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Where the mighty Mississippi begins, and adventure never ends...

Chamber Blog

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Park Rapids Area Fishing Report, February 21, 2015

Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store
Saturday, February 21, 2015

With Walleye, Northern, and Bass winding down to a halt for the next couple of months, anglers are hitting the lakes harder than ever looking for that one special Northern or Walleye before the season comes to a quit.

The majority of the Park Rapids winter is behind us and spring is just around the corner. The mature walleyes will now migrate toward shallow waters looking to pack on the pounds before the spawn. Find 12-18 feet of water along tall standing weeds. Aggressive jigging will be the ticket to snagging a trophy walleye! Rig up a Northland or VMC UV Buckshot tipped with the head of a minnow for the best results!

The monster pike will be following, if not leading the walleyes to the shallows for the abundance of the smaller baitfish that are essential for the spawn. Locate 8 to 20 feet of water around any structural patterns such as rock piles or submergent vegetation. Dig out your tip-ups and make sure to pick up a dozen bigger sized sucker minnows or golden shiners along with a pack of Northland™ “Easy Set” or “Kahle” glow hooks for your chance to hook a massive northern pike.

Sunfish and crappies will now congregate in the shallow water. As the shallows fill with pre-spawn predators; sunfish and crappies are going to be scooting towards the standing weeds and structures looking for a place to hide. Maximize your chances of hosting a fish fry by dead sticking or jigging with a small crappie minnow affixed to a VMC™ “Tungsten Tubby.” Stop by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store to see the all new 8x24’ Ice Castle “Northern Exposure” and get the latest and greatest fishing tips and tricks for the Park Rapids area!!

-Josh Severtson
Smokey Hills Outdoor Store
Austin Stenvold pictured with a nice Walleye caught in his 2015 Ice Castle fish house.
Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Nine Year Old Wins Ice Castle House at the Park Rapids American Legion Fishing Derby, February 7, 2015



Nine year old, Lee Perrington is a "lifelong" fisherman from the Deer River area. He spends countless hours fishing in the hot, cold, winter, spring, summer and fall. All of these days of fishing paid off on Feb. 7th at the Park Rapids American Legion Ice Fishing Derby when he was able to land a 1.78 pound northern pike. This fish put him in the perfect position to win a prize, as the day went on, things were looking better and better and it was announced that he, in fact, was the winner of the 2015 Ice Castle Fish House sponsored by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store. Lee and his ten year old brother were so very excited to out-fish the masses. Their father Jake Perrington set the bar high five years ago, at the very same tournament, when he won a brand new ATV. It's looking like this won't be the last we see of this fishing family, stay tuned...


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Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing Report

Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store 2/13/15

The cold and wind is back and biting the faces of Ice Castle-less fishermen in the northern half of the state. If you do have a means to fish out of the elements; the fish are biting! Find the very tasty black crappies in 15 to 20 feet of water with the action picking up around 5pm. The same is true for the coveted walleye, peak catching time is from 5 to 7:30pm and deeper water has been producing a higher rate of catch. A Gamakatsu™ #6 pink colored hook paired with a weight and rainbow minnow will put the ‘eyes top side. Northland’s™ “Buckshot Rattle Spoon” tipped with a minnow head will also entice them to open their toothy jaws. The area northern pike are reaching their peak weights for the year as they fill up with eggs for the spring spawn. Now is a great time to catch a picture-worthy pike. Find a weed bed over ten feet of water, drop down a 6-8 inch long sucker minnow and wait for the action to commence. Check out www.SmokeyHills.com for pricing, photos and info on our latest Ice Castle inventory. Stop by the store and chat with our friendly staff for the latest tips, tricks and area fishing hot spots. See you soon!



