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

Chamber Blog

Thursday, October 30, 2014

November 2014 - Traditions take center stage



It’s the season in between the most beautiful fall in recent memory and the time when snow will transform the landscape into a winter wonderland.

The days just ahead are filled with preparations for the firearms deer hunting opener. Hunters site in their rifles, air their blaze orange gear and check out the weather forecast. Nowadays, many women hunt, too, but traditional “hunting widows” look for craft shows to do some early Christmas shopping or to something new to decorate a shelf, the dining room table or this year’s Christmas tree.

The tradition continues with a Holiday Bazaar Nov. 7 and 8 at the Headwaters Animal Shelter, a Snowflakes & Candy Canes Holiday Show Nov. 8 and 9 at the Century School and the 18th Annual Hubbard Holiday Boutique Nov. 8 and 9 at the Hubbard Community Center. St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Park Rapids will hold their annual Fall Bazaar Nov. 22.

Starting Nov. 1, shoppers will find Jingle Bells tickets in most stores in and around Park Rapids. This year’s Jingle Bells Sweepstakes offers thousands of dollars in Chamber Bucks and prize bundles. Shoppers receive one ticket per $10 purchase up to a maximum of 10 tickets and can enter through Wednesday, Dec. 10. The Jingle Bells Drawing & Gala Celebration starts at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11 at Century School with music, food and beverages. Santa will be on hand to take those last-minute requests and merchants will be giving away door prizes, too.

Park Rapids merchants welcome early shoppers to savor the hometown-style atmosphere you will find where personal service, free gift wrapping and friendly smiles await as you fill those Christmas wish lists. Look for a Friends & Family Sale Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6.

The Park Rapids Community Band will bring in the spirit of the season at a winter concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23 at the Area High School Auditorium.

The tree lighting on Main Street the Friday after Thanksgiving offers a greeting card moment to remember with friends and family. Festivities start with a Yuletide Sampler at participating stores beginning at 5 p.m., a Live Nativity and the annual Hospice Light Up a Life Tree Lighting Ceremony. Join in singing Christmas carols, welcoming Santa and a celebration of life and memories. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Once lit, the giant tree stands as a symbol of small town cheer and good will, lighting the way to a New Year. And remember to support your local merchants on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29.

It’s always a good time to catch a memory whether it’s enjoying the outdoors, relaxing or enjoying some local culture. The Chamber Website has all the information you need to put together a memorable stay or weekend visit. If you want help or have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more.

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Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing Report - October 29, 2014

Submitted by: Smokey Hills Outdoor Store

Snow has recently filled the sky in the Park Rapids area and the decline of the overnight temperatures have forced the area lakes to follow suit. As the water continues to cool, the fish take notice and are active throughout the day. A heavy, white jig paired with a rainbow minnow is a great set up if you are after walleyes. Find them feeding in 15 to 25 feet on the various sunken islands. Pike are very active as they thrive in cold water. A Kalin’s™ ½ oz jig paired with a sucker minnow or an inline bucktail by Musky Mania™ will spark their interest. Crappie are already schooling in the deeper water up to 40ft and are unmistakable on the graph as they take up most of the water column. The largemouth bass are at their peak weight and are snacking on everything in sight on the deep running points. A Rapala DT-20 crankbait or a Z-Man swimbait will bring them top-side. For the most up to date fishing report, stop by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store. Have a free hot coffee and visit with our friendly staff and check out our impressive Ice Castle inventory. We hope to see you very soon!

Local angler and guide Ryan Marjama pictured with
 his recently landed 43" Park Rapids area pike.
(Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store)

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing Report - October 17, 2014

Submitted by the Smokey Hills Outdoor Store

Park Rapids is home to excellent fall fishing and now is the time to be on the water. As many sportsmen are busy hunting or building deer stands; the lakes are clear of traffic and you will often have the whole lake to yourself. The water temps are now in the low 50's and many species of fish are found in large schools. Walleyes are currently at widely varying depths from 8 feet to 40 feet on the hard bottom points. The tulibee will start spawning soon which will attract the large pike to the shallows to feed. Tulibee spawn on shallow reefs surrounded by very deep water. Use a double bladed bucktail or an 8 to 10" Jake™ crankbait to entice them to strike. Your electronics will help you to locate the schooling crappies. Find them in 15 to 20 feet near the waning cabbage weed stands. Stop by the store for the most up to date and lake specific tips and hotspots. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store - SHOS employee Nathan Campbell
pictured with a 36" pike recently caught north of Park Rapids.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

October 2014 - Fall into a fine time of year


After a glorious warm weekend for the Headwaters 100 Bike Ride and Art Leap, fall’s cooler temps moved in bringing thoughts of bonfires, fireplaces and hot apple cider.

