Minnesota Holiday Spirit: Tis the Season!

Winter in Minnesota is the perfect time of year to get together with loved ones, embrace old traditions, or even start some new ones. Here are just five of the many ways to make the most of this special season.

GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth

A hallmark of the holiday season in Germany and Austria, holiday markets—called Christkindlmarkts—have made their way to Minnesota. Holidazzle will take place in Loring Park again this year and will feature more than 40 vendors selling ornaments, candles and other handcrafted gifts, as well as mulled wine and brats. Other highlights include fireworks, Santa visits, holiday movie screenings and free ice skating. The destination is open Thursdays-Sundays from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23 and is free to attend.

Holiday plays and performances are a tradition for many families this time of year. Festive favorites include “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Rochester Civic Theatre, a dozen iterations of “The Nutcracker,” from classic to hip-hop, and Christmas concerts by artists including Kat Perkins, Blind Boys of Alabama, Lorie Line and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

For light shows worth a drive, don’t miss Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato and the Trester Trolley Light Tours in Winona. New in 2016, “Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum” is the first large-scale outdoor light display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

EXPLORE A NATURE CENTER

Great gray owl in Duluth; photo by Amanda Burcar-Annis

Photo by Amanda Burcar Annis

Many of Minnesota’s nature centers are open year-round, offering opportunities to interact with wildlife and the winter landscape. Owls are a big draw at the Agassiz Audubon Center near Thief River Falls, which documented dozens of snowy owl sightings last year in the surrounding Red River Valley.

At the International Owl Center in southeastern Minnesota, Alice the resident great horned owl is so popular that the International Festival of Owls in early March is held in conjunction with her hatch day.

Since nature centers are often surrounded by trails, they make a great starting point for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Options include the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault (skiing and snowmobiling), Maplewood Nature Center (snowshoeing) and Hartley Nature Center in Duluth (skiing).

CHECK OUT A MUSEUM

At the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul, “Mindbender Mansion” makes critical thinking and problem solving fun, and “A Beautiful Planet” is featured in the Omnitheater. Open until mid-January, the “Gridiron Glory” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center features the Vince Lombardi trophy and other artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by Rice Park to see the ice sculptures and live entertainment as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

Other museums worth a winter visit include the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, the recently reopened Spam Museum in Austin, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which recently debuted a new entrance and restaurant as part of its major renovation project.

WARM UP AT A WATER PARK

Family Cascade Bay Water Park 440x440.jpgWaterslides, lazy rivers and splash pads aren’t just for the summer months. Several Minnesota water parks can be found indoors, offering a tropical escape no matter the weather.

Paul Bunyan Water Park, inside Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter, features tube and body slides, a treehouse equipped with water cannons and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. At the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, a vortex pool allows guests to swim with or against a fast-moving current.

There’s even a waterpark right by Mall of America, so you can take a dip after completing all your holiday shopping. Find more options, from Bloomington to Alexandria to Thief River Falls, on the water parks page.

GO MAPLE SYRUPING

A sure sign that spring is coming, maple syrup demonstrations and festivals start cropping up in March. On Maple Syrup Day, the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone hosts a pancake brunch as part of its syrup celebration. Or see how the sap is gathered and turned into syrup, and get a taste of the end result, at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes.

Many Minnesota state parks, including Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Whitewater near St. Charles and Lake Maria near Monticello, offer maple syrup programs. Nature centers and other parks, like the Three Rivers Park District in the metro area, also get in on the fun.

Cold?…Here’s 5 Hot Drinks for Winter Weather!

Hot Cocoa - Photo by Angelica King
Photo by Angelica King

After hitting the slopes, riding the trails or attending an outdoor festival in Minnesota this winter, sipping something warm will taste twice as delicious. Minnesotans are no strangers to creative hot beverages, and there are generally some tempting options to wrap your hands around no matter what part of the state you’re in. Here are five hot drinks to keep you warm this winter:

BOMBAY COCOA FROM GOLDEN FIG FINE FOODS, ST. PAUL

There’s nothing quite like a mug of hot cocoa when the mercury dips below freezing. And while the old-fashioned standard is a comforting favorite, there are shops around Minnesota playing with the beverage, updating it and tricking it out with some new features. Take, for example, St. Paul’s Golden Fig local foods store, where one of the house blends includes cinnamon, ginger, cardamom,and a host of other spices; it’s known as “Bombay Cocoa,” and it evokes chai tea with a chocolatey kick. A percentage of every bag sold goes to organizations that support women coffee growers in their country of origin, and the company sources its beans from female growers whenever possible.

CITY GIRL COFFEE FROM ALAKEF, DULUTH

Coffee is not merely coffee. Good coffees are often the product of great stories, like the one behind City Girl Coffee from Alakef. After taking over her family’s 25-year-old Duluth-based roasting company, Alakef owner Alyza Bohbot created City Girl as a sustainable coffee company dedicated to empowering women in the coffee industry. A percentage of every bag sold goes to organizations that support women coffee growers in their country of origin, and the company sources its beans from female growers whenever possible.

TOM AND JERRY, STATEWIDE

If you grew up drinking the hot cocktail known as a Tom and Jerry, you have some sense of why it’s a such a good friend to those of us living in northern states. And if you didn’t, it’s time to get acquainted with this slice of Upper Midwestern beverage culture. According to the Dictionary of International Food and Cooking Terms (Myra Waldo, 1967), a Tom and Jerry is “a hot frothy alcoholic drink made with beaten egg yolks, stiffly beaten egg whites, rum, sugar, boiling water, bourbon and spices, served in mugs with a sprinkling of nutmeg.” As per an authoritative story about the cocktail, “most modern aficionados replace the water with milk and the bourbon with brandy.”

You can buy Tom and Jerry mix at stores, but if you can’t find it, there’s a great recipe for the cocktail online.

CARDAMOM LATTE FROM ANELACE COFFEE, MINNEAPOLIS

Anelace Latte_Becca Dilley
Photo by Becca Dilley

There’s nothing like a finely crafted coffee drink, particularly when the weather goes polar on you. Anelace Coffee, on Central Avenue in Minneapolis, makes some of the most beautifully balanced and smooth coffee drinks in the state. The use of a bit of cardamom syrup gives this latte a Nordic-inspired wintry flavor that is incomparable when the snow starts to fly.

HOT CIDER, STATEWIDE

Minnesota is a great state for apples: The climate and soil are friendly to the fruit, and the University of Minnesota has done a great deal to ensure new and delicious varietals keep popping up in markets around the country. Most cafes will offer hot cider of some sort, particularly in the autumn through early winter months. And if you’re interested in something a bit stronger that still packs an apple punch, you can find ambitious artisan hard ciders from makers all over the state, including Milk and Honey Ciders (Cold Spring), Keepsake Cidery (Dundas) and Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery (Spring Valley).

