By Starrla Cray, Associate Editor and
Jennifer Kotila, Staff Writer
DASSEL, COKATO, MN For 2003 Dassel-Cokato High School graduate Josh Bullivant, fishing at a resort in northern Minnesota isn’t a vacation it’s a career.
Bullivant is a fishing guide/resort manager at Trapper’s Landing Lodge, which is about three hours north of the Dassel/Cokato area.
“I love seeing people be successful out on the water catching fish,” he noted. “I also love being part of people’s vacations and making memorable experiences for them. It feels good when they come back year after year and get to know you.”
On guide trip days, Bullivant wakes up around 4 or 5 a.m. and loads his boat with the tackle and rods he’ll be needing for the day. Then, he heads to the local bait shop to pick up other supplies and meet with fellow guides.
When it’s time to fish, Bullivant meets his guests at the check-in office and heads out on the water.
“A typical full-day guide trip is about 10 hours on the water,” Bullivant said, explaining that he spends the time baiting hooks, telling jokes, talking about the area, and making sure the trip is going well for the guests.
Afterward, he cleans the fish for the guests, unloads and cleans the boat, and fills up with gas for the next adventure.
“It’s a long day,” he said. “Usually by this time it’s 8 or 9 at night and those days can be multiple days in a row but it’s a fun job.”
Bullivant has always loved the outdoors, and started serving as a guide in college. In 2005, he graduated from Vermillion Community College with an associate’s degree in wildlife management. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management from the University of Minnesota-Crookston.
Bullivant has been in the outdoors/wildlife industry for the past 12 years, and has worked at the Boundary Waters and Lake Mille Lacs in addition to Trapper’s Landing Lodge (which is on Leech Lake.)
Leech Lake is the third-largest lake in Minnesota, covering nearly 113,000 acres. According to the Trapper’s Landing Lodge website, Leech Lake is known for its excellent walleye population, and is one of the top muskie lakes in the Midwest. Other common fish include bass, northern pike, jumbo perch, and crappies.