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.


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!

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.


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.

“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.

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:The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 vs. Weather for Halloween 2017

Here’s the weather forecast for our Halloween 2017..could it turn into The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 Local Weather Report whitebirchresort.net
The 1991 Halloween Storm Facts:
At the time, the 36.9″ of snow that fell at Duluth set the state record for storm total snowfall. That was surpassed in 1994.
Snow began in Duluth at about 1:00 pm on October 31st, and did not end until 1:00 pm on November 3rd, meaning that snow fell continuously on the city for about 72 hours.
Moderate to heavy snow fell in Duluth with as much as 2 inches per hour from about 11:00 am on November 1st to about 2:00 am on November 2nd – about 15 hours.
Blowing snow was reported in Duluth for 33 consecutive hours, starting at 2 PM on November 1st. Winds regularly gusted to between 30 and 40 MPH. Visibilities were frequently near zero. https://www.weather.gov/dlh/1991halloweenblizzard

The snowstorm that hit parts of the area starting around Halloween (October 31 – November 3) in 1991 was an impressive storm in many respects, and it is still remembered by many people across the Northland. In fact, this storm was set up, in part, by the weather patterns that caused the “Perfect Storm” that struck the East Coast of the United States, and was famously depicted in Sebastian Junger’s book. Moreover, the “Perfect Storm” was beginning to wind down in the Northeast on Halloween, around the same time that Minnesota was starting to see heavy snow creeping in. To have two exceptional storms impacting the continental United States at the same time is quite rare.

What Happened:
During the height of trick-or-treating- the storm began as rain, then changed quickly to freezing rain and before the evening was over, it was snowing. It continued to snow for two more days, with final totals of 36.5 inches at the Duluth Airport and 45 inches in Superior. A large area of more than 20 inches of snow covered most of the northwest quarter of Wisconsin from Bayfield to River Falls and near the eastern half of Minnesota. At times the snow fell at a rate of two inches per hour and was accompanied by thunder and lightning. In addtion, winds gusting to to 40 mph created huge snowdrifts and zero visibility.

The “Halloween Blizzard” was made possible by a strong Arctic cold front that surged south through the central United States several days prior. On October 28, 1991, temperatures in advance of the cold front were quite pleasant as high temperatures reached into the 70s from the Mid Mississippi River Valley south into North Texas, and into the 80s across much of central and southern Texas. Meanwhile, high temperatures did not crack 20 degrees across most of Montana and Wyoming.

The contrast between the two air masses was stark, and by the morning of October 29th, the cold front was already about halfway through Texas. At 6 AM CST, the temperature in Amarillo, TX had plummeted to 22 degrees with a stiff northerly breeze. Abilene, TX was reporting a temperature of 40, while Dallas came in at 64 – a 24 degree difference over about 180 miles. Meanwhile, morning lows were much more frigid to the north – in the single digits across Montana and Wyoming, and in the teens (with snow) in the Dakotas.

A broad upper level trough, or low pressure area was in place over the western US at this time, with one particular shortwave (a disturbance, or small area of low pressure aloft) lifting northeast through the Dakotas, and another digging to the southeast into the Intermountain West. By October 30th, the cold front had reached the Texas shoreline with the Gulf of Mexico, and stalled in that location. As the shortwave aloft rounded the base of the broad trough and approached the southern Plains, it aided the development of an area of surface low pressure along the sharp temperature gradient near the Texas Gulf Coast. The development of low pressure systems along coastal fronts in this fashion is relatively common in the cool season along the Texas Gulf Coast and along the Atlantic Seaboard near the Gulf Stream current.

From October 30th into the 31st, this low pressure system slowly became better organized over Texas, before it ejected north over the Mississippi River Valley. This trajectory of a low pressure track (almost due north from the western Gulf) is climatologically favorable to produce very heavy snowfall in the winter months because it allows copius amounts of moisture to surge north where they can interact with colder air. Cooler readings lingered at the very end of October across the Upper Midwest, and a re-inforcing shot of Arctic air was just beginning to push southeast through the western Canadian Provinces.

On November 1st, the surface low pressure moved north from western Illinois into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the minimum pressure fell about 24 millibars in 24 hours, indicative of rapid deepening and strengthening of the cyclone. This was when the heavier snow set in across the Northland, and winds became quite gusty – producing some blizzard conditions with visibilities at or below 1/4 mile at times. Snowfall rates occasionally peaked in the 1 to 2 inches per hour range.