Find Minnesota coffee shops and other places to sip in our Drink & Eat directory.

The Northern Lights of Bentleyville!

Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth

Each winter, the Bentleyville Tour of Lights transforms the Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth into an illuminated winter wonderland with colorful displays and holiday music. Dubbed “America’s Largest Free Walk-Through Lighting Display,” Bentleyville’s festive display features more than 4 million lights. The 2017 event will also feature the #OnlyinMN monument.  http://whitebirchresort.net

Bentleyville’s 12-story Christmas tree is more than twice the height of the one in Rockefeller Center and is covered with 100,000 LED lights that dance to holiday music. Using more than 5.5 miles of rope light, festive displays include Sesame Street, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys, Minnesota icons such as Split Rock Lighthouse, Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox and more.

Bentleyville Christmas Tree

As you stroll through the festive display, visitors can sip on hot cocoa, munch on popcorn or roast marshmallows over a campfire. Children have the opportunity to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus every night.

The spectacle runs from Nov. 18 through Dec. 26, 2017. The show is free, but monetary donations are appreciated. Guests are also encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army.

Parking is available in front of Bayfront Festival Park. Visitors are encouraged to use the free Jingle Bus shuttle service that is available at multiple locations throughout the city or board the festive Bentleyville Train that arrives from the Edgewater Hotel & Water Park.

Nearby family attractions include the Great Lakes AquariumLake Superior ZooSpirit Mountain Ski and Recreation Area, and numerous restaurants and hotels.

7-Northern Minnesota Snow-Filled Fun Activities!

There’s no escape from winter, but a winter escape is fun and easy. From skiing to snowmobiling and urban adventures, options for snowy recreation are practically endless in Minnesota. So, take advantage of nature’s gift to the north. The snow will be gone before you know it.  For more information contact us at  http://whitebirchresort.net

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Cross Country Ski Trail 440x440Minnesota is known for its great cross-country skiing, with more than 2,000 miles of dedicated trails to explore. In addition to day trips, cross-country ski resorts offer great meals, comfortable lodging, saunas and spas to round out the experience. Trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, near Ely and along the Gunflint Trail, are among the state’s top destinations for serious skiers.

Snow is most reliable in the northern half of the state, but good cross-country skiing can be found everywhere. In fact, snow-making machines are employed at several Minneapolis-St. Paul area trails to ensure quality conditions. More than two dozen Minnesota state parks provide groomed trails, and some rent skis.

DOWNHILL SKIING

Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn learned to ski in Minnesota, but even novices can take advantage of the state’s 16 downhill ski areas. In addition to big hills, many areas also feature terrain parks for ski and snowboard tricks, as well as cross-country ski trails.

Northeast Minnesota is home to the Midwest’s largest, longest and highest hills. Long runs and scenic vistas are memory makers. Ski areas in central and southern Minnesota also offer picturesque, high-quality experiences. Many are gracefully carved into towering river bluffs and broad forested valleys.

Minneapolis-St. Paul area visitors have several downhill ski areas within a 90-minute drive. Visitors to other parts of the state have plenty of choices, too. Equipment rentals and lessons are available at most ski destinations.

SNOWMOBILING

Snowmobilers 399 x 600Minnesota has nearly as many miles of snowmobile trails(roughly 22,000) as it does highways. These trails, many of which are maintained by local snowmobile clubs, extend to all corners of the state. Many trails run through picturesque federal, state and county forests, and can take riders to restaurants, lodging, and other popular amenities. Weekly trail condition updates are available by email.

ICE FISHING

Minnesota’s panfish season never closes, and walleye, northern pike and other seasons extend deep into winter. As a result, fishing continues to be one of Minnesota’s most popular outdoor activities long after waves have turned to ice.

Ice fishing’s ongoing allure, in part, stems from ice house improvements. Safe and reliable heaters, grills and comfortable beds are all part of the modern ice fishing experience. Warm, lifelong memories are often forged from nature’s northern lights, stunning sunsets and the hushed silence of winter.

Popular lakes for ice fishing include Leech, Gull, Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods and more. Ice fishing festivals on these and other lakes are tons of fun, even if you’re not fishing.

FAT BIKING

Cuyuna-Fat-Biking-1The skinny on fat tire mountain biking is that Minnesota offers outstanding options. One of the most notable is the rugged and hilly Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, where winter trails slice and curve through forests and lake country. In many ways, Cuyuna isn’t a trail; it’s an experience.

Several state parks now offer winter mountain biking opportunities thanks to the sport’s increasing popularity. So do park systems in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth and Winona areas, with more opening up every year.

DOG SLEDDING

Dog sledding is one of the most fun and unusual ways to experience winter. People of all ages and physical abilities can do it, and trips can be tailored to your comfort level. Short trips, day trips, overnight trips, and trips that include ice fishing are among the many iterations available.

Lodging options also vary. You can spend the night in a cozy cabin or in a yurt—an insulated tent-like shelter.

The primary destination for this sport is the Boundary Waters, but outfitters can also be found in Duluth, along the North Shore, and even in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

SNOWSHOEING

Instructor teaching people how to walk in snowshoesFor those who want to enjoy the snow with something other than skis on their feet, snowshoeing is a great, low-impact activity. Snowshoe rentals and trails are common in state and local park systems, including those in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Many nature centers provide snowshoe rentals and trails, too.

Minnesota weekend activities.

Check out the great Minnesota resort deals and activities at White Birch Resort. www.whitebirchresort.net

Bentleyville Tour of Lights fireworks display; photo by Ronny Purba

Event highlights this week include:

Nov. 18, Harmony
Holiday Fest Art, Craft and Gift Expo

Nov. 17-19, Blaine
Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo

Nov. 24 – Dec. 3, Little Falls
Little Falls Christmas Tours

Nov. 18, Moorhead
Pangea – Cultivate Our Cultures

Nov. 15 – Dec. 26, Duluth
Bentleyville “Tour of Lights”

And with more than 440 theaters throughout Minnesota, there is a performance for every taste — learn more through the Explore MN Theater promotion!

