Adventure & Relax on a Minnesota Camping Trip

Credit to Erica Wachker of ExploreMinnesota.com: https://www.exploreminnesota.com/travel-ideas/reconnect-on-a-camping-trip/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Camping with dogs in Superior National ForestCamping in the Superior National Forest / Alyssa Hei

Relaxation, adventure, escape, and quality time with family and friends are among the many reasons why camping is a beloved Minnesota pastime. Whether you’re ready to take on the Boundary Waters or prefer the comforts of an RV, a Minnesota camping trip will surely be one to remember.

BOUNDARY WATERS & BACKPACKING

View from a boundary waters bluff

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness / Gary Hamer

 

Camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a badge of honor. There are no roads, buildings, motorboats, and definitely no cell phone service. The only mode of transportation is via canoe, with more than 1,500 miles of waterways to explore. When it’s time to set up camp, simply paddle to an open campsite and pitch your tent. Every campsite is private, so you’ll have a little piece of the wilderness all to yourselves.

Adjacent to the Boundary Waters, the Superior National Forest has a wide range of camping options, from primitive “dispersed camping” sites up to drive-in sites complete with bathhouses and electric hookups. Also in this picturesque part of the state, the Superior Hiking Trail covers nearly 300 miles of rugged terrain above the North Shore of Lake Superior, with more than 90 campsites along the way.

Lake Maria State Park camping backpacking

Backpacking at Lake Maria State Park

Another backpacking hot spot is Crosby Manitou State Park on the North Shore near Silver Bay, where challenging trails are flanked with spectacular views of waterfalls and forests. The secluded campsites are for backpackers only (though you may have to share them with moose, deer and other wildlife).

Similar camping experiences can be found in the northwest part of the state, in the Chippewa National Forest and along the North Country National Scenic Trail, which travels 800 miles across the northern half of Minnesota with multiple segments that stretch from the North Dakota border all the way to the Superior Hiking Trail.

Backpacking opportunities even exist near the Minneapolis-St. Paul area at AftonLake Maria and St. Croix state parks. Several state parks also have “walk-in” (less than half a mile) sites, with carts available to haul your gear in some cases.

CAMPGROUNDS & RV PARKS

Airstream Mille Lacs Mali Mish

Airstream at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park / Mali Mish Family

If you’re looking for a more laid back and family-friendly camping experience, Minnesota has about 500 privately operated campgrounds, most of which are on a lake or river, with sites for RVs as well as tents. Many are at resorts that also rent cabins and other indoor lodging.

These campgrounds usually feature an array of amenities, such as pools, playgrounds, game rooms, entertainment, boat rentals, Wi-Fi, and on-site laundry, groceries and restaurants. Many offer family-friendly activities like bonfires and other fun that make them a great choice for groups of all ages.

Many of Minnesota’s most scenic spots have been preserved as state parks, and most of the 75 parks and recreation areas have campgrounds with tent and RV sites. The settings range from forest to prairie; scenic hiking trails and access to a lake or river are among the highlights at these popular parks.

Camper cabin at Afton State Park

Camper cabin at Afton State Park / Kirsten Alana

Several state parks and some private campgrounds also rent camper cabins, an appealing alternative for those who don’t want to sleep in a tent. The majority have electricity and heat and can sleep up to six people. But without their own restrooms or running water, you can still say that you’re roughing it.

City and county campgrounds are another good option; in-town campgrounds are usually near shops, restaurants and attractions. If you don’t have your own camping equipment, various outfitters offer rentals of everything from tents and pop-up campers to top-of-the-line motorhomes complete with kitchens and master suites.

Five Ways to Enjoy Minnesota’s 10,000 Lakes

Credit to Explore Minnesota: https://www.exploreminnesota.com/travel-ideas/five-ways-to-enjoy-minnesotas-10000-lakes/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

When you visit a place that’s nicknamed “Land of 10,000 Lakes” (make that 11,842, to be precise), it’s pretty much required that you explore one or two of them while you’re here. In fact, many would argue you haven’t had the full Minnesota experience until you’ve gone to the lake. After all, they’re not hard to find!

As you plan your Minnesota getaway, be sure to carve out some time at a lake—whether it’s a side trip for an afternoon or the focus of your whole vacation. Here are five great ways to do so.

1. PLAY AT THE BEACH

waconia7808-Lake-Waconia-beach-scenes-600x400.jpg

Sunbathing on Lake Waconia

It’s the classic way to spend a summer day. Spread out a towel, pull out a good book, make a sandcastle with the kids, and cool off with a dip in the lake. It’s easy to include a beach day (or several!) on a Minnesota getaway. Many cities have great beaches right in town, including Big Lake, Detroit LakesFairmontSpicer and Waconia. For a refreshing dip in our biggest lake, Superior, head to Park Point Beach in Duluth. You can even beach it at lakes Maka Ska and Harriet right in the heart of Minneapolis, and several other Twin Cities-area lakes.

Numerous state parks have terrific sand beaches, including Father Hennepin on Mille Lacs Lake, Zippel Bay on Lake of the Woods, McCarthy BeachLake BemidjiMaplewood and Lake Shetek. Most of Minnesota’s resorts and campgrounds are located along lakeshores, so look for one with a swimming beach.

2. PADDLE AWAY

A woman canoeing in the Boundary Waters

Kayaking in the Boundary Waters / Jillian DeChaine

Canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding are all great ways to explore our lakes. Many state and local parks offer canoe and kayak rentals for easy lake paddling. In Minneapolis, you can rent a canoe at Bde Maka Ska and paddle through a chain of lakes via connecting canals. For more experienced paddlers, the ultimate adventure is a camping trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; several outfitters provide equipment, provisions and tips.

Paddleboards are the newest wave of fun on the lake. Stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) are available for rent at several state parks, Minneapolis city lakes and at Bryant Lake, Fish Lake and Baker regional parks in the Minneapolis area. In the Brainerd Lakes area, MN Surf Company offers rentals and lessons.

