate change.

Threats of climate change lurk as Minnesota's hunting seasons begin

Hunters might be the first Minnesotans to have their recreation choices, and perhaps their lifestyles, significantly altered in a number of ways.
Fred Froehlich, left, of Nicollet, Minn., is mentoring 13-year-old Connor Bode of Mankato, helping the boy along his path to becoming a proficient hun

Anderson: Mentors keep the chain moving for young hunters

Today's youth need to be tomorrow's caretakers of our woods, waters and fields.
A pair of duck hunters hunkered in their boat on the Mississippi River north of Brainerd on Saturday on the first day of the five-day experimental tea

Anderson: Some duck hunters find teal in DNR's new 'experimental' season

For the first time in nearly 50 years, Minnesota duck hunters were granted a special early teal-hunting season, which opened Saturday at sunrise statewide.
Kathy Mommsen of Minneapolis is canoeing and biking the perimeter of Minnesota with her husband, Tony. Here they paddle the Mississippi River.

Anderson: By wheel and paddle, Minneapolis couple takes on perimeter of Minnesota

An ambitious journey for a Minneapolis couple has them on a state-wide journey by land and sea, pitching a tent to sleep in along the way.
Parker Smith, a Willmar eighth-grader, overlooks a Minnesota River backwater in Renville County on the first day of duck hunting Saturday. Hunting gen

Leech Lake, White Earth bands close wild-rice waters to teal hunters

The bands said the action is to protect wild rice harvesters during the five-day season, which starts Saturday. The ban covers some of Minnesota's best duck hunting areas and surprised DNR officials.
Teal in flight appear small. This early in fall they won’t be as colorfully plumed as they will be later in the season.

Anderson: DNR to hold special teal season, despite drought's effect on ducks

A five-day "experiment'' teal hunt begins Sept. 4. No one knows how many hunters will go afield seeking these early migrating ducks, nor how many teal the waterfowlers might see, or shoot.
South Dakota pheasant hunters have long enjoyed plentiful ringneck and spectacular sunsets. The sunsets are still there.

Anderson: Non-resident hunters vote on South Dakota pheasant plan by not showing up

Once the king of all ringneck states, based on bird numbers, South Dakota now relies on gimmicks.