 

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

Southern Minnesota

Nov. 11 – Dec. 17 (Thursdays through Sundays), Rochester
Mayowood Mansion Christmas Tours
Tours will begin at the History Center with light refreshments and a film about Mayowood and the Mayo family. Visitors will then ride a trolley up to the mansion and receive a guided tour lasting about one hour. Reservations are required. Historic Mayowood Mansion. 507-282-9447

Nov. 17, Redwood Falls
Christmas by Candlelight & Lights Parade
Kick Off the holiday season in the Redwood Falls area with Christmas by Candlelight and enjoy an Open House at Scenic City Reality, the opening of the new Backdoor Art Gallery, a High School Student Art Show, Tree of Lights Ceremony, and the annual Holiday Parade of Lights. Also check out Beneath the Village Wreath in nearby Morton, Nov. 17-19507-637-2828507-697-6912

Nov. 18, Harmony
Holiday Fest Art, Craft and Gift Expo
Get a jump start on your holiday shopping at the Holiday Fest Art, Craft and Gift Expo featuring a variety of handcrafted and brand name goods buy more than 50 vendors in 2 gyms, along with performances and a fashion show. Fillmore Central School. 507-886-2469

Nov. 18, Austin
Hormel Historic Holiday Open House Soup with Santa and Holiday Open House Soup & Spirits
This fun family event features a tour of the elegant home of the George A. Hormel family stylishly decorated for Christmas, and the opportunity to enjoy soup with Santa. That evening, tour the 1871 home all decorated for the season, and enjoy soup and appetizers. Cash bar will be available. Hormel Historic Home. 507-433-4243

Nov. 24, New Ulm
Parade of Lights
New Ulm welcomes Santa to town during the 29th Annual Parade of Lights. Featured are over 60 brightly lit units with thousands of twinkling lights traveling through historic downtown New Ulm all decked out with Christmas trees and garland. Children of all ages will delight in this event! While in New Ulm, check out all of the sales and specials offered by downtown merchants. 507-233-4300

Nov. 24 – Dec. 31, Mankato 
Kiwanis Holiday Lights
This year’s attractions include a display of over 1.5 million LED lights, animated light displays, skating rink and warming house, horse-drawn wagon rides, Santa Claus, live reindeer, ice sculptures and more at Sibley Park. And don’t miss the Kiwanis Holiday Lights Opening Parade on Friday, Nov. 24 beginning with a brief lighting ceremony. Mound Ave. to Rogers St. to Sibley Park. 507-385-9129

Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, Owatonna
Hometown Holiday Weekend
Start the holiday season with the Hometown Holiday Weekend and enjoy a weekend filled with events and activities for the entire family! Highlights include Christmas in the Village at the History Center and Village of Yesteryear, and Historical Holiday House Tours with live music and cookie decorating. 507-451-7970

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Oct. 28 – Dec. 30, Minneapolis
The Dinner Detective Interactive Murder Mystery Show
The Dinner Detective is a unique, high-energy interactive murder mystery dinner theater experience that combines an engaging modern-day whodunit with a full four course meal. Courtyard Minneapolis Downtown. 866-496-0535

Nov. 4-18, Minneapolis
Healthy Life Expo
This is the largest health, wellness and fitness show in the Upper Midwest with nearly 200 local and national exhibitors showcasing everything to help you look and feel your best. Visitors will also enjoy the many speakers, seminars and demonstrations on three stages. Minneapolis Convention Center. 952-238-1700

Nov. 17, Prior Lake
Jeff Foxworthy
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy brings his all-American humor to the Mystic Showroom. Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. 952-496-6563

Nov. 17-19, Chanhassen
Rainy Days & Mondays: The Music of the Carpenters
Don’t miss this stellar tribute to The Carpenters, the biggest selling soft-rock group of the ’70s. Aimee Lee, the quintessential “Karen,” is backed by 12 musicians and back-up singers who perfectly re-create the classic Carpenters sound. Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. 952-934-1525

Nov. 17-19, Blaine
Hard Water Ice Fishing Expo
If you’re itching to start the ice fishing season, attend the Hard Water Fishing Expo at the National Sports Center in Blaine where exhibitors will showcase the latest ice fishing gear including rods, reels, tackle, shelters, wheelhouses, sleds and more. Also enjoy seminars from your favorite Clam Ice Team pros. National Sports Center. 763-785-5601

Nov. 17-19, Stillwater
Christmas at the Courthouse Gala & Bazaar
Experience the splendor of the holiday season at the 25th Annual Christmas at the Courthouse! Indulge the senses at the Friday evening Gala Preview event and sample wine, beer, and light hors d’oeuvres from local vendors while getting a sneak peek at the holiday bazaar. Bring the family on Saturday and Sunday to shop for the perfect gift at the Holiday Bazaar, purchase locally made treats at the Holiday Bake Shop, listen to live music, and take free photos with Santa in his workshop. Washington County Historic Courthouse. 651-275-7075

Nov. 17-19, Minneapolis
Harvest Jam Acoustic Music Experience
This indoor music festival features numerous groups performing bluegrass, old-time stringband and related forms of acoustic music. Enjoy nightly stage shows, a Saturday afternoon band contest, Saturday banquet dinner, Saturday band development workshops, open mic in Kips Irish Pub, Sunday morning gospel show, and jams sessions throughout! Marriott Minneapolis West in Golden Valley. 800-635-3037

Nov. 22 – Dec. 30, Waconia
Spirit of Winter Solar Powered Holiday Light Show
The Spirit of Winter is a fabulous light show with synchronized music and animated displays. All ages are welcome to attend and stroll through our grounds and 12 attractions. The Winery at Sovereign Estate. 952-446-9957

Nov. 22 – Dec. 31, St. Paul
Christmas Traditions Guided House Tour
Discover holiday celebrations of the past through the stories of those who lived and worked on Summit Avenue, including excerpts from Hill family letters and journals and rare historic photographs of the neighborhood. James J. Hill House. 651-297-2555

Nov. 24-26, St. Paul
Hmong New Year
This annual three-day celebration of the Hmong culture includes great food, dance, live entertainment, a beauty pageant, awards ceremony, special guests and fun community interaction. St. Paul RiverCentre. 651-265-4800

Nov. 24 – Dec. 23 (Thursdays through Sundays), Minneapolis
Holidazzle
Highlights include Holidazzle Fireworks Displays, Holidazzle Movie Nights, Kid Zone, visits with Santa Claus, skating, interactive and illuminated Art Wolf and Moose installations, daily entertainment on the Holidazzle Stage, and great food, drink and merchandise vendors. Loring Park. 612-376-7669

