Anderson: Take advantage of summer before it's gone

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 25, 2014 - 10:58 AM
hide

Brendan Peterson and Tyler Grondseth try their luck on a hot fishing hole on Lake Elora in Northern Minnesota.

Photo: Brian Mark Peterson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Summer is short in Minnesota. Blue skies and warm weather sometimes prevail April through October. But most years, June, July and August are your money months.

What follows is a guide to places I’ve fished and camped in our all-too-brief summers. In a way, each is my “favorite.’’

Other Minnesotans have their own preferred summer destinations. Recollections of six of these fellow outdoors enthusiasts are also included on this page.

Perhaps one or more of these reminiscences, will inspire you to pack up and head out this summer.

• • •

River camping on the St. Croix by canoe or boat offers a wilderness experience close to home. Weekdays are better than weekends, especially from Taylors Falls to Stillwater, and the National Park Service (www.nps.gov/sacn) has rules governing camping (designated sites are available, with fire grates) and other uses of the St. Croix. But in combination with the Namekagon River, 255 miles of fantastic water lies ready to explore within an hour or two of the Twin Cities. The service’s website can aid trip planning. But bring your fishing rods, a variety of Mepp’s spinners, crankbaits and/or flies. Some of the state’s best smallmouth bass fishing is available on the St. Croix — and not just along the well-known stretch above Grantsburg, Wis., but also above St. Croix Falls, and between Taylors Falls and Stillwater.

DNR parks near the metro are also some of the state’s best. Afton State Park (state park info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks) is terrific for tent campers who want a faraway experience close to home. For those seeking more comfort, four camper cabins are available (though summer weekend reservations fill up early). Hiking and horse trails are here, too. William O’Brien, Interstate (with its fantastic companion Wisconsin state park directly across the St. Croix) and Wild River are also among my favorites, as is Frontenac near Red Wing. (Nearby, the Cannon Valley Trail connects Red Wing to Welch and Cannon Falls, and is stellar for bikers, in-line skaters and hikers.)

Another great metro camping getaway is Lake Auburn Campground at Carver Park Reserve. Fifty-seven rustic campsites are available, with a beach, amid a park-like setting. As a bonus, Lake Auburn has a great largemouth bass population. (For this and other metro-area parks, check out www.threeriversparks.org.)

In southeast Minnesota, Whitewater, Forestville/Mystery Cave and Beaver Creek Valley are favorite state parks. Trout fishing can be great at each. This summer, I hope to camp at Winona-area Great River Bluffs State Park, a river-top gem that has 31 RV sites, five bike-in camping sites and two group camps.

And don’t forget these southwest and western Minnesota state parks: Blue Mounds (73 sites, including 40 electric; bring your own water — phone 507-283-1307 for details), Lac qui Parle and Big Stone. Other favorites elsewhere in the state: Father Hennepin on Mille Lacs, Jay Cooke just south of Duluth, any of the parks along the North Shore, and Bear Head Lake near Ely.

• • •

Fishingwise, here’s my dream summer:

Muskies: June through mid-July — the lower St. Croix, Minnetonka, Waconia. Mid-July through Sept. 1 — Vermilion, Lake of the Woods. Mid-July through freeze-up — Lake of the Woods, the Lower and Upper St. Croix, Chippewa and Namekagon (Wisconsin) rivers.

Trout: South Branch of the Root in Fillmore County in early June, Wisconsin Brule (for the Hex hatch) in late June, any of the trout lakes along the Gunflint Trail for the Hex hatch in late June and early July, Lake of the Woods, Lac la Croix and Saganaga for lake trout.

Smallmouth bass: Mille Lacs all summer, beginning now; the Upper and Lower St. Croix; the Mississippi River along Crow Wing State Park south of Brainerd; the Mississippi River near Royalton; the Mississippi between Monticello and Elk River. Rainy Lake beginning later in June. Ditto Lake of the Woods.

Largemouth bass: Minnetonka, the Mississippi River above Brainerd, the Whitefish Chain, Gull, Leech (especially).

Walleyes: Lower St. Croix (now), Upper Red, Winnie, Leech, Mille Lacs, Whitefish, Lac la Croix, Saganaga, Basswood.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close