3. GO FISH

A favorite Minnesota pastime, fishing is favored by some simply as an excuse to get out on a lake and relax. If you don’t have your own boat, many resorts offer rentals. And even better, they can hook you up with a fishing guide who can show you the ins and outs of area lakes. Fishing charters can take you out on the big waters of Lake Superior and Lake of the Woods, and fishing launches go out on larger lakes like Mille Lacs. What’s out there? Minnesota lakes serve up a variety of species: walleye, northerns, bass, muskie, various panfish and more.

4. TAKE A CRUISE

Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tour

Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tour on the St. Croix River / Lucy Hawthorne Photography

An easy and fun way to get out on a lake is to climb aboard a tour boat. In the north woods, a narrated boat trip in Itasca State Park explores the lake where the Mississippi River begins as a small stream, and tour boats explore the wilderness lakes of Voyageurs National Park. Elsewhere in the state, Gull Lake Cruises offers cruises with meals on the popular Gull Lake near Brainerd. Vista Fleet tours feature views of Duluth from the city’s harbor and Lake Superior.

Lake Minnetonka, a vast, meandering lake to the west of Minneapolis, has several tour boats: Lady of the Lakepaddlewheeler, Queen of Excelsior, and even the restored 1906 Steamboat Minnehaha. In southeast Minnesota, the Pelican Breeze plies the waters of Albert Lea Lake, and Pearl of the Lake heads onto Lake Pepin, a widening of the Mississippi River in a scenic valley of wooded bluffs.

5. SPEND THE NIGHT

Family on dock at resort in Grand Rapids

Resort stays make lake life a breeze

It can be hard to tear yourself away from the lake at the end of the day … so don’t! Find your own place at the lake for a few days, or even weeks. Reserve your stay at a lakeside resort, lodge or campground to really experience lakeside living. Watch the sun set amid vivid pinks and purples. Listen for the distinctive call of loons across the water.

After nightfall, roast marshmallows at a campfire, be amazed by zillions of stars twinkling above, see the moon rise above the lake and, if you’re lucky, catch the northern lightsdancing in the sky. It’s the perfect end to a relaxing day at the lake, with the promise of another to come.

How to Plan a Minnesota Family Reunion Vacation

There’s nothing like getting the family together again. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, and the whole rest of the extended family. Of course, getting everything organized can be a hassle, especially if you don’t know where the host the reunion at. So today let’s see how to set up a family reunion up here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, following these five steps:

Formulating the Family Reunion

Hosting a large gathering like a family reunion takes time, and you’ll want to be prepared. It’s good to make sure you’re not the only one planning this out, so be sure to communicate with the rest of your family in planning out a reunion. This means speaking to them in-person, over the phone, online, mail, etc, in order to notify them that you want to plan out a family reunion, and if they would be interested in attending. Even if some family members may not attend, it’s still important to send out an invite to them anyway so they don’t feel left out.

Allocating Duties

It’s important to delegate certain tasks to others when planning out a family reunion, otherwise it’s very easy to get overwhelmed as one person running the whole show. This means making sure you get the whole family to pitch in, with some of them being responsible for managing entertainment, finances, food, reservations, etc. Speaking of reservations, when booking a location to host a family reunion at, such as a resort, it’s important to have reservations up to a year in advance. In the northern Minnesota area, there’s plenty of resorts to book a family reunion at, such as White Birch Resort. Sometimes you can even get solid off-season deals at resorts!

Managing Time

When booking your family reunion, you’ll want to decide how long you want the reunion to last, be it a couple days or a couple weeks. Regardless, knowing what time frame you want to work under will help a lot in planning out the rest of the events you want to have at the reunion. For example, it’s recommended to have a longer stay at a resort you’re hosting a reunion at if your family is out-of-state, or even out-of-country. That way they can enjoy more experiences offered and get more value out of the time and money spent at the reunion.

Inclusive Activities

As said before, it’s crucial to try and send invitations to everyone you want to have attend so they don’t feel left out. But besides that, it’s also important that all the events and activities at the reunion are ones that a vast majority of your family will enjoy. If you have family that enjoy outside activities like hiking, fishing, swimming, and more, then booking a resort with tons of nature around it is a fantastic idea. Of course, it’s always good to mix up activities too, such as having movie nights, going bowling, visiting historical landmarks, etc. Knowing the location you’re going to be at during your family reunion will help a lot in planning out events, such as finding catering services and local businesses you want to visit. So be sure to factor in your family’s demographics to make sure it matches with the culture of the geographics your reunion will be at.

Linking-Up

Now once you actually get your family reunion situated after several months of coordinating, you’re going to want to meet and greet with everyone as they arrive. If your budget is big enough, you can even do things like give out welcome bags or t-shirts. It’s also best to show everyone a schedule of events to keep things organized for all the activities planned at your family reunion. Having a great start to your family reunion will help provide a solid foundation for setting the right atmosphere. Then with a nice base to start the family reunion on, all it takes it maintaining momentum and you’ll be able to create wonderful memories with your family at your next reunion.

Minnesota fishing report

Minnesota fishing updates provided by White Birch Resort on Blackduck Lake.

www.whitebirchresort.net

 

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Explore Minnesota Weekly Fishing Update – May 3, 2019
Maddie discovers that even a little perch can be exciting! Photo courtesy of Wildwood Resort
 

Excitement fills the air as the 2019 Minnesota Fishing Opener approaches! Nearly all lakes in Minnesota will be free of ice by the May 11 fishing opener. DNR Fisheries Staff expect most walleye to have completed their spawn and be eager to bite.

Anglers continue to take nice panfish from the warm, shallow bays. Large sturgeon and northern pike are still being pulled from northern border waters with open seasons.

Main lake water temperatures remain extremely cold so anglers need to use caution and wear a life jacket. Please review Cold Water Kills before heading out.