Upcoming Twin Cities’ concerts and performances:
Jeff Foxworthy at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Nov. 17
PJ Masks Live: Time to Be a Hero at the Historic State Theatre in Minneapolis, Nov. 17
REO Speedwagon at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, Nov. 17
Trevor Noah at the Historic Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Nov. 17
Halsey: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Nov. 18
Kansas – The Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour at the Historic State Theatre, Nov. 18
Lee Brice at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Nov. 18
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage at the Ames Center, Nov. 19
The Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Historic State Theatre, Nov. 21-22
Waitress at the Orpheum Theatre, Nov. 21-26
A Perfect Circle at the Xcel Energy Center, Nov. 25
Cirque Dreams Holidaze (Touring) at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Nov. 25 – Dec. 3
Katy Perry – Witness the Tour at the Xcel Energy Center, Dec. 1
The New Standards at the Historic State Theatre in Minneapolis, Dec. 1
Monster Jam at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Dec. 2
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 2
Brain Candy Live with Adam Savage & Michael Stevens at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 3
KDWB’s Jingle Ball: Fall Out Boy & Guests at the Xcel Energy Center, Dec. 4
Evanescence – Synthesis Live with Orchestra at the Historic State Theatre, Dec. 5
Lindsey Stirling – Warmer in the Winter Christmas Tour at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 7
Marvel Universe Live – Age of Heroes at the Xcel Energy Center, Dec. 7-10
Loverboy and Night Ranger at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Dec. 8
NEEDTOBREATHE – All The Feels Tour (Acoustic) at the Historic State Theatre, Dec. 8
The Blenders 2017 Holiday Soul Tour at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, Dec. 8-10
Celtic Thunder – 2017 Symphony Tour at the Historic State Theatre, Dec. 9
Joe Biden’s American Promise Tour at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 9
Tonic Sol-Fa: I Still Believe Tour at the Ames Center, Dec. 12
The Phantom of the Opera at the Historic Orpheum Theatre, Dec. 13-31
The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Dec. 15
Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy at the Historic State Theatre, Dec. 15-23
Terry Fator at Treasure Island Resort & Casino, Dec. 16
Tickets available through Eventful or Ticketmaster

Central Minnesota

Nov. 18, Little Falls
The Marketplace
The Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace is an indoor, year-round market that connects local food vendors and artists with residents and tourists. This month’s Marketplace will spotlight the Latino culture with growers, makers, artists and performers. Crestliner Building. 320-412-3081

Nov. 18, St. Cloud
Made in Minnesota Expo
Discover all the great featured businesses who are based out of Minnesota or who produce their products right here in Minnesota. This is also a great holiday shopping opportunity as many of the businesses will have products for sale. Get a free photo souvenir from the Social Expressions Selfies photo booth, sample items from various vendors such as beer and hot dish! River’s Edge Convention Center. 320-257-7224

Nov. 18-19, Onamia
Ojibwe Mitten 2-Day Workshop
Learn techniques of working with leather to make a pair of Ojibwe-style mittens during this two-day workshop. A light lunch and refreshments will be provided both days. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post. 320-532-3632

Nov. 24 – Dec. 3, Little Falls
Little Falls Christmas Tours
Start your holiday season in Little Falls with 4 fabulous Christmas tours. Check out the Linden Hill Mansion with a “Let there be Peace on Earth” theme, the Rosenmeier Home with a “Nutcracker” theme, and self-guided tours of the Musser and Weyerhauser mansions. Step back in time with a costumed interpreter and experience the holidays of 100 years ago at the Charles A. Lindbergh House, and don’t miss over 30 decorated trees and holiday displays at the Minnesota Fishing Museum. 320-616-4959

Nov. 25, Wadena 
Christmas Festival
This one day Christmas Festival features roughly 100 crafters and vendors, live music, great food, a special visit from Santa & Mrs. Claus, and carriage rides. Wadena Elementary School Gymnasium. 218-632-7704

Dec. 2-3, Onamia
Sweetgrass Basket 2-Day Workshop
Learn the art of making a coil sweetgrass basket in this two-day workshop. Sweetgrass is a fragrant sacred herb used in ceremonies and artwork by the Ojibwe. Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided on both days. Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post. 320-532-3632

Northwest Minnesota

Nov. 15 – Jan. 28, Bemidji
Fur Trade in Minnesota
Hundreds of years ago, Minnesota played a key role in the fur trade, which stretched across five continents. This traveling exhibit, rich with activities and objects, shows how plentiful furbearers brought together native people, explorers and international trade. Visitors to the exhibit can lift a 45-pound Voyageur’s pack, learn how the fur trade shaped Ojibwe art and discover how beaver pelts could be transformed into sleek, stately hats that were all the rage among wealthy Europeans. Beltrami County Historical Society. 218-444-3376

Nov. 17, Detroit Lakes
Minnesota Music Coalition- The Belfast Cowboys, Jadyn James and Big Wave Dave & the Ripples
Hear some of Minnesota’s best up-and-coming artists through the Minnesota Music Coalition music series, Caravan du Nord. Historic Holmes Theatre. 218-844-7469

Nov. 18, Moorhead
Pangea – Cultivate Our Cultures
The 23rd Annual Pangea – Cultivate Our Cultures event embraces the diverse cultures of the area through a wide variety of cultural performances, samples of delicious foods, and information about friends’ and families’ backgrounds. In between, visit vendors selling world goods, explore our museum exhibitions, and get to know the fantastic diversity of the community. The Hjemkomst Center. 218-299-5511

Nov. 24-25, Walker
Festival of Lights Parade and Reindeer Ramble
During the Festival of Lights enjoy a parade, the lighting of the city, Reindeer Ramble run, children’s party, horse and wagon rides, Holiday Pow Wow, and more in downtown Walker. 218-547-1313

Nov. 25, East Grand Forks
North Country Fiddle & Dance Fall 2017 Series
The North Country Fiddle and Dance Community Dance Series presents The O’Neils with reels, jigs, circles and squares, all taught to live music. East Grand Forks Eagles Club. 218-45-9111

Dec. 2, Ulen
Sinatra & Company: “That Holiday Feeling”
“That Holiday Feeling” by Sinatra & Company is a fun-filled variety holiday show featuring the talents of award-winning vocalist Tim Patrick, accomplished singer and producer Colleen Raye, and top-notch big-band vocalist Debbie O’Keefe. Each brings their own brand of talent and charisma to the stage. You’ll hear wonderful renditions of your holiday favorites put to music by musical director Todd Matheson and the 10-piece Blue Eyes Band. Ulen-Hitterdal School. 218-596-8853

Northeast Minnesota

Nov. 15 – Dec. 26, Duluth
Bentleyville “Tour of Lights”
Come see Bayfront Festival Park on the shores of Lake Superior as it has been transformed into America’s largest free walk through light show! Visitors will be amazed at the magical atmosphere of lights and holiday music floating through the air. One of the main attractions is the animated 12-story steel Christmas tree and ball which is covered with over 150,000 sparkling LED lights! Also enjoy free admission, free visits with Santa Claus, cookies, hot chocolate, marshmallows, and popcorn! Bayfront Festival Park. 218-740-3535