Smokey Hills Outdoor Store General Manager
Hendri Ernst pictured with his recent area crappie catch.
Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store



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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing Report


Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store - 1/30/2015

Fishermen are putting on extra layers of clothing as the temperatures are falling like a brick. The cold front will trigger the area walleyes to start feeding again as we enter the month of February. Set up shop on frozen water as shallow as 6 feet next to the pencil reeds. Make use of your alarm clock and clear your holes by 6am, the bite is early and fast. Glow in the dark Northland™ “Buck-Shot Rattle Spoons” tipped with a locally trapped Smokey Hills Outdoor Store rainbow minnow is the hot bait in the cold water. Catch the crappies on steep drop offs in 20 to 40 feet of water after dark with tungsten jigs tipped with a wax worm. The American Legion Fishing Contest is on Fish Hook Lake on Feb.7th, try your luck at winning a 2015 Ice Castle Fish House! Stop by the store to see our newest Ice Castle inventory and get the most up to date fishing secrets!

Picture courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store:
 Austin Stenvold filled his bucket full of fillets in his new 2015 Ice Castle


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Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2015 - Heartwarming days ahead


With Valentine’s Day and a three-day weekend on February’s calendar, a winter getaway to our beautiful north woods may be the way to win your Valentine’s heart for the first time or all over again.

The Polar Vortex is last year’s news. The days grow longer and the quiet, frozen lakes invite wildlife viewing. Eagles and trumpeter swans, wild turkeys and white-tailed deer are the easiest to find on a short drive, but other species from muskrats to pileated woodpeckers can be seen.

Consider cozying up in a fish house. The ice is thick on local lakes but to be on the safe side you can ask a local bait dealer for a recommendation on where the fish are biting and how to find them. Then warm up by a fireplace or poolside.

If you time your stay, you can sample one of the following fun winter events:

It’s not too late to head north for the 17th Annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest on Fish Hook Lake from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, February 7. The contest offers more than $110,000 in prizes and an afternoon of family fun on the ice. Other weekend activities include a welcome dance Friday night, breakfast and lunch Saturday, awards presentation, Fisherman’s Ball Saturday night and Sunday morning breakfast, all at the American Legion. Tickets for the fishing contest at $40 each are available at the American Legion or call toll free (800) 247-0054. For more information, go to http://www.parkrapidsamericanlegion.com/fishingderby.html.

If it snows this month, you can enjoy Itascatur’s beautiful Soaring Eagle ski trails at Sunday open houses and have a cup of hot chocolate in the warming house. Check for conditions and events at http://itascatur.org/soaring_eagle_open_house.shtml.

Learn more about the history of early horse logging, an industry common to this area in the late 1800s, at an old-time logging demonstration Saturday, February 14 at Itasca State Park. Watch lumberjacks fell trees with a 2-man cross-cut saw, buck the log into sections, skid the logs with the teamster’s trained horses, and cross-haul logs onto a horse drawn sled. Members of the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers will be on hand to demonstrate these early logging methods from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center. Dress according to the weather. Program is held outside in the woods. Please be prepared with warm hats, gloves, snow pants and snow boots. Be prepared to walk/stand in deep snow. In case of poor weather, the event will be cancelled.

Or enjoy a winter evening on snowshoes as the light of lanterns guides your way along the Schoolcraft Trail in Itasca State Park between 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, February 21. Meet at the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center and snowshoe at your own pace during this drop-in program. For added fun, bring along your s'mores fixings or hot dogs for cooking at the campfire. Limited snowshoes are available on a first come-first served basis. Dress according to the weather.

If you need help planning a memorable and affordable visit, need more information about these and other winter activities or if you have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more. And be sure to check out the 2015 Chamber Guide to find out how to catch a memory all year long.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

January 2015 - Resolve to celebrate winter


The new year begins as a disappointment to snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, but there’s snow in the forecast. Fingers crossed.