The low pressure eventually became occluded, weakened, and then continued to dissipate as it pushed east across northern Ontario in subsequent days. When the storm had exited, it had taken quite a toll on the area. Almost every place received at least a foot of snow, with lower totals to the west of the International Falls, Grand Rapids, and Brainerd areas as they were further away from the low, and also east of the Ashland and Hayward areas where warmer air kept snow from accumulating as much. Snow drifts were as high as 6 to 10 feet in some areas, and a few spots saw businesses and schools closed for several days.

We Hope everyone has a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Minnesota Fall Fishing Report

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

– 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.

– 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!

– 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

– 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!

– 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.

– 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.

– 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.

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.

– 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 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.

– 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!

– 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!

– 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.

– 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

– 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!

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!

– 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.

Experience the Northwoods of Minnesota

“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.”- George Washington Carver

The Minnesota’s Northwoods define this statement perfectly, isn’t it?
The speechless charm, an isolated pathway surrounded by the sky-high trees, the peeping sunrays, the flora till the horizon, water skiing fun— Welcome to Northwoods! You are in the mid of the shrubby woods of Minnesota.

The Northwoods are eminent as the boreal forests of North America and an amazing spot to explore adventures and hunting at the most. Blessed with a rich heritage of “evergreens”, these forests are the unexampled beauty to cherish. It is because of the presence of wood’s mammoth area and variation in the soil as well as climate. Therefore, you can become the witness of natural flora and fauna by visiting here. Such an adorable view it will be!

Basically, Northwoods embody the regions of Minnesota, Montana, Michigan, New York, etc. of the USA. No matter, whether you are an American or belong to some other country, if you want a refreshing break from your hectic life, then look no further than the Northwoods. Here, you will definitely get an unbeatable vacation experience of your life. As you enter this habitat, you will find various luxury resorts and accommodations to stay in. The best part is that these resorts offer multiple recreational activities for fun and entertainment.

The Best 3’s of Northwoods

Perfect Season for Hunting in Northwoods

If you are off to Northwoods in the current season, then you are lucky enough to enjoy hunting. Usually, this recreational activity turns on in September and lasts long till the end of the year. October is in succession and you can take the best advantage of hunting in the Northwoods of Minnesota. More precisely, October is perfect for woodcock and grouse hunting, as it will cease at the end of this month.

Wonderful Lake Recreational Activities

Northwoods is quite prominent for pristine lakes, such as Gull Lake, etc. And, the tourists can relish every second in the lakes in several fun activities, like- fishing, water skiing, canoeing, boating, kayaking, and swimming in summers, whereas, snowshoeing, ice fishing,  cross-country skiing, ice fishing, etc. in winters.

Crystal Clear Sky with Multiple Constellations at Night

The night view is just heart stealing. Away from the noise pollution and other pollutants of the city, the Northwoods bestow the tourists upon with the striking and lovely sky full of numerous constellations. The entire sky lights up with infinite numbers of stars and the natural luster of the Moon.

Do you want to disappear in this blissful splendor of the Northwoods? Book a splendid resort and get ready to feel the revitalizing air of Northwoods.

The White Birch Resort is one of the dazzling resorts in Minnesota’s Northwoods. Integrated with comfortable & opulent rooms, this resort will definitely give you a reason to stay here. It is only an ace as a unique hi-end boutique resort in Minnesota. Regardless of the season, you are cordially greeted here to acquire the life’s finest matchless moments. With a lot to explore, this resort is an unexampled spot with many superb packages, in sync with the requisites of all tourists.

Don’t miss out! Walk a mile ahead and admire the invincible ecstasy of Northwoods!

River Fishing the Land of 10,000 Lakes

St. Cloud 2 CW_Outfitters_TheEuls_5637.jpg

Photo by Chelsea & Eric Eul, courtesy of Clear Waters Outfitting

On a blue-sky summer day, the Mississippi River curves and flows around St. Cloud’s Beaver Islands, where anglers easily find solitude along this scenic stretch in a boat, canoe, fishing kayak, or simply casting from parks along the shore.

“This stretch [of the Mississippi from St. Cloud to Anoka] has become one of the top river smallmouth bass fisheries in the country,” says Dan Meer, owner of Clear Waters Outfitting Co. “Smallmouth bass are known to be the best fighting fish per pound,” which makes them a fun challenge to catch.

