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Scott M

GF Native Pens Book on Lake Vermillion

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By Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.

Jun. 1--Steve Foss, a Grand Forks native and former Herald staffer, has written a book on Lake Vermilion in northeastern Minnesota. "Lake Vermilion: A multi-species fishing guide to northern Minnesota's crown jewel," was released in May.

Timberjay Publications of Ely, Minn., is publisher.

Foss, 46, of Ely, has been "fishing with nearly single-minded intensity" for 35 years. He graduated from Grand Forks Central in 1980 and attended UND, majoring in English and Indian studies and minoring in education. He's the son of Virg Foss, longtime UND hockey reporter for the Herald, and he worked at the Herald as a columnist, reporter and assigning editor from 1994 to 2001 before moving to become a city editor at the Duluth News Tribune.

After leaving Duluth, Foss and his wife, Lisa, moved to Ely, where he worked as a writer, editor, photographer and page designer for the Ely Timberjay. He left the newspaper last June to pursue nature, wedding and portrait photography full time. "And, of course, to free up my schedule to fish," Foss said.

The book costs $19.95 and is available from the Timberjay Web site or at book stores in Tower, Cook, Ely and Virginia, Minn. Foss' photography is on display at

Foss recently talked about his new book and fishing Lake Vermilion with Herald outdoors writer Brad Dokken.

Q. What prompted you to write a book on Lake Vermilion?

A. The idea came from Outdoor News columnist and book publisher Shawn Perich, who mentioned to Timberjay Publications publisher Marshall Helmberger (who was my boss at the time I served as Ely editor of the Timberjay newspaper) that V was so large -- and such a big vacation destination and outstanding fishery -- that a fishing how-to book should have a strong market. Marshall agreed, and recruited me to research, write, photograph and design the book.

Q. Vermilion's a big lake (39,271 acres) with a lot of water to cover. How did you go about researching the book?

A. My research was a combination of my own hundreds of hours fishing the lake in the last six years, picking the brains of some local guides and longtime anglers, as well as getting tips from the members of Fishing, where I am pro staff. Not to mention, the lessons learned on many other lakes in 35 years of dedicated multi-species angling also apply to Vermilion.

Q. When did you fish Vermilion for the first time, and what was it about the lake that captured you?

A. I fished the Big V for the first time in the winter of 2001-02. I was immediately struck by how large it was, by the huge variety of structure and multitude of species of catchable fish. There also are many portions of the vast lake that have not yet fallen to development, so a true Up North experience remains available. That was important to me, since pursuing that type of lifestyle was one of the key reasons I left the Herald and Grand Forks to move to Duluth/Superior and, eventually, Ely.

Q. Is it a difficult lake to fish?

A. While its size can be intimidating, it's actually not a hard lake to fish for any experienced angler. It can be broken down pretty easily into sections, and a great thing about Vermilion is that, regardless of which cabin or resort you're staying at, you never have to boat for miles to find excellent fishing -- it's so good all over the lake.

Q. Talk a little bit about your book, what's in it and how it's organized.

A. The book is organized by species. Introductory material details the status and history of the fishery and of individual fish species, with a section of the most current DNR assessments, and from there is broken down into chapters dedicated to each fish species. Plenty of pictures and maps with seasonal movements and fish locations, as well as how-to-fish information, round out the guide. Experienced anglers without a lot of experience on Vermilion will find valuable information in the book, but it's written simply enough that novice anglers won't be put off.


Congratulations to stfcatfish on his books hitting the shelves.

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