Nov. 17-19, Grand Marais
Winterer’s Gathering & Arctic Film Festival
Celebrate the crafts, customs, landscape, history and stories of winter travel and traditional life ways in the North with more than a dozen winter courses, artic films, winter tent camp, gear swap, dancing, speakers, Coldsnap Poetry Slam, Deep Freeze Chili Feed, Snowshoe Shuffle, and more! North House Folk School. 218-387-9762

Nov. 18, Chisholm
Artisan Market: Crafts to Crops
A variety of local artisans will be selling home decor, candles, knitted items, kitchen towels, photography, and much more during Artisan Market: Crafts to Crops. Free admission with a non-perishable food item. Minnesota Discovery Center. 218-254-7959

Nov. 18 – Jan. 7, Duluth
A Glensheen Christmas
A Glensheen Christmas Classic Tour is your chance to explore the mansion decked out for the holidays with more than 25 Christmas trees and hundreds of feet of garland. Start your experience in the Carriage House before making your way to the mansion where the tallest of Glensheen’s Christmas trees proudly towers beyond the first floor. Challenge yourself to find all the hidden elves while Christmas music envelops the living room. In the kitchen, sample a Christmas cookie recreated from Clara’s very own recipe. Finish your tour by exploring the grounds of Glensheen. On Dec. 2-3, also enjoy Duluth Winter Village with more than 30 local businesses set up in wooden cabins lining the grounds of Glensheen, along with local food, beer, music, live animals and children’s activities, fire pits and s’mores! Glensheen Mansion. 218-726-8910

Nov. 23 & 25, Ely
Northwoods Partners Festival of Trees & Small Town Christmas & Ely’s Holiday Parade
The 15th Annual Festival of Trees transforms the lobby of the Grand Ely Lodge into a winter wonderland. The Festival of Trees opens at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening with the Lighting Ceremony, refreshments & entertainment. The festival also includes a Christmas Boutique with a wonderful selection of handmade gift items, Memorial Balls, and a silent auction for decorated trees and wreaths. While in Ely on Nov. 25, kick-off the holiday season with a parade, City Tree Lighting, hot cocoa or cider, cookies, carolers and activities in Whiteside Park. 218-365-6565, 218-365-6123

Nov. 25, Duluth
Native American Heritage Day at the Depot
November is Native American Heritage Month. Check out the exhibit Why Treaties Matter, and enjoy children’s activities such as loom beading and basket construction, speakers, fry bread, and a performance by the Cedar Creek Drum Group out of Fond du Lac. Great Hall at the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center & Depot. 218-733-7583

Dec. 2, Grand Rapids
Christmas in the Logging Camp & Winterglo Festival
The Forest History Center’s recreated 1900s logging camp comes to life under a blanket of snow during this annual event. Join the camp crew as they prepare for Christmas with choral singers, storytellers, sleigh rides, hot chocolate, cider and more. Bring your camera to get your picture taken with Santa. And don’t miss Grand Rapids Winterglo Festival held Dec. 2-3 in downtown Grand Rapids. Festivities include Breakfast with Santa, Bethany Lutheran Church Holiday Bazaar, Granny’s Attic, Christmas Craft Marketplace, bingo, live music, and much more! 218-327-4482, 218-326-9607

 

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All signs point to a great deer season in Minnesota 2017

Ready for Deer Opener? Here’s the Deer Season outlook for 2017 whitebirchresort.net
BEMIDJI, Minn. — John Williams likes to use a pendulum analogy when talking about deer populations in northwest Minnesota, and right now, the pendulum is swinging from “not enough deer” to “too many deer” in several areas, the longtime wildlife manager says.

That should translate into good hunting opportunities when Minnesota’s firearms deer season opens Saturday, Nov. 4—a full six days before North Dakota’s deer gun season, which opens at noon Friday, Nov. 10.
“In some places, we do have some issues with too many deer already,” said Williams, Northwest Region wildlife supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Bemidji. “We’re going to have to keep our finger on that. That pendulum swings pretty fast when it’s in the middle of a swing like that, and I think we’re there in a couple of spots.”

One of those spots is Permit Area 241, Williams said, a large block of prime deer habitat that runs along U.S. Highway 10 from Detroit Lakes southeast to Staples and north to the Park Rapids area. The permit area is one of only a handful across the state to fall under the “Intensive” management designation, where hunters can purchase tags to take as many as three deer.
“It’s absolute classic deer habitat in that transition zone” from prairie to forest, Williams said.

On the grow

Another mild winter on top of the previous two mild winters largely has enabled deer populations to be at or near goal levels in most permit areas, DNR officials say—in turn moving the pendulum toward abundance.

Fawn production also was good this year, another indication of does coming through the winter in good health.

Almost without exception, deer limits in permit areas across northwest Minnesota are one level more liberal than last year, Williams said. Some permit areas moved from a designation of Lottery, which requires hunters to apply in advance to shoot an antlerless deer, to a Hunter Choice designation that allows a hunter to use one license to shoot either a buck or antlerless deer.

Other permit areas changed designations from Hunter Choice to Managed. In permit areas designated as Managed, hunters can take two deer through use of a regular license and a bonus antlerless permit. Permit areas that stayed in the Lottery designation this year may have more permits available than in previous years.

“People are expecting a good deer season, and I believe they’ll get one, too,” Williams said. “There are places (where) we might be in that area where we’re going to have to start pushing back and looking to drop deer toward goal as opposed to raising deer toward goal.”
In that context, managers will keep an eye on this year’s deer season, he said.
“If we have good weather, I’m anticipating a pretty doggone good statewide harvest,” Williams said. “I’m not going to stick my neck out and say how much, but I’m expecting to see a significant increase over what last year’s figure was. “And then we’ll have to see how the winter goes for what we might be suggesting for the coming year after this.” bemidjipioneer.com

DNR expects increase

In a news release, Paul Telander, DNR wildlife chief, said the department expects hunters will shoot about 200,000 whitetails by the time the state’s final deer season closes Sunday, Dec. 31.

Hunters last year shot 173,213 deer between the firearm, archery and muzzleloader seasons—well below the record harvest of 290,525 in 2003, but similar to the most recent 20-year average of 205,959, Telander said.