The famed Mississippi originates humbly at Itasca State Park and journeys more than 600 miles through Minnesota, including its 1.7-mile-wide Lake Pepin. Commercial boat traffic can go as far as Minneapolis, but even the busier, southern stretches of Mississippi appeal to paddlers and anglers who find the bluff country’s quiet backwaters rich in wildlife and a variety of fish including northern pike, walleye, muskie, largemouth bass, crappies and catfish.

Fly fishing Root River in PrestonMinnesota boasts more than 6,500 natural rivers and streams comprising more than 69,000 miles. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers fishing classes, maintains more than 30 state water trails, and numerous state parks where you can check out free rods and reels and tackle boxes. Check the DNR fishing page for where to go and updates on access points, fishing piers, river landscapes and wildlife, rapids and water levels, fish consumption advisories and outfitters that can provide shuttles, watercraft and maps.

River anglers also can join organizations such as Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association or team up with someone who can leave a vehicle at the final pullout destination so you can go with the flow on your river of choice. Kayaks generally maneuver shallow waters better than boats, and can be easier to get onto the water. Newer designs include hands-free propulsion and modern electronics for locating fish.

Beyond the Mississippi, here’s a sampling of Minnesota’s better-known rivers:


Flowing through the rolling hills and woods south of the Twin Cities, this rural river yields northern pike, black crappies, catfish and smallmouth bass.


Boat on Minnesota River in Bloomington fallFrom its confluence with the Mississippi River below historic Fort Snelling in St. Paul, this placid river flows 370 miles south to Mankato and west to Big Stone Lake at Ortonville. Known for channel and flathead catfish (including a 50-pounder), it’s also possible to reel in walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and sauger. Big Stone LakeLac qui Parle and Upper Sioux Agency state parks all offer fishing kits to borrow.


Flowing north along Minnesota’s northwest border, this warm, muddy river harbors channel catfish, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, sauger and lake sturgeon. Campsites can be found along the shore at East Grand Forks’ Red River State Recreation Area.


Smallmouth bass, catfish, rock bass and more can be found in this gentle to moderate flowing river through southeast Minnesota. Some spots may harbor brown trout, which thrives in the region’s smaller streams.


St Croix River at William O'Brian State ParkWith the Dalles rocky bluffs and glacial potholes at Interstate State Park, this river dividing northern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota delivers dramatic scenery along with smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye, sauger and lake sturgeon among its 60-plus species of fish. Other state parks along its shores: AftonSt. Croixand Wild River.


This Iron Range river known for dramatic rapids sought by expert paddlers joins Lake Superior at Duluth, where its 12,000-acre sprawl makes it North America’s largest freshwater estuary. Restoration efforts are underway to reclaim the estuary from former industries and improve access for anglers seeking walleye, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and sturgeon.

Minnesota Trail Report

Some areas of northern Minnesota received nearly half a foot of snow earlier this week. In some areas it’s still snowing, with additional accumulation expected this weekend. Ski trails throughout the northern one-third of Minnesota are groomed and in good to excellent condition. And many snowmobile trails are open and in good condition, including at Ely, Finland, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls and Lutsen. Please note that trail conditions can change on a daily basis; please call ahead for the most current conditions. whitebirchresort.net

Explore Minnesota will report winter trail conditions each Thursday afternoon during the winter season, with updates as changes in conditions warrant. Information used to compile the Winter Trails Report is provided courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources Climatology Office, Voyageurs National Park, the Three Rivers Park District, and communities throughout the state. exploreminnesota.com

A Snowmobile State Trail sticker is required for all snowmobiles operating on state or grant-in-aid trails. All cross-country skiers on state park or forest ski trails, or on state or grant-in-aid trails, who are 16 years old or older must have a Minnesota Ski Pass. For further information, contact the Department of Natural Resources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-646-6367. To order cross-country ski passes and snowmobile trail stickers, dial 1-888-665-4236 or access the DNR Online License Sales web site. To locate a license center in Minnesota to purchase ski passes and snowmobile stickers, check out DNR License Agents.

For a customized travel planner to help you plan your Minnesota getaway, contact one of our travel counselors at 888-TOURISM (888-868-7476), or request a planner at Contact a Travel Counselor.