Some hunters have already headed to the woods and water, paddlers relish one more morning cruise around the lake and anglers take to the water catching fish (maybe), but also the mirror image of fall colors.

For others, it’s time to hike, bike or simply gaze at the landscape and take in the comforting scent of crisp fall air. The Park Rapids Lakes Area remains a beautiful, peaceful place to head outdoors, relax or enjoy some local culture. There’s always lots to see and do.

Carters Red Wagon Farm (14766 119th Avenue) is hosting Pumpkin Parties again this fall. The Farm is open each Saturday through Nov. 1 as well as Friday, Oct. 17 (Teacher Association weekend). Experience this year’s corn maze featuring Mysteries of the World plus a hay bale maze, Hobbit-themed wagon rides, a crow shoot, giant slide, pumpkin propeller, giant pumpkin boats, “cow milking” and other activities as well as concessions, bluegrass bands and more.

The 8th Annual North Country Hiking Fest is coming up Saturday, Oct. 4 at Itasca State Park. Organized hikes will start at 11 a.m. with shuttles provided to various starting points. Then at 1:30 p.m. the Friends of Itasca state Park will host the 27th Annual Ozawindib Walk in honor of the Ojibwe guide who led Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s expedition to the Mississippi Headwaters in July 1832. Other events planned Saturday are a compass learning activity, leaf art, Voyageur re-enactment program, cookout and music.

Or head west for Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge’s Fall Festival Saturday, Oct. 4. Several organized hiking events are planned during October, a beautiful time of year to enjoy the scenery without a mosquito in sight.

Main Street businesses will hand out treats to trick or treaters from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31. Watching the stream of hundreds of colorful, costumed characters is part of the fun.

Many other activities and events to celebrate fall are on the October calendar. The Chamber Website has all the information you need to put together a memorable stay. If you want help or have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Weekly Fishing Report - October 1, 2014

Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing Report
Courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store
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The Park Rapids area fishery has been making anglers pleased as the fall trends are now in place. A minnow and jig or minnow and “Lindy Rig” have been producing results. Eight to fourteen feet of water will be the strike zone and time of day is not as important in the fall as the water temperatures hover around 60 degrees. The pike fishing has really taken off with the “big dogs” feeding in the cold, shallow waters. Find any point that is near deep water and cast a Musky Mania™ inline bucktail spinner. Let the lure sink down five or six feet before you begin your retrieve. Bass are congregating near the remaining deep weed beds and a Big Bite Baits™ “Trick Stick” will be the lure to beat. Find them feeding in six to twelve feet of water. Stop by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store for the most up to date fishing tips and tricks for your local lake. We also have Northern Minnesota’s largest selection of Ice Castle fish houses/RVs, we hope to see you soon!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Weekly Fishing Report - September 10, 2014


Park Rapids Area Fishing Report
Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, 9/10/2014

As the Park Rapids area lakes continue to cool, the fishing continues to heat up. The seven day forecast calls for overnight temps in the 30’s and 40’s. The ever-extending hours of darkness will contribute to a decline of the water temps on our area lakes. Fall is here, like it or not!

The boats of less avid anglers have already began taking up spaces in the local storage garages; while many avid walleye anglers are making sure that their fishing line is fresh for the hefty fall walleye bite. As the daylight continues to make a shorter and shorter daily appearance, the ‘eyes get more and more active knowing that winter is coming and they must store up fat reserves for the long, slow winter. The walleyes will feed where the feed is available, which is currently on the deep weed edge in 10 to 20 feet of water. A Northland™ “Glo Jig” paired with a fathead minnow and a “twister tail” will get the marble eye’d fish to snap their jaws. Keep light feet when fishing them at these shallow depths, they spook easily.

You may spend your summer trying to ward off pesky “hammer-handles” (small pike) as they are a menace snapping off your lures and causing you to practice your knot tying skills, but in the fall, the small pike go into hiding as the big dogs come home to feast. Once pike reach about five pounds, they spend their life chasing prey in cold water. During the warm water months they are found gobbling up tulibee at depths up to 50 feet; this makes them hard to locate in the vastness of the barren deep. Get out your heavy gear and head to the shallow cabbage weed stands as well as the sunken islands, rock piles and points. It’s prime time to put a giant on the wall. An 8, 10 or 12 inch Jake™ crankbait will emulate the tulibee that they can’t resist.