Minnesota fishing opener dates for the 2019/2020 fishing season for most inland waters are as follows: walleye, sauger, northern pike, bass and lake trout, May 11; muskie, June 1. The fishing season for crappies, sunnies, perch and catfish is continuous. For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesota web page.

 

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Central] [Minneapolis-St. Paul Area] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

The Rainy River tag season for sturgeon starts April 24 and runs through May 7 when anglers are allowed to keep one sturgeon with a previously purchased sturgeon tag. To keep a sturgeon, it must be 45 to 50 inches in length or over 75 inches. All Rainy River accesses are open, and the Ron Hall access in International Falls, located just a mile or so downstream from the dam, is always a good choice. The swifter waters in this area are usually hold an abundance of sturgeon. If you catch a sturgeon, but cannot tag it, please handle it carefully and release it quickly. Sturgeon should always be held in a horizontal orientation, holding them vertically can damage internal organs. The Rainy River is a success story in the efforts to restore sturgeon fisheries in North America. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

Kabetogama

Lake Kabetogama and Crane Lake are on track for an ice-free fishing opener. The ice that once was locked tight on the north shore of Kabetogama and towards the east has now melted. Even though it has been cool, the wind combined with poor ice has done its work and we are ice free all the way to Namakan and beyond Ash River. The entire lake chain should be ice-free for opening weekend anglers.

Anglers have been out fishing for crappies but no reports are available. Once the sun shines, this bite should heat up nicely. Loons and pelicans made their first appearance the last week of April, and locally nesting waterfowl have arrived. Water levels are about 18 to 20 inches higher than this time last year. 800-524-9085; www.kabetogama.com

Duluth – Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

Lake Superior has been busy this week as smelt start to show up in the North Shore streams and rivers. According to the DNR, popular smelting waters include Lester, Knife, Stewart, Gooseberry, Split Rock, Beaver, Baptism, Cross, Temperance, Poplar and Cascade. Learn more at Smelt on the North Shore.

Anglers are taking lots of salmon when trolling the North Shore shoreline. The best tactic has been to troll stick baits in a variety of colors to learn which colors are most productive.

Stream anglers continue to report success with steelhead trout, a few salmon and an occasional brown trout. Some are taking a few suckers as well. The most successful technique is to drift spawn under float indicators. Patience is key. Anglers need to remember that these are migratory fish and eventually one will swim by.

Docks are going in on the St. Louis River. Expect to see anglers testing their boats and trying their luck with panfish prior to the May 11 opener. The MN DNR recently surveyed the spawning walleye up river and the results were very positive.

The inland lakes are giving up lots of panfish in the shallows where the water is warming rapidly. In fact, water temperatures as high as 52 degrees have been recorded. The shallow bays with decaying plants, bug larvae and/or new vegetation are generally the best fishing sites. For the most fish, use a 32-ounce jig tipped with a wax worm or soft plastic under a bobber. A few crappies are also being caught in the shallows by anglers using crappie minnows.

Please remember, that populations of fish can be very vulnerable this time of year. Please release the larger fish and harvest the more plentiful smaller fish. By doing so, we all win! 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids area offers many early season panfish opportunities once lakes are free of ice. Most anglers target crappies, but there are also great opportunities for bluegill and perch. As the shallows warm and forage increases, look for panfish in water as shallow as 2 to 3 feet. You will need to quietly sneak up on the fish since they are so shallow. A small slip bobber with a jig in soft bottom areas with old stands of pencil reeds are great spots for early season crappies. Instead of anchoring, try a trolling motor to move freely with a bit of control. Four pound test line is ideal and very manageable, even for the largest crappies and bluegills. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Northern pike and sturgeon reports have been excellent on the south shore of Lake of the Woods.  The bays on the lake and the river are open and full of pike. Large dead baits, as well as slowly rolling a spinnerbait, spoon or crankbait are the best methods. Numerous trophy-class northern pike are being caught. Please remember that all pike 30 to 40 inches in length must be returned to the water. There is a 3 fish limit with one over 40 inches allowed.

The annual Zippel Bay Resort Ice Out Pike Tournament will be held May 4-5, a bit later than usual due to later ice-out predictions. Pike anglers are already pulling nice northern pike from various bays on Lake of the Woods and Zippel Bay is usually a hot spot. Part of the appeal of Zippel Bay is that it’s more secluded, easier to hide from cold winds, and anglers will not require the larger boats like on the main lake.

On the Rainy River, sturgeon fishing has been excellent. The ideal presentation a 3 to 6 ounce no-roll sinker, a sturgeon rig and a few nightcrawlers or combination of crawlers and frozen emerald shiners. The keep season for sturgeon continues through May 7. If you intend to keep a sturgeon, you must purchase a sturgeon tag ahead of time.

Up at the Northwest Angle, open water areas are increasing rapidly. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bena – Lake Winnibigoshish

As of May 2, nearly all of the ice had melted on Lake Winnibigoshish. Time to prepare for the fishing opener May 11!  Learn about recommended fishing techniques for Lake Winnibigoshish during the Minnesota Fishing Opener.   www.lakewinnie.net

Hackensack Area Lakes

The majority of lakes in the area are wide open, however, as of April 29, Ten Mile still had some ice on the main lake, as did Leech and Woman lakes. All should be free of ice shortly. 800-279-6932; www.hackensackchamber.com  

Central Region

Glenwood Area Lakes

The Starbuck Marina on Lake Minnewaska has been the giving up lots of sunfish and crappies. For the most action, use a small jig tipped with a waxworm or minnow. Other good locations have been Fish Hatchery Bay, and Pocket, Reno, Rachael and Mary lakes. www.glenwoodlakesarea.org

Brainerd Area Lakes

North Long, Hubert and all of the smaller lakes within the Gull Lake Chain are producing good numbers of panfish. The best depths and techniques depend on the day.  On sunny days, crappies are preferring minnows in depths of 2 to 5 feet. On cloudy days, bright-colored plastics have been best in depths of 6 to 10 feet. The larger bluegills are schooling at the new weed growth, with plastics and live bait both working well. 800-450-7247; www.visitbrainerd.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

The walleye are hungry on Lake Mille Lacs, with accidental walleye coming in on small plastic crappie baits. Ice out on Lake Mille Lacs was declared April 29, and many docks are already in for the season! Check out the Lake Mille Lacs webcams to view the progress.