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Northeast Region

International Falls

The Koochiching State Forest Tilson Creek Ski Trail is in very good condition for classic and skate skiing. The base of the trail measures more than 3 inches, with more than 8 inches of snow on the ground. The trail has been groomed with double skate lanes and tracks. Area snowmobile trails running through Voyageurs National Park and throughout the Rainy Lake vicinity are reported to be in good shape. The ice roads on Rainy Lake are open and the snowmobile trails are marked and groomed. Riders are asked to please watch for pressure ridges along the way! More information is also available at www.rainylake.org

Side Lake/N of Hibbing

Skiers report very good conditions on trails within McCarthy Beach State Park. Roughly 6 miles of trails have been groomed, with a base measuring 4 inches. The snowmobile trails have also been groomed, and are reported to be in fair condition–the base averages 2 inches. Just to the west, snowmobile trails running through George Washington State Forest have been freshly groomed following the recent 5-6 inches of snow. The trail base measures 3 inches, and conditions are good throughout the area. Riders are asked to be aware of active logging activity, especially along the south end of the Circle L system. Ski trails in the forest have a 2-3 inch groomed surface, and are in good condition. And just to the north, the section of the Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail running north of Orr is in good condition, with a 3 inch groomed surface. The entire trail should be regroomed prior to the weekend, improving conditions even more. Approximately 10 inches of snow covers the ground.


The snowmobile trails running through Lake Vermilion State Park are reported to be in fair condition, with a 4 inch base. Please use caution due to sections of thin trail base that may expose rocks as trail use increases. Temporary snowmobile trails run through some of the best viewing areas of the park, and connect with the Lake Vermilion ice trail and a spur of the Taconite State Snowmobile Trail that runs through Soudan Underground Mine State Park. The nearby segment of the Taconite Trail has a 2-4 inch groomed surface, but conditions are poor to fair. Local snow depth is 8-11 inches. The Taconite should be fully regroomed prior to the weekend.


Five inches of fresh snow has fallen over the past few days, and it continues to snow! The Hidden Valley Cross Country Ski Trails and Babbitt Golf Course Trails are reported to be in excellent condition for classic and skate skiing, with a nice solid 8 inch base overall. The Bear Head Lake State Park campground loops and some of the other ski trails are freshly groomed and in good condition, with an 8 inch base. The snowmobile trails are also groomed and in good condition. These trails have a 6 inch base. Local snow depth is 13 inches. A Guest House and five camper cabins are open in the winter. All snowmobile trails in the Ely vicinity should be freshly groomed prior to the weekend. Conditions are considered fair to good, including along the Putnam/Fishing Lakes Trail running through Bear Island State Forest. These trails have a 3-5 inch base on average, however riders are asked to watch for exposed rocks on portions of the Fishing Lakes Trail. While the lake trails are in very good shape, riders should use caution and stay on the staked trails due to several pressure ridges on some of the lakes. Area snowcover measures 8-10 inches. Please note that trail conditions can change on a daily basis–more information is available at www.ely.org.

Grand Marais/Gunflint Trail

In Cook County, just outside of Grand Marais up the Gunflint Trail, Central Gunflint Trail ski trails have a 7-8 inch packed powder surface, and are reported to be in excellent shape. There are 70 kilometers of trails groomed for traditional skiing, and 40 kilometers groomed for skate skiing. Roughly 17 inches of snow covers the ground in this area. In the Upper Gunflint Trail vicinity, total accumulation in the woods is 16-18 inches. Most trails in this area have an 8 inch base, and skiers report excellent conditions. And riders report that area snowmobile trails are in good condition overall, with a trail base of 5-7 inches.


Up the Sawbill Trail, located inland from Lutsen, ski conditions are excellent at the end of the trail. These backcountry trails receive minimal grooming–the base measures roughly 16 inches. Since this area is very remote, please have plenty of gas in a good operating vehicle and come prepared with winter survival gear. Travel to the very end of the Sawbill Trail, walk over the snowbank, and you’ll see the trail. It’s old fashioned skiing at its best! And just east of here, all 17 kilometers of the Deeryard Loop have been groomed for classic skiing. The trail base measures 2-8 inches, and conditions are excellent from Caribou to the ski hill road– the Hall/Massie is marginal to good. Nearby, Cascade River State Parkoffers 18 miles of packed and groomed ski trails. The base measures 2-6 inches, and conditions are good overall. Please note that the base is thinnest near Lake Superior. The frozen waterfalls are spectacular, and just a quick hike or snowshoe from the Trail Center. Snowshoes are available for rent at the park office. From 3-9 inches of snow covers the ground at Cascade River State Park. The two miles of snowmobile trails running through the park are groomed, with a 2-8 inch base–conditions are good.

