Outdoors Notebook: Saganaga Lake homecoming set for Minnesota state record walleye

LeRoy Chiovitte, of Hermantown, Minnesota, caught the 17-pound, 8-ounce walleye May 13, 1979, on the Seagull River where it flows into Saganaga Lake.

State record walleye
Jeff Alberts, off camera, Bonnie Schudy, and Michael Chiovitte guide LeRoy Chiovitte’s record walleye into Schudy’s truck on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
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Celebration set for Minnesota record walleye

GRAND MARAIS, Minn. – The Minnesota state record walleye is now resting in its new, permanent home in the fishing history annex building of the Chik-Wauk Museum at the end of the Gunflint Trail.

The new site is just a stone's throw from where LeRoy Chiovitte, of Hermantown, Minnesota, caught the 17-pound, 8-ounce walleye May 13, 1979, on the Seagull River where it flows into Saganaga Lake.

Some of the research confirmed details that anglers have long suspected.

Museum organizers have scheduled a celebration event for 4 to 6 p.m. May 29 to mark the homecoming. The event is free and open to the public. (The main museum building is also open until 5 p.m. for tours; $5 for adults and $2 children.)

In addition to the big fish, historic photos will be on display, and there will be wine and cheese available and a silent auction fundraiser for the nonprofit museum.


Former University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks is scheduled to tell his story of a big walleye he caught in nearby Loon Lake in 1989 that might have topped Chiovitte’s fish – if only it had been weighed sooner.

LeRoy Chiovitte died in 2019 without designating a permanent location for his famous walleye that had been displayed in his living room for 40 years. Based on input from News Tribune readers, his family, including his wife, Joanne, decided last winter to donate the stuffed fish to the museum so it would be available for anyone to see.

More info:

– John Myers, Duluth News Tribune

National Safe Boating Week is underway

BISMARCK – A safe boating public awareness campaign held annually in May serves as a good reminder for boaters heading into summer, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said.

National Safe Boating Week begins Saturday, May 21, and continues through Friday, May 27.

A boat should have enough U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets on board for all passengers. North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft users to wear a life jacket, as well as anyone towed on skis, tubes, boards or other similar devices. However, state law allows a person who is at least 16 years old to windsurf or boardsail without wearing a PFD.

Water users should make sure to wear life jackets that are the appropriate size and in good condition. Failure to wear a personal flotation device is the main reason people lose their lives in water recreation accidents.


Water skiers and tubers should wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than one with a zipper, because straps are stronger than zippers upon impact with water. Anglers and people paddling a canoe, kayak or paddleboard should opt for a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear for an entire outing.

It is also important that children wear a PFD while swimming. Swimmers should know the water’s depth, as serious injuries can occur from diving. Large objects hidden below the water’s surface can lead to significant injury.

North Dakota boaters are also reminded that marine VHF radios are an important part of boat safety that should not be improperly used by operators. These radios are intended for boat operators in distress and facing an emergency situation.

Regulations to help ensure safe boating this summer are found in the North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide.

– Herald staff report

Projects can earn Earth Day patches

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Earth Day patch contest is geared to bring greater awareness to the environment.

Yet, like Earth Day, which began in 1970 and kick-started the environmental movement, concern for the outdoors isn’t simply a once-a-year thing. Understanding this, the Game and Fish Department supports Earth Day, Every Day to promote continual awareness about the environment.

With that in mind, young people and adults participating in public land cleanup and improvements will receive the 2022 Earth Day Patch to celebrate Earth Day and their service. Projects that qualify include trash cleanup on local, state or federal property, and landscaping on public property including planting trees, bushes and pollinator plants.


For more information or to request patches for a group’s service project, contact Sherry Niesar, Earth Day coordinator, at (701) 527-3714 or .

– Herald staff report

DNR: Plant a tree during Arbor Month

ST. PAUL – With warmer weather and May being Arbor Month, now is a great time to plant a tree, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“Minnesotans across the state can plant trees now to support resilient community forests into the future,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR cooperative forest management outreach specialist. “By thoughtfully choosing, planting, and caring for a diverse mix of trees, people can help community forests store carbon, improve air and water quality, and provide other benefits.”

Healthy trees are important to Minnesota and its residents, but Minnesota’s trees are under stress from changing temperature and precipitation patterns and more extreme weather events. Planting a healthy tree adapted to changing climate conditions and choosing a species that adds to the diverse mix of trees in the surrounding area improves resilience to these stressors.

Teegarden said the Kentucky coffeetree is a less common tree that is well-adapted to a changing climate because it grows in a wide range of habitats, has no major pests, is salt and ice-storm tolerant and is pollinator-friendly.

The Arbor Month page of the DNR website ( ) has resources for choosing a climate-resilient tree that is suitable for different locations, planting and caring for trees, and understanding how trees mitigate the effects of climate change.

– Herald staff report

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