Mille Lacs is known to be an excellent fishery for walleye, as well as bass. Consider attending the Bronzeback Blowout at Izatys Resort on May 4. This event helps to maintain Mille Lacs’ world-class trophy smallmouth bass fishery status. Free beer and wine will be offered during Happy Hour, followed by a wonderful buffet meal by the chefs at Izatys. Evening fun includes a silent auction, live auction, raffles and door prizes galore. Special industry guests will also attend. Last year’s event sold out get your tickets soon.

Anglers fishing Mille Lacs may keep one walleye from May 11 through May 31, but the walleye must measure between 21 and 23 inches, or be more than 28 inches long. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Consider participating in the Family Fishing on the Opener on May 11 at Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park. Learn about different types of fish, preparing equipment, baiting a hook and handling fish once they are caught — make memories on the lake with your family! Pre-registration is required.

Stillwater Area Lakes and Rivers

Opening day for walleye and sauger on the St. Croix River is May 4. According to Turk Gierke, fishing should be very good for opening weekend despite high water levels. Live bait and crankbaits should both be effective. 651/351-1717; www.discoverstillwater.com

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of May 2, most southeastern streams and rivers were clear with normal to slightly high water flow. Dark Hendricksons were being observed. Several species of caddis were hatching intermittently for the past week or so.  Blue-winged Olives would considered a possibility by DNR fisheries staff. Some anglers were having success with streamers. Learn more at the DNR’s Trout Streams page. Before you go, check out the “Area Highlights” section of the Lanesboro Area Fisheries web pagefor stream maps. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Albert Lea Area Lakes

The 72nd Annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will be held May 9-12, 2019 on Fountain Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Albert Lea area. Located about 75 minutes south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Albert Lea is nestled between Fountain and Albert Lea lakes. There are 13 lakes in the area, many offering fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing. In the heart of the city, the 521-acre Fountain Lake features several great fishing bays and is home to 20 species of fish, including largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, catfish and yellow perch. 800-345-8414; www.albertleatourism.org

Ortonville – Big Stone Lake

The bite seems to improve each day the water warms on Big Stone Lake. Anglers having the most success are casting jigs into 1 to 5 feet of water on the rocks. The water is dirty and high so plastics have been best for walleye. The walleye season is continuous on this border water. 800-568-5722; www.bigstonelake.com

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Explore Minnesota’s Finest Cuisines, Wines, Beers and Spirits!

The Explore Minnesota drinking and eating guide lists and links to more than 1,500 restaurants throughout the state, as well as Minnesota breweries and wineries. Renowned chefs serve up an eclectic array of fare, ranging from international cuisine to dishes straight from the local farm. The state is seeing huge growth in craft beer and spirits, and Minnesota wines continue to win awards at international competitions. Keep checking back we’re adding new venues all the time. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/drink-eat

Did someone say Burgers?

Matt’s Bar & Grill, now a Minneapolis landmark, began in 1954 as a neighborhood burger eatery. Shortly after we opened, founder Matt Bristol explains how the “Jucy Lucy” was created when a local customer asked for two hamburger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. Upon biting into this new, molten hot burger, he exclaimed “that’s one juicy Lucy”, and a legend was born. Customer demand grew so quickly, we forgot to add the “i” and the “Jucy Lucy” has now become a local culinary hero. Remember, if it’s spelled correctly, you just might be eating a shameless ripoff!

Matt’s has received numerous awards, and has appeared in publications from Hamburgers Across America to the The New York Times. Matt’s has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food and Food Wars, where we won the best tasting “Jucy Lucy” in town. Each “Jucy Lucy” is carefully handmade with the freshest, high-quality beef and filled with the molten hot cheese you can only find at Matt’s. Once you’ve had our “Jucy Lucy”, you’ll understand why our motto is “Fear the Cheese”!

Wineries & Winery Dining

Richwood Winery is the hidden star of the North Star State. Located on 9 acres of pristine land overlooking Lake Buffalo and just 10 miles North of Detroit Lakes, it is a destination for anyone and everyone. Whether you are an oenophiliac (wine-lover), vacationer, family looking to enjoy the scenery or just someone who could use a day to relax and unwind – welcome, you’re home.

Richwood began in 2007 as a location like no other. Convinced that the grape varietals created by the University of Minnesota could not only survive the conditions of northern MN but thrive to create a great wine, co-owner and founder Penny Aguirre purchased the location to put her notion to the test. Her vision for Richwood extended far beyond just the grapes. As she fondly remembers “I wanted to make a community gathering place where people in the area can meet each other and become friends.” Today the winery and grounds of Richwood are that vision personified: a place where family, wine and science play happily all day every day.

Starting in the spring of 2008 with LaCrescent, Frontenac Gris and Marquette grapes, the winery has expanded, bringing those cold weather loving, hearty vines and their delicious products together with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir grapes from California to bring the best of both worlds together in a glass. Your glass.

All grapes are crushed on-site and the wine made, blended and bottled in the wine “laboratory,” a converted garage combining the quality of any NAPA Valley winery with all the charm of northern Minnesota. Together with the log cabin tasting room overlooking the vineyards, the former-airplane-hangar storage facility and the rest of the gorgeous nine acre, southern exposure property and you have an experience not to be missed.

So if you are looking for the right space for your next event, excited about one of our annual shindigs or simply curious how beautiful and rewarding a day with us can possibly be, come join the community!  We love the Lake Buffalo life and can’t wait to greet you with a warm welcome to the Richwood Winery family.