Finland/Grand Marais

The portion of the North Shore State Snowmobile Trail running from the Sawbill Trail north to the Gunflint Trail Junction just south of Grand Marais was groomed earlier this week. The trail base measures 3-5 inches, and conditions are good. The section south of the Sawbill Trail has some rough and thin spots, and conditions are poor to fair. Local snow depth ranges from 3 inches to the south to 13 inches at Grand Marais.

Grand Rapids

The Cow Horn Road cross-country ski trails running through Golden Anniversary State Forest are reported to be in good condition following the additional 4 inches of fresh snow. The trail base measures 2 inches, and local snow depth is 7 inches. To the north, Scenic State Park ski and snowmobile trails have been groomed, and conditions are good. The base of these trails measures 4-5 inches. Area snow cover measures 1 foot.

Northwest Region

Williams/NW of Baudette

Zippel Bay State Park cross-country ski trails are now fully groomed, with a 6 inch base. Conditions are very good. The snowmobile trail has not yet been groomed, and conditions remain poor. Local snow depth is 1 foot.

Lake Bronson/far NW corner

Lake Bronson State Park ski trails are partially groomed, and conditions are reported to be good. The base on the trails measures 2-3 inches, and approximately 7 inches of snow covers the ground.

Argyle/NW of Thief River Falls

The ski trails at Old Mill State Park were groomed February 22. The trail base measures 2 inches, and conditions are good. A Candlelight Ski will be held here this Saturday, February 25 from 6:30-9:00 p.m.


The ski trails at Lake Bemidji State Park are in very good condition following the recent snowfall, and the trails will be regroomed tomorrow which will improve conditions even more! The trail base measures roughly 4 inches. The snowmobile trails remain ungroomed and in poor condition. Local snow depth is 14 inches. A Candlelight Ski will be held this Saturday, February 25, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Glyndon/E of Moorhead

Buffalo River State Park offers a three mile river loop for cross-country skiing. This trail was groomed February 21, and conditions are good. The trail base measures 2 inches.

Most other ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of snow.

Central Region

Pelican Rapids/Fergus Falls

Maplewood State Park received roughly 5 inches of fresh snow on February 20, enough to pack the one mile ski trail around Cataract Lake. The base of the trail measures 2 inches, and conditions are good. The Friends of Maplewood will be hold a Candlelight Ski, Snowshoe & Hike on Saturday, February 25 from 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Most other ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of snow.

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan Vicinity

Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Scott and Wright county parks

As of Wednesday, February 22, Elm Creek Park Reserve, located in Maple Grove and part of the Three Rivers Park District, was reported to offer good conditions for classic and skate skiing. The lesson area is also packed, tracked and in great shape for both types of skiing. The lights have been turned on, and rentals are available at Elm Creek. The chalet is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. These trails typically receive heavy use from area ski teams–please call ahead for scheduled race and practice times. 763/559-6778, ext. 2. And some trails at Cleary Lake Regional Park at Prior Lake and French Regional Park at Plymouth have now been packed and are in fair condition.


Theodore Wirth Park, part of the Minneapolis Park System, has snow-making equipment and continues to offer skiable trails. Skiers report good conditions for classic and skate skiing due to consistent grooming and well-maintained trails. There are trails for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers, as well as a practice area, lessons, equipment rental, and a 3.1 kilometer lighted manmade snow loop. The lighted loop is busiest from 3:00-6:00 p.m. weekdays when high school cross-country ski teams use the trail–please call ahead for a schedule of practice times and upcoming races. 612/230-6400

Lake Elmo

Green Acres Recreation Area has 6 kilometers of trails overall, and 2.5 kilometers with manmade snow. Skiers report good conditions, with consistently well-groomed trails for traditional and skate skiing. Please note that these trails generally receive heavy use from area ski teams during late afternoon and early evening hours–please call ahead for scheduled race and practice times. 651/770-6060

Most other ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of snow.

Southern Region

All ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of of snow.