The ice on area lakes is thick after a string of overnight temperatures well below zero. Some ice houses have been out for weeks. Bait shop owners can tell you where the best spots are to snag a fresh catch.
Once the white stuff arrives, snowmobilers will find hundreds of miles of groomed trails through scenic forests and networked between destinations where there are places to pause for a meal and warm up. Cross-country skiers also can look forward to hit the trails at Soaring Eagle north of Park Rapids, in Itasca State Park and through the Shingobee Recreation Area between Akeley and Walker.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updates snow and trail conditions in weekly reports posted after 2 p.m. every Thursday at www.dnr.state.mn.us/snow_depth/index.html.

Our winter lodging facilities are open no matter what Mother Nature brings. Warm up by the fire or in the pool, hot tub or sauna and enjoy the area’s fine dining, fun shops and more to do.

If you time your stay, you can sample one of the following fun winter activities:

Lantern lit skiing/snowshoeing events and naturalist programs are on the winter calendar at Itasca State Park. For details about winter activities in the park, call 218-699-7251 or go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/itasca/calendar.html.

Menahga’s Family Fishing Day on Spirit Lake offers an afternoon of fishing fun Saturday, Jan. 17. There are games and attendance prizes, too. A $5 ticket will win a lucky angler a fish house provided by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store.

Register for the Heartland 106 Snowmobile Race (USXC Snowmobile Racing) or plan to watch this exciting event. Racers will sweep through forests and lakes and experience the natural beauty of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Saturday, Jan. 31 and Sunday, Feb. 1. Saturday’s race will be a 25-mile ditch and lake course. Sunday’s race will be a one-lap,100-mile woods race. Races start at 9 a.m. both days on Highway 34 at the east edge of Park Rapids. There are 21 classes of racing from junior to pro, open and vintage. Racers must be pre-registered online at usxcracing.com by 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29 or onsite at the North Ambulance Garage, just east of the Super 8 in Park Rapids between 5 and 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30. This is a spectator sport; see the fastest show on snow.

Tickets are on sale for the 17th Annual Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest on Fish Hook Lake from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7. The contest offers more than $110,000 in prizes. Grand prizes in this year's raffle are a 2015 Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup truck truck and an Ice Castle fish house. Other raffle prizes, including $1,000 cash prizes, will be awarded. Polaris ATVs top the list of prizes in four of the five fishing contest divisions: bluegill & crappie; northern, walleye & largemouth bass; perch; rock bass and white fish. The awards presentation starts at 5 p.m. at the American Legion. In conjunction with the fishing contest, the American Legion also sponsors a Friday night welcome dance and Saturday night Fisherman’s Ball. Tickets for the fishing contest at $40 each are available at the American Legion or call 218-732-3360. For more information, go to www.parkrapidsamericanlegion.com.

The Chamber Website provides information about trail riding and cross-country skiing possibilities as well as available lodging, dining and other things to see and do while you’re here. If you’ve resolved to celebrate winter and need help planning a memorable and affordable visit or if you have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more.

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Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing Report & Tournament Guide

Park Rapids Area Fishing Report and Tournament Guide
Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store
1/23/2015

Winter has given us a break this year by holding back the snow and frigid temperatures making movement on the ice easy. Watch for the various ice heaves splitting the area lakes as they have swallowed a few vehicles, especially on Leech Lake. Walleyes have been more tightly lipped in recent days but the successful anglers have headed slightly deeper; catching fish in up to 30 feet of water. Early morning using yellow or green KenKatch™ glow in the dark “Slim Slams” or a plain green Northland™ hook tipped with a rainbow minnow are the best set ups to put fillets in the deep fryer. It’s been an above average year in the way of monster pike and musky being caught locally. Drop a sucker minnow down 6 feet over 15 to 30 feet of water for the best chance of catching a wall hanger. They are snacking ferociously on tulibees that often live just below the surface of the ice over deep water. Crappies have been hitting the heavy weight tungsten “Toad” jig by Lindy™ when tipped with a wax worm. We are one of the largest Ice Castle dealers worldwide and our selection changes daily. Stop by the store for the most up to date fishing tips, tricks and hotspots. We hope to see you very soon!

Sarah Hanisch pictured with a recently landed and released 52” musky!
Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store. 
           

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