Breweries

Klockow Brewery, This brewery and taproom is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Andy and Tasha Klockow. Andy is from rural Northern Wisconsin. Tasha is from the Grand Rapids area. Andy is also the resident brewer. He has been working at HammerHeart Brewing Company in Lino Lakes over the past 3 years and is excited to cultivate his own recipes for the people of the Grand Rapids area. We are basically open books so please feel free to reach out to us!

Traditional Minnesota Food; Transformation!

When you think of Minnesota food, you might think of a few classic staples: nutty wild rice, flaky walleye, and stick-to-your-guts hot dish. http://whitebirchresort.net

Change, of course, has arrived with a vengeance as a food revolution has swept the state, and tradition is increasingly seen as a platform for invention. Chefs around the state revel in adapting and sometimes completely transforming hidebound dishes, creating menus that riff playfully on familiar flavors and foods.

MPLS Dog

MPLS DOG AT UNCLE FRANKY’S, TWIN CITIES

Diners know the Chicago Dog and the Coney Island Dog but how about the MPLS Dog? Stop into Uncle Franky’s to enjoy this new creation. The MPLS Dog is an all beef hot dog topped with hot dish, a drizzle of ketchup, Cheese-Whiz and crispy tater tots. You can find the MPLS Dog at Uncle Franky’s in Minneapolis, Fridley and Plymouth.

GRAND VIEW LODGE DINING ROOM, NISSWA

Plunge into a venison wild rice meatloaf at the Grand View Lodge Dining Room if you’d like to experience an elevated take on a Midwestern classic. The venison and wild rice take you to the arboreal wilds, and the presentation and technique bring you back into the comfort of civilization.

PIGGY BLUE’S BAR-B-QUE, AUSTIN

SPAM takes center stage in Austin, Minnesota, home of the famous canned ham that fueled American troops through multiple wars (and became an intrinsic part of Hawaiian and Korean cultures in the process.) Stop by Piggy Blue’s Bar-B-Que for a Spam Town Po’ Boy or Spam Burger.

FITGER’S BREWHOUSE, DULUTH

Fitger’s is a food, drink and music hub of Duluth’s social scene, so it’s no surprise that they’ve got some inventive takes on local flavor. The brewpub’s smoked fish salad uses smoked trout from local smokehouse Northern Waters, wild rice and smoked dressing, and it brings a hearty does of flavor to the table.

If you’re up for something a bit more edgy, try the Northern Waters Smokehaus Whitefish Burger, where the locally caught fish is seasoned with breadcrumbs, eggs, mustard and spice, served on a ciabatta roll and finished with wasabi mayonnaise.

Blue Door Pub burger
Photo courtesy of The Blue Door Pub

THE BLUE DOOR PUB, ST. PAUL & MINNEAPOLIS

The humble cheese-stuffed hamburger known as the Jucy Lucy got its start in South Minneapolis taverns like Matt’s, Adrian’s and the 5-8 Club. But it has been taken to inventive heights by the team behind The Blue Door Pub in St. Paul, with a new location in Minneapolis’ Longfellow neighborhood.

The Blue Door’s menu swims with creative versions of the stuffed favorite, but the one that caught our eye was the Bangkok Blucy, stuffed with coconut milk-soaked mozzarella and topped with pickled carrots, cucumbers, red onion, and ginger with a side of curry for dunking.

THE BOATHOUSE, ELY

Craft beer has come to Minnesota’s vacation country in force, as evidenced by frontier brewpubs like the newly founded Boathouse in Ely. The Boathouse’s beer-battered walleye uses house-made craft beer and thereby managed to capture a good percentage of a successful fishing trip in each bite taken.

Alternately, take your walleye to Mexico via India with the brewpub’s fish taco, which features breaded strips of fish on naan bread with shredded cheddar and a side of broccoli slaw.

Minnesota fishing reports.

Minnesota fishing resports
Pan fishing in Minnesota

Minnesota fishing reports for Minnesota brought to you by White Birch Resort on Blackduck Lake.

Weekly Fishing Update – Nov. 3, 2017

The open water fishing season is coming to an end now that ice is starting to form on some of the ponds and swamps. If you’re eager for the ice fishing season to begin, attend the Hard Water Fishing Expo at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Nov. 17-19, and discover the latest ice fishing gear including rods, reels, tackle, shelters, wheelhouses, sleds and more. Also enjoy seminars from your favorite Clam Ice Team pros.

Few updates will be available during the transition from soft water to hard water fishing. Please remember that no ice is ever completely safe. It is extremely important to wear a life jacket when out on the water due to the risk of hypothermia. Learn more.

For rules, regulations and other helpful information on fishing in Minnesota, consult the DNR’s Fish Minnesota web page.

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Twin Cities] [Central] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

Duluth – Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

It’s starting to feel like winter! Some area water temperatures are now hovering around the 40 degree mark, with a skim of ice forming on waters in the far north. Please remember that no ice is ever completely safe. Few anglers are heading out onto Lake Superior. Stream fishing remains strong, but anglers must head out early due to fishing pressure. The best tactic has been to swing a fly or cast hardware into faster waters. Some anglers are also having success using bags. The fishing has slowed a bit due to rising rivers rising and slightly dirty waters due to recent precipitation, but a few chrome (steelhead) continue to be taken. Both North Shore and South Shore streams are seeing plenty of action. The St. Louis River has slowed a bit, yet plenty of fish can still be found with a bit of searching — this is a good time of year to scope out winter ice fishing sites. Walleye are currently being pulled from 10 feet of water by anglers slowly trolling crank baits and pitching 3/8 inch jigs with aggressive retrieves. While live bait has been best for numbers, the larger fish prefer an oversized plastic. A medium-light 6 foot 10 inch custom rod has been very effective. Muskie angling has been good for anglers slowly drifting oversized sucker minnows on quick set rigs. The inland lakes continue to give up fish, especially at the “typical” wintering holes for panfish. Some anglers are having success using ice rods with ice tackle. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