Minnesota Ice Fishing Report

Fishing slowed a bit during the coldest days in January, but action continues to heat up and should continually improve during the month of February. Please note that recent unseasonably warm temperatures throughout the state have caused ice conditions to change in some areas. It is extremely important to use caution when heading out! Anyone considering a trip out onto the ice must first check with local bait shops and resorts for the most current ice conditions. Anglers venturing out are asked to carry ice claws and a long rope, wear a floatation device, and check ice depth often. Please stay informed, and brush up on Minnesota DNR Ice Safety Tips before heading out on your next ice fishing adventure. The most current Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer Reports may also be useful.whitebirchresort.net

The fishing season for walleye, sauger, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass in most Minnesota waters remains open through February 26, 2012. Smallmouth bass, however, are catch-and-release only through February 26. The winter season for lake trout within and outside of the BWCA runs through March 31, 2012. The winter season for stream trout in southern Minnesota is catch-and-release only, and also runs through March 31, 2012. And, Minnesota fishing opener dates for the 2012/2013 fishing season for most inland waters are as follows: walleye, sauger, northern pike and lake trout, May 12; largemouth and smallmouth bass, May 26; muskie, June 2. The fishing season for crappies, sunnies, perch and catfish is continuous. The fishing season for stream trout in streams is catch-and-release only April 1-13; the regular season beginning April 14. Please note that seasons and regulations vary for certain boundary waters and some individual lakes and rivers–please check out the Minnesota DNR Fishing Seasons and Minnesota DNR Fishing Regulations pages to learn more.

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.

Northeast Minnesota
International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River
Ice fishing has been great on Rainy Lake, with fish hitting jigs and minnows in 25-35 feet of water from Sand Bay eastward to Cranberry Bay. Northern pike are lurking around Black Bay, and there are sporadic reports of good crappie numbers coming from Sand Bay. Some of the best ice fishing spots are now accessible due to opening of the Park Service Ice Road around the north side of Dryweed Island and looping back to Cranberry Bay Road. Access to these roads is from the ramp at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. And area snowmobile trails are in great shape and riding conditions should remain excellent for the next several days. All park service snowmobile trails are open and staked, with lots of good trails for skiing and snowshoeing as well. 1-800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

Trout fishing has dominated the scene lately, with good numbers of lake trout coming out of area trout lakes. Roughly half are coming in on ciscoes and the remainder are being taken on jigging type lures such as airplane jigs, bionic bucktails and chubby darters. Rainbow trout action has been excellent early in the day, with fish measuring up to 22-inches. For the most fish, use a darker colored small jig tipped with a waxworm or dead crappie minnow fished in waters less than 10 feet deep. A few splake weighing up to 7-pounds were recently taken from roughly 20 feet of water during the day. Walleye are being taken by anglers that stay on move, working depths of 6-30 feet at the structure, such as weed edges and reef tops. For the most fish, use a northland buckshot jigging spoon, small chubby dater, or small lindy darter. 1-800-777-7281; www.ely.org

Cook County: Lutsen-Tofte, Grand Marais, Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage
The trout action on Gunflint Trail lakes has been great. On Kemo Lake, outside of Grand Marais, lake trout are attacking minnows, jigs, and spoons worked in 20-30 foot depths. On Clearwater Lake, midway up the trail, large lake trout are being pulled through the holes, with many weighing 4-5 pounds. At the end of the trail, on Saganaga Lake, most lake trout are coming from deeper waters on jigs and spoons tipped with minnows and ciscoes. Just north of Grand Marais, the spake are hitting ice jigs and waxworms worked in 8-18 feet of water on Pine Mountain and Mink lakes. Northern pike action remains consistently strong on East Twin, Pike, and Devil Track lakes, as well as on Caribou Lake just north of Lutsen–just drop a sucker minnow through a hole in 6-18 feet of water and you’ll likely get a fish! www.VisitCookCounty.com

