Local man enjoyed time spent in Nome

Published 6:52pm Saturday, May 5, 2012

It was a little over a week ago that I received a call from Rex Stotts, a local man that has ties to Nome, Alaska. He said that a year ago he had spent some time in Nome. The reason that he had called was because I had written about my brother-in-law Lynn who lives in Nome, and he thought that I may be interested in what he had to say. He was right. He had a lot of interesting information not only about the outdoors, but also about the culture of the area.

Rex has a nephew who is a law enforcement officer in Nome and he and his wife were invited to visit during the summer. The Stotts had decided that since they had never ridden on the Amtrak they would take it to Seattle and then fly to Nome. Rex said that they thoroughly enjoyed the Amtrak experience and would do it again.

While talking to him I realized that he was really an avid outdoorsman, and in Nome he had access to a variety of opportunities. Rex fished in many of the rivers around Nome and also spent a lot of time exploring this area of Alaska. He was also able to spend some time at his nephew’s cabin in a remote area of that part of Alaska. While there, he had the opportunity to hunt caribou and went along when his nephew and his sons hunted moose.

In addition, Rex had a chance to do some fishing and was told by the family that he should never leave the house without a gun. Bears are always a threat whenever you are outside of Nome, so carrying a firearm is considered an added piece of fishing equipment. According to Rex, the hunting was physically hard because of the rough terrain and because riding ATVs for a long distance takes a toll on the body.

Rex has put together a slideshow that he has presented to different service organizations in our area and those pictures really tell a fascinating story of Nome and the culture of the area. The vastness of the area is pretty overwhelming and the idea of that much untouched wilderness is hard to imagine. He said there are many abandoned dredges out in the bush that were left there by gold miners of years past.

Rex has grown quite interested in the native culture. His nephew’s wife is an Athabasca Indian and Rex was impressed when he watched her can salmon and moose for use during the upcoming months. She was also mentoring her daughters so that they could pass on the longtime family tradition. Meat in Nome is very expensive if you have to buy it in a store so hunting and fishing is a way of life for many of its residents.

Life in this part of Alaska is somewhat rustic and to some may even seem harsh. It surely isn’t for everyone. Even the most avid outdoors lover can have a hard time with the long dark winters. I guess that I’d have a hard time going with little or no sunlight for that long a period of time. It seems that this is the price they pay for enjoying the beauty of Alaska and the great hunting and fishing that it offers.

These are just a few of the many interesting stories that Rex shared with me, but what I took away from this is that he truly enjoys the outdoors and the native culture. I’d guess that for an avid outdoorsman like him spending that much time in Alaska was like locking a kid in a candy store.


Musky talk

The May meeting of Crossroads Chapter 54 of Muskies Inc. will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Eagles in Owatonna. The speaker will be a representative from Cannon Watershed District. Also, updates, door prizes, raffle and musky talk.

Our June 13 meeting will be on the water at French Lake, 5 to 8 p.m., followed by short meeting at Hoy’s Resort. Check our website www.michapter54.com. Our meetings are the second Wednesday of every month. Anyone interested in musky fishing, join us on the water and afterward at resort.


Lake sturgeon making a comeback

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ section of fisheries is celebrating a major milestone in the recovery efforts of the lake sturgeon population on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River. According to DNR biologists, short-term population recovery goals have been met, which is a big step toward full recovery.

“The population is recovering nicely and it’s a testament to a how successful long-term cooperative efforts on international and border waters can be when coupled with strong clean water legislation,” said Phil Talmage, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Baudette.

The lake sturgeon recovery has been a cooperative effort between the Minnesota-Ontario Borders Waters Fisheries Management Committee, which includes fisheries biologists from the DNR northwest and northeast regions and Canada Ministry of Natural Resources.

The spring harvest season on the Rainy River runs from April 24 to May 7. From May 8 to May 15, anglers can fish for lake sturgeon, but must release all fish they catch. The fishing season for lake sturgeon is closed May 16 to June 30. There is a second harvest season that runs July 1 to Sept. 30.

Until next time, get your tackle ready and do a little fishing; it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.


Dick Herfindahl’s column appears each Sunday in the Tribune