The walleye bite continues to be strong on Lake of the Woods, and hearty fall anglers are taking nice fish. The walleye have been holding in front of Pine Island, Graceton Beach, Zippel Bay, Long Point, and near the gaps in 7 to 30 feet of water. Anglers having the most success are using a pink, pink/white or gold jig tipped with a shiner. The Rainy River is giving up walleye of all sizes. Look for walleye and shiners at Frontier, Clementson and a few miles upriver from Wheeler’s Point. Schools of shiners are coming into the river at various times, with walleye following right behind. For the most action, vertically jig a shiner while anchored. Some anglers are also doing well when trolling crankbaits east of Baudette. Smallmouth bass, northern pike, sturgeon and crappies are being caught on a daily basis. Up at the Northwest Angle, walleye are active in 10 to 30 foot depths. Crappies are biting in the deeper holes, especially 27 feet deep and greater, with a quite a few perch mixed in. 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bemidji

The open water fishing season is coming to an end. Some of the small ponds and swamps are now frozen over and anglers have had to break through a bit of ice at some of the accesses over the past few days. It won’t be long until ice fishing begins! The walleye bite remains good for anglers using jigs tipped with minnows in depths 12 to 24 feet of water. The smallmouth bass action has been outstanding for those using jigs with minnows or plastics on the rocks in depths of 14 to 16 feet. Crappies continue to be found suspended out in the deep basins. This will be the final report until enough ice develops for safe travel by foot. 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Park Rapids

Fishing remains good if you can handle the weather. Anglers are catching some huge bluegills and crappies in the 15 to 20 feet of water when using jigs with plastics or minnows. The panfish are once again schooled along the old weed lines where they will remain through the ice fishing season. 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Central Region

Otter Tail Area Lakes

The end of the open-water fishing season is drawing near, especially with overnight lows in the 20s for the next week or so. For late-season walleye, locate current either at a river mouth or inlet and fish from the bank in waders. Cast light jigs with twisters or minnows, or lipped diving baits (crank baits) since there are plenty of walleye in the shallows and current areas to provide plenty of action. Panfish can be found in the deep holes and suspending over lake basins. 800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

As of Oct. 27, most of the docks were still in the water at the public accesses on Lake Mille Lacs. The surface water temperatures remained in the 50s, but they were expected to drop rapidly due to high winds. With gust up to 40 mph, the top several feet of the water column would cool down quickly. Most anglers agree that Mille Lacs does not have a thermocline, and is not subject to a “fall turnover” like most lakes. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

White Bear Area Lakes

As of last weekend, White Bear Lake was giving muskies to anglers using sucker minnows and artificial lures. Areas near the edges of the weeds and the base of the main breakline were producing best. The walleye bite was decent, with most fish being caught on jigs with minnows. On Bald Eagle Lake, muskie anglers were doing well with suckers and artificial lures, especially in 12 feet of water or less. The walleye bite was improving for anglers using jigs. On Big Marine Lake, crappies were being taken on jigs and slip bobber rigs with minnows. St. Croix River anglers reported nice walleye coming in on jig and minnow combinations worked in 15 to 25 feet of water. Muskies were occasionally hitting artificials. 651-653-5122; www.explorewhitebear.org

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of Thursday, Nov. 2, fisheries staff reported that most area streams and rivers were clear with a normal water flow. The streams were in great condition and the trout were colorful and spawning. On Oct. 31, midges were hatching. Maps of all the designated trout streams that are open from Oct. 16 to Dec. 31 can be found under “Area Highlights” on the Lanesboro area fisheries webpage. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing DNR License Sales.

Minnesota fishing reports.

This report is brought to you by Explore Minnesota Tourism.

Minnesota winter getaways.

Check out all the winter activities in Minnesota for the weekend getaway.
The great Northwoods of the state has some great ideas when it comes to ideas for that experience of a lifetime.

Home to endless recreation, sporting events and winter festivals, winter fun is happening every week in the Northwoods of Blackduck and the Bemidji area! As a area that takes pride in its unique seasonal activities, Blackduck and the Bemidji area is also blessed with the terrain and facilities to host to a range of recreational events. This includes camps and tournaments, as well as challenging races on bike, snowmobile, skis, dog sled, boat and foot. Our resume includes the Bemidji Curling Club, home to a number of Olympic champions. Event planners have chosen Bemidji to host the internationally famous Finlandia cross-country ski event since 1982. And Bemidji’s Sanford Center Arena is the unmatched choice for most any activity or event your group enjoys–including hockey– as the Bemidji Arena is home to Division hockey events and host of the annual Paul Bunyan International Hockey Tournament. Listed are just a few of the recreational facilities available for rent in Bemidji– for sport or just group enjoyment. For more ideas and facility options, contact us.

Just about Anything on Ice:

Don’t be surprised to see an ice boat zip on by at 40 mph during a winter visit to Blackduck and Bemidji. And while not a scheduled event (yet!) a game of snow golf can spring up in a moment…or perhaps a game of turkey bowling, mutt sled racing, and, of course, the annual Polar Plunge swim extravaganza. Just about anything you can think of doing on ice or in the snow to test one’s winter mettle is considered game (and fun!) in Bemidji! To keep up with all the winter activities and unique events, be sure to check the Events calendar.

White Birch Resort is just the place for your Winter Vacation! We offer luxury homes with designated units providing private 12 person hot tubs on the homes private screened porch/deck. White Birch Resort can also cater to smaller 1-3 person studio cabin rentals, which are great for couples. There is a snowmobile trail right out the front door of your cabin. Blackduck Lake is great for perch, northern and walleye ice fishing. We are only 25 minutes from Upper Red Lake and Bemidji Lake, as well. Buena Vista Ski Area is 20 minutes from the resort and offers down hill, cross country, snow boarding, tubing, sleigh rides and warm ski lodge .