Northwest Minnesota
Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River
Fishing remains great on Lake of the Woods. Anglers have had to be a bit more skilled and patient since fish can be seen on the electronics but they need to be coaxed before they’ll bite! The best approach seems to be either a plain hook and minnow or a favorite jigging spoon worked in 32 feet of water. A good share of the walleye have been suspended, with many of these fish measuring roughly 26-inches. Anglers looking for a trophy are encouraged to use their electronics, hitting depths of 16-18 feet early in the morning and late in the evening. Ice is averaging over 2 feet thick. Up at the North West Angle, depths of 17-21 feet have been best during early morning and late evening hours, with 27-29 foot depths being best during midday hours. Anything that glows have worked well for walleye and sauger. Fishing has slowed a bit just south of Oak Island, but anglers continue to bring in limits. Anglers report that the crappie bite remains strong. The snowmobile trail up to Oak Island is in good shape, but riders will want to watch out for a few pressure ridges along the way. The continuous fluctuation in temperatures this season is causing a lot of pushing and pulling of these ridges. 1-800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Anglers continue to enjoy the mild temperatures, good ice conditions and minimal amount of snow cover on most lakes–this weekend looks like it will be mild as well, with highs remaining in the 30s! Fishing slowed somewhat during the coldest days in mid-January, but action should continue to improve during the month of February. Most of the larger area lakes are producing walleye during morning and evening hours. Depending on conditions, walleye are coming from the deep edge of the weedlines all the way down to the edge of the basin–these fish typically move to structure during low light periods, and head for deeper waters during the day. Walleye in stained lakes often suspend over deeper waters during the day, at approximately the same depth where they will make contact with structure when become more active. Anglers using sonar usually have a big advantage since they can see when the fish move through, when their presentations trigger bites, and when they are making the fish skittish! Perch anglers are finding schools of perch in both the deep and shallow waters. The shallow bite is occurring on the rocks and on the edges of flats with cabbage weeds or chara covering the bottom. The deeper perch have been close to the edge of the basin, where they can feed on both insects and minnows. Anglers are finding crappies on the edges of the structure connected to deep water, mostly in 20-30 feet of water, suspended a few feet off the bottom. 1-800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Bena -Lake Winnibigoshish
The Lake Winnibigoshish perch bite has been great! Several areas around the lake are giving up lots of perch, with the shore drops down to 26-34 foot depths being best. Areas to check include the Moxey Drop, Stump Line, Snag Drop and the West Side Drop around Sugar Lake. The humps to the north are producing well, with perch moving in and out of the humps–it is important to stay mobile until you locate fish. The walleye bite is good at the main lake bars. Bena Bar from Big Musky out to the Bend, as well as Horseshoe and Sugar bars are all good. Fish the top third of the water column in 15-23 feet of water. Rattle spoons and a minnow head continue to work well. On cloudy, foggy days, use glow colors. The northern pike bite remains strong for the tip-up anglers fishing 3-6 feet off the bottom in 15-23 foot depths. Smaller area lakes are starting to produce crappies and sunnies. Look to Six Mile, Little Ball Club, and Big Ball Club lakes for good panfish action. Evening hours until 9:00 p.m. seem to be the best. Some sunnies are being caught during the day on these lakes as well. On average, there is 20-24 inches of ice, with very little snow. The ice heaves are mostly staying put. Still, as always, it is essential that you check with the resort where you access the lake to get the most current report on ice conditions. www.lakewinnie.net

Walker – Leech Lake
Leech Lake is more accessible this year than it has been in a long time due to a lack of snow and slush, with access to nearly all hot spots on the lake. Overall, the ice is averaging 18-21 inches thick. Still, anglers are asked to remain very vigilant about safety, watching for ice heaves and open cracks on the larger lakes, and staying away from areas where rivers or streams run in to or out of the lake. Also avoid areas that historically have poor ice conditions because of springs or narrow channels. Most anglers continue to catch plenty of fish, including walleye, perch, northern pike, crappies and sunnies. Lots of eating-sized walleye measuring 12-18 inches are being reported. In Walker Bay, anglers report lots of nice-sized perch and an occasional walleye coming from 11-14 foot depths. Panfish enthusiasts are catching limits of crappies and sunnies on other area lakes. These fish have been suspended in most locations, with some fish found closer to the surface than to the bottom of the lake. Several anglers who recently fished two area lakes reported that the larger crappies were taken closer to the surface and the smaller crappies were pulled from large schools of suspended fish roughly 4-8 feet off the bottom. And one lucky angler recently caught a 32-inch northern pike! 1-800-833-1118; www.leech-lake.com