The firearms season is by far the most popular option for Minnesota deer hunters, and hunters last year purchased 372,645 firearms deer licenses and shot 144,470 deer for a success rate of 32 percent, the DNR said. About 61 percent of those deer were antlered bucks.

Before 2000, hunters shot more than 200,000 deer only four times between the three seasons, he said.

“The high harvests in the early 2000s occurred at a time when the over-riding harvest strategy was to reduce the deer population so it wouldn’t grow out of control, as had happened in certain eastern states, and to address certain environmental, economic and social concerns,” Telander said in the news release. “Deer harvests in excess of 225,000 occurred only once in the 1990s.

“Going further back, the harvests in the 1970s never topped 100,000. The harvests in the 1980s were under 150,000. Today, there’s growing discussion in the hunting community as to what’s a reasonable harvest target, and that’s a good conversation to have.”

One thing’s for sure: If the extended weather forecast holds, hunters in northwest Minnesota won’t encounter the balmy temperatures they experienced for last year’s firearms deer opener. According to Intellicast, the extended forecast in Bemidji calls for a high of 35 degrees and a 60 percent chance of light snow for Saturday’s opener.

Season dates

Here’s a look at dates for Minnesota’s firearms deer season. More Info: dnr.state.mn.us

• Nov. 4-19: 100 series permit areas.

• Nov. 4-12: 200 series permit areas.

• Nov. 4-12: 300 series Season A.

• Nov. 18-26: 300 series Season B.

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

Learning to Fatbike for fitness and fun as winter soon returns!

As the winter winds begin to shift and blow into our office, here in Minnesota, thoughts turn toward the snow covered trails. We are lucky here to enjoy a massive amount of trails that are designed for winter riding. But if you are like me and new to the whole Fatbiking thing, how do you get into it and what should you expect? whitebirchresort.net

The Fatbike
Fatbikes are more like normal mountain bikes than you may think. As an example, the only parts unique to most fat tired bikes are the crank, tires and wheels. Other than those things, all the other parts are interchangeable with you normal mountain bike. That being said, the parts that make a fat tired bike different are responsible for their namesake. The large wheels and tires give these fatbikes their flotation on soft surfaces like snow and sand. There are now several brands available at most price points so getting into the sport has never been easier. Plus many bike shops offer rental programs.

The Fatbike Ride
The best part about a fatbike is that it extends your season with an all new cycling experience. For the most part, when snow was falling, people were kept from riding. Now, with so many fat tired bike options, a thick layer of the white stuff simply means more riding for all! With 4”-5” wide tires and pressures as low as 4psi, a fatbike can easily navigate deep snow. The only issue you will run into is ice. An icy surface doesn’t really care how wide the tire is, it’s still slippery. Once a trail gets slick it’s best to either change your tires to studded versions, or install studs in your existing tires. With studs below you, the game is back on.

The Gear
I find the hardest part of fatbiking is dressing properly. I am no stranger to winter riding, but most of that has been commuting. Once I got off road, I found that I was chronically overdressed. Off road riding is slower than commuting, so there is less wind chill to contend with. Additionally, I find it is a higher effort (more calories spent) to fatbike than to commute. When winter riding make sure your feet and hands are warm with good gloves and winter shoes. I also find you should wear warm cycling clothes that will wick the moisture away and resist the urge to wear too much clothing.

Having Fun
The most fun part of riding a fatbike is experiencing an existing trail you may have used before, in a new way. With a fresh coat of snow on the ground, features that may normally be difficult get smoothed out and sections that are typically easy, can become difficult. That change in perspective gives all new life to trails that may have become old and commonplace to you. So get out there and try fatbiking this winter.

Minnesota Fall Fishing Report

Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota! http://www.outdoorsweekly.com/fishtales.html

BATTLE LAKE
– Ben’s Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)
Sunfish: Anglers are fishing in the 8-15 foot weedlines using worms and waxworms on small hair jigs. Lakes to try are Battle Lake, Clitherall, Rush, Silver. Crappie: fish in the15-20 foot weeds using small jigs. Try West Battle, Clitherall, Rush, Fish. Northerns: Troll with daredevils or minnows with jigs in 15-20 feet water. Lakes to try are Fiske, Clitherall, Ottertail, Donald. Walleyes: Use jigs and minnows in 10-25 feet or troll Rapalas towards dark in 4-7 feet. Try Ottertail, West Battle Lake, Rush, Pickeral. Muskies: Cast Jake’s or double cow girls in 20 feet of water.

LAKE BENTON
– Veire’s Mini-Mart
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
Please call Dave for a fishing report!

BLACKDUCK AREA whitebirchresort.net
– Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
Blackduck and Island Lake walleyes are biting on jigs and minnows in 10-14 feet. Panfish are hitting on Pimushe, Gilstead, Rabideau and Gull. Stop in for details!

BRAINERD AREA
– Leisure Outdoor Adventures – www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
Well we are getting to the tale end of things this fall, but there is still alot of open water fishing left. Here is quick report from Leisure Outdoor Adventures.
Walleye fishing has been really up and down of late. The cooler temps and stable weather should push the water temps down into the upper 50s and that is usually when fall fishing takes off. A jig and minnow is often the ticket. An 1/8th oz jig tipped with a golden shiner or rainbow is a great presentation on Leech Lake. Cadence and colors often times change day to day, so pay close attention to details. Look to wind blown shorelines and points that have had wind blowing into them for a couple days to produce. If it is a strong wind look in 5-8feet of water and on lighter blow days move out into 10-12 feet of water. The obvious areas should hold fish such as Pine Point, Stoney, Little Stony, Ottertail, Two Points, Sandy Beach, and the Flats around Goose Island. When working the flats pay close attention to where you are seeing bait and also subtle contour lines. Flats can be intimidating to fish, so the best thing to do is cover ground and work a large area until you connect with fish and then work that area over.
Have a Great Fall! Leisure Outdoor Adventures

CENTRAL MINNESOTA
– Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com – www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Capt Josh Hagemeister (320-291-0708)
Hello everyone, Fall fishing is here! Between the awesome grouse hunting and fishing throughout the area, I’m not sure what to do. I do know that when I’m catching crappies bigger than a bucket I’m in 30 ft of water fishing an 1/8 oz jig tipped with a Berkley Gulp white 2” grub. And occasionally, a bonus walleye or nice pike. The bigger pike are lurking nearby chowing on the crappies so fish the edges of the crappie schools with a large chub on a large bait rig. The easy walleyes to catch are in or near the deepest holes in the lake. Concentrate on the 45-60 ft range using minnows on just about any type of live bait presentation. Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!