Ice Fishing:
Fish foodies swear there is nothing more delicious than a freshly pulled catch from the frozen northern waters. And if you are a catch and release enthusiast, winter fishing is a whole different brand of exciting fun– whether over a hole seated on a bucket, or toasting your toes in a decked-out fishhouse. Avid Blackduck, Red Lake and Bemidji fisherman find winter walleye success on most larger lakes in the area, and panfish active this time of year on many smaller lakes. Area guides and rentals available, with fun events such Winterfest’s Hardwater Classic tournament held in February.
In winter, Blackduck Lake and Lake Bemidji turn into a frozen snowy village! Whether you use the drill-and-hope approach (like Grumpy Old Men) or latest in high-tech electronic gear, the great outdoors, the snow, the crisp, fresh air—ice fishing surrounding lakes may turn into one of the best fishing days you’ll ever have! Equipment and fish house rentals available around the Blackduck, Red Lake and Bemidji area. Blackduck Lake is great for perch, northern and walleye ice fishing. We are only 25 minutes from Upper Red Lake and Bemidji Lake, as well.
Snowmobiling
It is easy to see how Bemidji earned the title “Snowmobile Capital of the North!” With unmatched scenic beauty, excellent grooming, and an abundant number of trails–so many, the saying here is “Bemidji’s got more trails than you’ve got time!” Great pit stops along the routes, too, with many Bemidji lodgings offering direct access to the trails. Whtie Birch Resort even has a snowmobile trail right out the resort’s front door.
The Blackduck Bemidji area has the best trail system.
No other area is as central to the state’s 14,000 miles of trails. As the crossroads city for two major Minnesota Interconnecting Trail System routes, MITS-71 and MITS-2, MITS trails link up with hundreds of spur trails, guaranteeing riders connections to virtually any place in the state.

THE THRILL OF THE HUNT:GEOCACHING

GEOCACHING: Fun for Everyone!
The equivalent of a modern-day treasure hunt, geocaching takes people to places they otherwise may never have gone. Joshua Johnson, for example, has followed his passion for geocaching–a location-based game in which participants navigate to hidden caches–by cliffs near Duluth and to parks all across Minnesota. He’s discovered waterfalls he never knew existed, happened upon interesting sculptures, and discovered some of the most beautiful scenery he’s ever laid eyes on.
http://www.exploreminnesota.com

“One of the biggest things that I love about geocaching is all the places that it brings you,” said Johnson, 40, who maintains a popular YouTube channel devoted to the hobby. “There are so many awesome and hidden treasures in our state. I get exposed to all these new and different places that I would never necessarily know about because somebody hid a geocache there.”

The basic concept behind geocaching is relatively simple: Participants use handheld global positioning system (GPS) devices or their smartphones to navigate to the latitude and longitude coordinates where other participants have hidden caches. Caches are listed on at geocaching.com/play, a popular geocaching website. Every cache includes one rating for how difficult it is to find, and another that describes the difficulty of the terrain on which the cache is hidden. The caches themselves are often waterproof containers that blend in with the surrounding landscape.

The easiest caches to locate might be in a small park and easy to see because they’re hanging from a tree. In other cases, the general location of caches is easy to find, but they might be disguised as rocks or sticks. And then there are the really tough ones: “I’ve found one that required me to rappel off the side of a cliff near Duluth,” said Johnson, who advises beginners to start with caches that have low difficulty ratings. “I had to have special equipment and go along with someone who knew what they were doing.”

Once geocachers locate a cache, they can take one of the trinkets that’s been left inside. The rule is they must leave something of equal or greater value for the next person. Generally speaking, however, it’s not about the object itself. “It’s all about the thrill of the hunt,” Johnson said. And some caches simply provide clues that players use to find another cache in the area.

While some caches are hidden on private land, the majority are on public land throughout the state. Every state park, for example, has at least one cache hidden within its boundaries. There also are 35 state parks where players can check out GPS units and receive more geocaching instruction. The DNR also offers a number of geocaching programs and events at state parks. Nearer the Twin Cities, the Three Rivers Park District also offers a robust geocaching program, as well as specific events related to the activity. There are caches hidden in Minnesota’s Chippewa and Superior national forests, and in city and county parks throughout the state.

YEAR-ROUND ACTIVITY
Geocaching can be done all year long and be easily combined with other activities. In the fall, it takes you into the woods among the leaves while they change color. In the winter, it can be combined with skiing or snowshoeing, or spend part of your time fishing or downhill skiing. In the spring and summer, it fits in well with fishing, hunting, or any family resort or camping vacation. whitebirchresort.net

Minnesota fishing resport

MN walleye

Blackduck Lake has a lot of walleye schooling up and are biting even though the wind has been roaring for the last week. White Birch resort has some great pre-winter deals for that last open water fishing trip. Check out www.whitebirchresort.net

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Twin Cities] [Central] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

The return of warm and sunny weather brought more anglers out on the Rainy River. The walleye fishing has been excellent around the Ron Hall access at International Falls. The walleye are near the rocky structure below the dam with anglers also taking some smallmouth bass. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

Duluth – Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

Stream fishing is going well with anglers working the at most bends in the rivers. Steelhead action has been good for anglers using float indicators with an X pattern, with some anglers still having success casting small spinners. Flat fish are also being taken occasionally. The St. Louis River is giving up a few nice walleye and crappies. A jig and minnow has been good when targeting areas near structure or channel turns. Pitching the shorelines with heavy vegetation is also working. Muskie anglers report lots of follows – expect action to improve as water temperatures drop. The inland lakes are producing good numbers of various species, especially largemouth bass. Wacky worm rigs and other plastics are working well when pitched to the weed cover and docks. Lots of homeowners have already removed their summer docks so resident fish that use the docks for cover have relocated. Panfish can be found in 10 to 15 feet of water when using 1/16 ounce jigs, ice jigs or slip bobber rigs. Some anglers report great crappie catches as well. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