Detroit Lakes
Ice conditions remain good despite lingering mild temperatures. This weekend will remain mild and anglers should be comfortable sitting on a bucket enjoying the action, easily moving to another spot if necessary. Lake travel remains easy, except for a few accesses that are still hampered by shoreline ice heaves. Please remember not to cross the pressure ridges to and stay away from areas with current, especially on days with mild temperatures. Last weekend, one angler pulled four walleye from 15-19 feet of water. While on the ice for roughly two hours, these fish, along with a few that didn’t make it through the hole, were all taken during a 45-minute window just as the sun hit the tree line. Buckshot rattle jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads did the trick when worked in 12-14 feet of water on a weed edge. Anglers are also reporting a great panfish and perch bite over the past week or so. 1-800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region
Otter Tail Lakes Area
Otter Tail Lake continues to give up quite a few jumbo perch and walleye in 10-20 foot depths along the weed edges. Fatheads, shiners, and sucker minnows are working best on jigs and setlines. Spear anglers are taking some large northern pike–please remember that only one northern over 30-inches can be in possession. Crappies are starting to turn more active, especially on West Battle and East Lost lakes in 15-25 feet of water. Ice is generally 18-20 inches thick, and all accesses are open. 1-800-423-4571; www.ottertailcountry.com

Brainerd Lakes Area
Glow jigs and minnows are producing crappies in 20-30 feet of water on Hay and Round lakes. Cullen and Nisswa lakes are producing sunfish in depths of 10-15 feet. Look for walleye using shiner minnows, rainbows, or small spoons in 16-30 feet of water on Gull, North Long, and Round lakes. Northern pike continue to hit shiners and sucker minnows in depths of 10-15 feet on Gull and Edward lakes. Closer to Crosby, the walleye reports have slowed, but a few nice fish continue to be taken during evening hours in 28-32 feet of water on Nokay Lake. Panfish action has been good on Nokay, Cedar, Bay, Milford, and Crooked lakes, with lots of crappies coming from 30-plus feet of water and large numbers of sunnies pulled from depths of 9-15 feet. Northern pike action has been exceptional for both anglers and spearers in 8-15 feet of water near green weeds on Lower Mission, Black Bear, Rabbit and Mahnomen lakes. 1-800-450-2838; www.explorebrainerdlakes.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs
On the east side of Lake Mille Lacs, snowmobiles and ATVs are now able to travel to the main-lake flats and reefs where walleye and perch are biting in 25-plus feet of water. The 15- to 18-foot shoreline breaks and deeper gravel areas are also producing walleye, mainly during low-light periods. Northern pike continue to hit sucker minnows worked in 10-15 feet of water in Isle, Wahkon, and Cove bays. On the west side of Lake Mille Lacs, walleye and perch continue to be pulled from 15-20 foot depths in St. Alban’s Bay. The ice has improved enough to now allow ATVs and snowmobiles to start traveling to some of the main-lake mud flats. Look to the edges of these flats during the day and on top of them during low-light periods for the most walleye. 1-888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan vicinity
Few reports are available due to current warm temperatures causing changes in ice conditions in many areas.
Northeast Metro/Chisago Lakes Area
651/257-1177; www.chisagolakeschamber.com
White Bear Area Lakes
White Bear Lake has 13-15 inches of ice on average. The area near the VFW is giving up quite a few crappies and walleye. On Bald Eagle Lake, crappie anglers are taking fish by the island, and walleye are coming through the holes at Rock Point. Please note that Bald Eagle Lake has been closed to all vehicle travel–anglers are venturing out by foot. 651/653-5122; www.ExploreWhiteBear.org

Waconia 952/442-5812; www.destinationwaconia.org

Southern Minnesota
Few reports are available due to current warm temperatures causing changes in ice conditions in many areas.

Lake City – Lake Pepin/Pool #4 Mississippi River

1-877-525-3248; www.lakecitymn.org

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country Trout Streams

1-800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Rochester -Southeast Minnesota Lakes and Rivers

The stream trout bite remains good on area streams! For a list and maps showing designated winter trout fishing streams, visit the Minnesota DNR Winter Trout Streams page. 1-800-634-8277; www.rochestercvb.org

Albert Lea
Fountain Lake is giving up lots of crappies, perch and sunnies near the Edgewater Park Fishing Pier and in the Shoreland Beach area. On Albert Lea Lake, anglers report good numbers of walleye. 1-800-345-8414; www.albertleatourism.org
Fairmont Area Lakes
1-800-657-3280; www.fairmontcvb.com
Ortonville – Big Stone Lake
1-800-568-5722; www.bigstonelake.com