CHISAGO CITY
– Frankie’s Live Bait and Marine – www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
On Chisago, crappies and sunfish are biting in 10-15 feet at the weedlines. North and South Lindstrom also report a good panfish bite. Green and North Center are best for walleyes in 12-14 feet.

DULUTH
– Marine General – www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
Walleyes are biting on Fish Lake in 10 feet of water. Crappies also reported there. For muskies, try Island Lake using sucker minnows in 10 feet of water. Walleyes are biting in 15 feet of water on Island as well.

ELY
– Babe’s Bait and Tackle – BabesBaitEly.com
500 Kawishiwi Trail, Ely, MN, first business on the left as you are entering town of Ely from the west on Hwy 169 (218-365-6930)
Fishing report 9/25/17
Just when you think you have the walleyes figured out, they change things up. Some anglers were reporting that the walleyes had gone deep, as that’s where they were catching them. Lately though, they have been getting caught all throughout the water depths. Some in thirty feet of water, some in seven feet. Go figure. The best advice right now is to keep watching your sonar till you mark some fish and then go after them. Most are still using crawler harnesses, but a good number of fish are being caught using crank baits fished just above the bottom. Jig and minnow combos should start to produce once again as they had done in the Spring.
Crappie anglers are beginning to converge on Birch Lake as the action there is beginning to heat up. We still don’t have the big schools bunching up, as the water temps are still a bit high at sixty four or five degrees, but this is soon to change as evening temperatures begin to fall. Crappie minnows are still the bait of choice, but safety pin spinners with a jig and soft tail make a good search tool as you slow troll to find the concentrations of fish. Watch for marks that are suspended mid-way in the water column, as this quite often represents the presence of crappies.
Many folks are chasing pike too at this time of year. The biggest fish of the season seem to get active at the onset of cooler weather. Big suckers fished right on the bottom will fool them time and again, but this can also be the time to dig out your biggest crank baits and work over the deeper weed edges and rockpiles to bring some giants to the net. This action should continue right up till ice begins to form.

HACKENSACK
Swanson’s Bait & Tackle www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
9-27-Water temps are still fairly high despite the cooler weather we have been getting. Walleye fishing has remained in that late summer/early fall pattern where crawlers are still working and minnows are starting to; lake to lake you will see the pattern change. Guys are primarily finding fish in 20-24 feet of water. Covering ground over larger flats has been good, but guys are starting to find fish off long edges and breaks. We should start to see fish stacking up on structure as the water cools, and the bite should switch over to more minnows as well.
Smallmouth bass on many of the area lakes have been going very well. Stony, Portage, Baby, and Ten Mile have all been producing great smallmouth action. Get the swim baits out or suspending/sinking stick baits to target them on the first break on rocky structure. They seem to be really putting the feed bags on right now, and an aggressive approach has been most successful so far. If you get on a tough bite, let the suspending action on the stick baits do the work near the bottom – drop shot rigs can work very well in this situation, but be sure to find where the fish are holding before switching over.
Leaves have really been falling hard with the rain we’ve been getting this last week so the woods are starting to open up for the grouse/deer hunters. It has been much easier seeing flushed birds now, and the deer are starting to focus on more obvious food sources instead of just hammering acorns. After the first week of season the grouse hunters are having trouble finding good numbers, but that could likely be due to the poor visibility and abundance of food. We should start seeing birds focus on good cover and food.

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN
– Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com – gatewaygeneral.com
Jason and Robyn Cooper, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int’l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)
As angler numbers dwindle fishing still remains consistent, grouse hunters finding better success
As we pass peak fall colors, cooler temps have water temperatures down in the 50’s. Fishing has been consistent and grouse hunters are finding better success as leaves continue to fall which is providing better hunting conditions. Some local and migrating ducks are flocking up and can be seen going to and from feeding areas around the lake. Bear have been sighted with more frequency, just another sure sign fall is here.
Walleye fishing has been consistent throughout Kabetogama. With limited fishing pressure and a wide variety of depths producing, reports are few and far. Anglers are still catching walleye and sauger using a jig and minnow but better success has been had trolling crankbaits to cover more water. Trolling weed lines and using lead core over deeper water has been producing fish.
Smallmouth bass are still being found on the reefs with regularity. A jig and minnow is the way to go. Start on top of and then work your way along reef edges to find active fish. When found, they can be in big numbers. It’s a great time to practice catch, photo and release with these strong fighters as many trophy fish can be caught in a single trip.
Perch fishing has been picking up over deeper water using a jig and minnow. Look for depths in the 30’ range off island points.
Waterfowl hunting has been fair at best. With the lack of migrating birds in the area, scouting is the key. Most success has been had scouting the beaver ponds off the main lakes with hunters taking mallards, teal, wood ducks and ring neck ducks. A few redhead and pintail have also been reported.
The park service is in the process of pulling rock and channel markers. Having a GPS and map in hand is recommended when venturing out. With the continued mild weather forecast for the foreseeable future, you can’t beat a day on the lake right now. With bugs at a minimum and leaves opening the woods up, take the opportunity to hike one of the park trails as well. Not only will you most likely have the trail to yourself, you never what you are going to see this time of year as animals are preparing for the long cold months ahead.
As always, we all hope to see you soon…..
Jason and Robyn
Cooper’s Gateway General Store

LAKE OF THE WOODS
– Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau – www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)
The walleye bite remains strong! Report is very similar to last weeks. Walleyes are staged in front of Pine Island, Graceton Beach and Zippel Bay in 18-30′. Anglers sorting through a few small fish for every keeper. Most anchored up with jig and shiner. Pink, pink/white and gold have been the best colors. Reefs holding fish as well.

Rainy River anglers finding success up and down the river. Schools of shiners coming into river randomly right now. When they do, the walleyes are close behind. Some days excellent, some days catching fish but not a slam dunk based on whether shiners are moving through. Vertical jigging tipped with a shiner while anchored is the go to method. Some anglers trolling crankbaits with success as well. Smallmouth bass, pike and crappies showing up.

Up at the Northwest Angle, in MN waters walleyes are crushing jig and shiners. Orange and chartreuse were the hot colors this week. Big pike being caught trolling minnow baits. In Ontario waters, minnow/shiner have been effective off of points at depth of 18-26′ while anchored or trolling. In addition to walleyes, crappies on fire and jumbo perch active! Some muskies being caught trolling. Lodging, charters and guides are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.