Walleye fishing has been very good for anglers using jigs and minnows. The crappies and bluegill are beginning to set up in areas where they will remain until early winter. After your last trip out this fall, make sure that your batteries and engines are prepped for the winter. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

The walleye bite remains strong. Walleye are staged in front of Pine Island, Graceton Beach and Zippel Bay in 18 to 30 feet of water. Most anglers are having success when anchored and jigging with a shiner. Hot colors include pink, pink/white and gold. The reefs are holding fish as well. Rainy River anglers are doing well up and down the river when schools of shiners enter into river. When they do, the walleye are close behind. For the most action, try vertical jigging with a shiner. Some anglers are also having success when trolling crankbaits. Anglers are also reporting good smallmouth bass, northern pike and crappie action. Up at the Northwest Angle, fishing has been exceptional. Walleye anglers are taking good numbers when using an orange or chartreuse jig with a minnow. Large northern pike are coming in on the same presentation. Water temperatures are slowly falling, with surface temps in the high 40s early in the day, rising to the low 50s in the afternoon. With water temperatures falling and the new moon looming, expect to see a greater number of large predator fish this week! 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bemidji

Water temperatures continue to slowly fall and surface water temperatures in some area lakes are now in the upper 40s. The walleye bite continues to be good for anglers using jigs and minnows, jigs and plastics, and jigging raps. The 12 to 14 foot weedlines, mid-lake humps and bars are producing the most fish. Northern pike are hitting just about anything thrown at them including jigs and minnows, spinner baits, crank baits, and live bait rigs. Hit the deep weed edges for plenty of action. Bass fishing remains good for anglers using plastics and throwing rattle traps in 3 to 12 feet of water at the green cabbage. Crappies continue to be caught along the green cabbage in 8 to 12 feet, but most of the crappies are now coming out of the deep holes on jigs and minnows. Crappies found deep are generally suspended so using your electronics to locate them is key. Enjoy the remaining few weeks of open water fishing and please remember to practice selective harvesting — by doing so we will continue to have great fishing for years to come! 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Park Rapids

What a gorgeous week to be in the northwoods! The water temperatures have dropped into the upper 40s to mid-50s. These temperatures are considered to be best for fantastic fall fishing for everything from panfish to muskies. Look for the large perch to be cruising the shallows along with some of the largest northern pike. For the most action, troll 12 to 18 inch suckers on a quick strike rig for huge pike or muskie. Work the weed edges in 10 to 15 feet of water at the drop-offs near deep water (45 feet or more). Walleye can be found in the deep holes and at the dying deep weedlines. With the current warm temperatures, the weedlines should see a spark of activity. A rainbow chub roughly 3 inches long on a jig will do the job. The largemouth bass are gorging along the deep weedlines. For the most action, use a Stanley jig tipped with a small Berkley gulp grub — black and brown are the best colors. A standard Texas-rigged black plastic or a jig worm combination will also work. Smallmouth bass are schooled heavily on the steep breaks that have rocks and some weeds. Most fish are suspended. If the wind is blowing into a rocky/gravel shoreline, toss out a sucker minnow on a live bait rig for incredible action! 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Detroit Lakes

Water temperatures in the Detroit Lakes area continue to hover in the mid-50 degree range. The current high winds should result in lake turnover on some lakes. The bite can be a challenge on lakes that have turned over, so shop lakes to make sure you aren’t trying to fish in these conditions. Shallow basin lakes of less than 25 feet generally do not turn over, only the deeper lakes such as Detroit, Cormorant, Pelican, Lida, the Pines and Ottertail lakes. Walleye have been deep on most area lakes, but remain shallow on some, especially during high winds. If you are not graphing them on the edges or deep shoreline breaks and extended points, move shallow. Bass have been aggressively slamming jigs pitched to the shallow weeds in the 5 to 12 feet of water. Muskie anglers are doing well when casting baits or trolling large suckers on Big Detroit and Pelican lakes, with many large fish measuring 48 to 52 inches being reported. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Brainerd Area Lakes

Area lakes continue to produce good numbers of large and eating sized walleye. Last weekend, the water temperature on Gull Lake was 59 degrees, and the fish were scattered at depths from 13 to 35 feet depending on the weedlines. It was clear, however, that the fish were starting to stage near the tullibee spawning areas. Use your electronics at the steep breaks and look for groups of suspended fish which are likely tullibee. Once located, work this area for good numbers of fish. Smallmouth bass were extremely active on Lake Alexander. Many fish, some measuring roughly 21 inches, were pulled from the rocks in 25 to 32 feet of water. Rigs with a 4 inch minnow worked well. Northern pike were active on Lake Edwards, hitting long-lined 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with a sucker minnow. The pike were at the weeds in 10 to 17 feet of water. Crappies were pulled from the basin holes, with bluegills at their early ice locations. 800-450-7247; www.visitbrainerd.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

As of late last week, muskie anglers were hitting more frequently due to the drop in water temperature – the surface temperature was running in the mid-50s. While it remains too warm for the tullibees to begin their spawn (temperatures in the mid-40s are best), there were reports of good numbers and large fish. Anglers having the most success were using double buck tails, Bulldawgs and huge live suckers. Fewer smallmouth anglers were heading out, but those who did either had lots of success or only took a few. This bite will taper off as the water temperature continues to drop. The docks were still in at the public accesses. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

White Bear Area Lakes

White Bear Lake is giving up lots of northern pike, with pike also coming from Lake Jane. Walleye anglers are having the most success on the St. Croix River. For panfish, hit Silver and Powers lakes. Bass anglers are doing well on Powers and Demontreville lakes. 651-653-5122; www.explorewhitebear.org

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of Oct. 19, fisheries staff report that all branches of the Whitewater Stream are clear with a normal water flow. No current information is available on other area streams and rivers. New signs are posted for the Town and State Parks Catch-and-Release season running from Oct. 16 to Dec. 31, 2017. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing DNR License Sales.

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This report is brought to you by Explore Minnesota Tourism.