LEECH LAKE
– Anderson’s Resorts – www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) (1-800-516-0077)
Fall on Leech lake is a wonderful place to be! Beautiful colors warm days and cool nights and the fish seem to feel the need to feed. Muskie action has been great, hitting almost anything but if you’re looking for MR. BIG, then a 12 to 16 sucker minnow might be the right combo! I have friends who put one out and the others cast lures it’s amazing how they will attract the fish and then they will bite the live minnow! Walleye action is getting better with the cooler water temp, all the points will be great! Perch action is also going strong, shallow bays and lots of minnows are the key! Grouse numbers are up! Come sneak a fall trip in! Winter will be here shortly! Come enjoy all that the Leech Lake area has to offer!

MILLE LACS
– Chris Kuduk’s Guide Service – (320-630-1761)
Bassmaster tourney was a success on Mille Lacs. Smallie bite is doing well while pitching jigs/tubes. Reports of muskies and pike biting on Mille Lacs. Walleye season is closed. Panfish are biting on smaller area lakes such as Sullivan, Anne, Shakopee, Knife. Work the weedlines, as pike and walleyes are also mixed in. Aitkin Lake has been producing some big crappies and walleyes. Deer are being registered in the area and we are looking forward to a great pheasant season with many birds in the area.Call Chris for up-to-the-minute fishing reports or to book a launch trip or a small boat trip! We are still going out on fall guided trips! Listen to Chris and Stan live from 5-6 pm Saturdays on Outdoor Adventures on www.twincitiesnewstalk.com (iheart Radio)! Or listen to the podcast!

LAKE MINNETONKA
– Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)
Minnetonka walleyes are biting on nightcrawlers at the weedlines and in the bays. Try crankbaits or minnows after dark in the channels. Independence has also been producing walleyes in 18-20 feet. Crappies are biting on Independence, Minnetonka and Medicine as well.

PARK RAPIDS
– Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
Park Rapids area fishing report 8/31/2017
Bass- Most of the fish and size has been up shallow around a lot of standing structure. Mostly looking for very shady areas on these hot, calm, sunny days! Like Lilly pads, docks and cabbage weeds! A surface bait has proven to outshine any other lures. Tie on either a Scum frog “Trophy Series” or Terminator “Walking Frog” for your best chances on catching that 5lb pig!
Walleye– Found out schooling deeper waters between 20’ and 28’. Pulling Crawler harness spinner rigs paired with crawlers or redtails at a slow speed have been out fishing most other baits. And sometimes stripping the rigs of their beads and blades for more of a plain appearance also proving positive as well!.
Crappie/Sunfish– Sunfish have been between 6’-12’ around the tall standing vegetation and structure. Crappies swimming between 15’-20’ suspended or around deeper growing weeds. Either casting/jigging a small Rapala “Ultra Lite rippin rap” or tying on a VMC “Hot Skirt” jig tipped with either a crappie minnow or worm for best luck! Smokey Hills

LAKE TRAVERSE
– Steve’s Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400, 320-563-1400)
The Fishing on Lake Traverse has been HOT!! From walleye to catfish, They are all hungry. As we move further into September, the bite will only get better, right up to freeze up!! Our Wheaton Service bait shop will be relocating to Hwy 75 here in Wheaton, and will operate under the name STEVE’S BAIT! As always, Steve’s Bait will offer everything you need to be successful on Lake Traverse!! From the hot jig or plug, to the Best LIVE BAIT to be had within 75 miles!!! Pop, water and snacks will also be available Lodging is also available at our Fishin’ Hole Lodge, along with ice fishin packages. Good luck on the water!! Take a Kid Fishin! You can also check us out on Facebook!

WACONIA
Mase’s In Towne Marine – www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
We are changing our hours starting Tuesday, 9/5/17. Monday thru Friday, we will be open from 11:30 am to Sunset. Saturday and Sunday we will be open 8 am to Sunset. We close for the Summer Season after Saturday, September 30th.
The month of August, while cooler than normal for the pleasure-boaters was a good one for fishermen. Water temps stayed much cooler than normal (hovering around 70 degrees lately), which made fishing better. We had one of the best months of Northern Pike fishing in years, and that has continued into September. They were actively biting in many different depth ranges and on many varieties of lures and baits. Typical areas to target included Anderson’s Reef, Cemetery Reef, and Center Reef among others. If using live bait, sucker minnows were a popular choice.
Sunfish, Crappies, and Bass continued to be active as well. Fishing the weedlines in 11 to 13 feet of water was common for success. Some days crappies were found deeper off reefs such as Kegs and North Reefs in 15 to 18 feet of water. Sunfish could be found in 6 to 8 feet of water as well. Waxies or crawlers were used to catch some nice ones. The bass, while bigger off the deeper weed edges were also good in the shallow water reeds, the Rock Dock or near the Carp Trap (Peterson’s Creek on the NW side of the lake).
Walleyes should get nothing but better as we get into the Fall. This summer’s walleye bite was good, but as the season progressed, it was important to target them during the early morning or late evening hours for best success. Kegs Reef, Reds Reef, and Cemetery Reefs were all areas that produced some nice walleyes. Fathead minnows were commonly the best bait.
Muskie action picked up in August as well and should continue well into September and October. Bucktails and big topwater baits worked well for some. Areas like North Reef, Kegs Reef and Center Reef have all been muskie territory. However, it never hurts to target weedlines like those in Waconia Bay and out from the south shoreline from Lola’s toward the beach.
Our Fishing Boat and Pontoon Rental season is coming to a close shortly. This time of year, we highly recommend calling for reservations. We for sure will be renting thru next weekend (the 9th and 10th). After that, we will likely be prepping them for winter storage. However, if you call us and we still have a boat or pontoon available, we will be happy to rent!

WINNIBIGOSHISH
– Walleye Visions – www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.com, (218-327-2312)
Look for walleyes to hang shallow before heading off shore. All the points from Sugar, Ravens, Mallard, to Stony Point are great spots to try. Depths of 6-12 best. VMC mooneye jigs and a shiner have been productive or with a slip sinker rig with a shiner.

Vacation Goals: Where to Choose

Do you have every one of your vacation goals set for 2018 or do you require a few recommendations? While we can’t choose for you, we can offer you a few hints on the most proficient method to choose and put forth a few inquiries to enable you to get some clarity! The short answer is there’s no single perfect answer, and it really depends on key factors like personal travel style, size of group, length of time you have available, and of course your finances. With so much advertising shoved in our faces these days between print, TV and digital media, all vying for our attention, deciding which vacation destination to pick can be overwhelming. Value your hard earned dollars by putting more meaning into it, so you’ll have a much better chance of a more memorable and rewarding experience. When you get all that figured out, and your options for where you can go, your travels are endless. I’ll leave you with this… “Many things will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those!” believe in accumulating memories, not just possessions why picking your Vacation Paradise.
Sincerely, White Birch Resort