As the lily pads die off, the largemouth bass will congregate to areas where the pads are still green. This makes the big fish easier to find. A slow presentation such as a Northland™ “Jungle Jig” paired with a Papa’s™ 3.25” chunk should be strategically and quietly dropped in the pad openings. You may have to let the bait sit for a 3 count, but if they are there, they will usually inhale it. Bass can also be found on deep running points and the best way to hook them is with a Rapala™ DT-16 or DT-20. Use a slow retrieve for the best results!

Bluegills and crappies will still be found clinging to the remaining living submergent weed growth. As with recent fishing reports, they can still be most easily caught using a 1/16thoz or 1/8oz FluFlu™ jig tipped with a crappie minnow or wax worm. Deep growing weeds are definitely key in narrowing down the locating of nature’s tastiest of treats.

Smokey Hills Outdoor Store now has a full line of duck, goose and whatever other kind of animal call that you may need for the fall hunting season. Ask Jared, Drew or Josh about the new duck blinds and decoys. Last but definitely not least, ask Nate, Greg or Hendri to help you design your 2015 model year Ice Castle. We have Northern Minnesota’s largest selection with over 60 units on the lot. Thank you for helping us break another sales record for the month of August. We are already on pace to break the record for this month! Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you soon!!

Ryan Marjama (owner Big Fish Guide Service) & Zach Milz (pictured) recently landed this massive 53” musky
(Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store)




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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Weekly Fishing Reports - August 27, 2014


Park Rapids Area Fishing Report - 8/27/2014
Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store

Some of the leaves in the Park Rapids area have already given up on summer and have begun to change colors in preparation for fall. Overnight temperatures have recently dipped into the lower 50’s and soon the water temperatures will follow suit. The fish will be on notice and their internal clocks will tell them to feed before the brutal Minnesota winter arrives. Some of the year’s best fishing arrives on the next page of the calendar and it’s almost time to turn the page!

Most of our local lakes store their stash of large walleyes in the deep abyss for the duration of August. As the water cools, they will be dispersed along the weed edges in 8 to 20 feet of water. The majority of the “eater-size” ‘eyes are already feeding on the weed bearing shelves; look for the trophy fish to migrate to the same territory very soon. Late August/early September submergent vegetation provides excellent habitat for some of the walleye’s favorite snacks. The best time to fish these areas is early morning as the sun first peeks over the trees or in the evening as the sun is sinking below the horizon. They will use their exceptional low light vision to relieve the lake of its bluegill and crappie population during these hours. Once again, Bemidji Minnesota made KenKatch Tackle’s™ long shank jig tipped with a minnow or crawler will put the most walleye fillets in your bucket.

Now is a great time to rig up your heavy equipment and go musky hunting. Some giants have been recently landed on Mantrap Lake, Elk Lake and Twin Lake. Musky Mania’s™ “Double Trouble” bucktail inline spinner is a good lure choice. Mid-day, topwater lures such as Suick’s™ “Nitewalker” will get their attention. Scan the lake for large expanses of cabbage weed beds, this is a good location to start your hunt. The area northern pike are also worth fishing for as they are fat from a long summer of feeding. The pike is a cold water loving fish and will be found on the deep edge of the submergent vegetation. A Live Target™ 8” perch crankbait will get down to the strike zone. Make sure that you have a heavy action rod, we have some monster pike in the area.

The largemouth bass are getting close to hitting their peak weights for the year. The water has cooled a few degrees and deep diving crankbaits have been bringing more success. Rapala DT-10 to DT-20 cranks will do the trick. As with nearly every other predatory fish right now, the key is to find deep growing cabbage weed and run your crank parallel with the deep weedline. The shallower running cranks will produce results by casting over the top of the weed beds. Use a slow retrieve with an intermittent pause to make them open their wide jaws.
Bring a 1/8oz FluFlu™ jig and tip it with a wax worm to prevent your livewell from being lonely. Crappies are active in and around the coon tail weed stands. Optimal depth range is 6 to 14 feet and the latter part of day will put more in the livewell. Crappies feed heaviest the 30 minutes before dark and will continue to feed through the night if prey is readily available.

Stop by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store for lake specific hot tips and hot spots. Our shelves are stocked with the new products for the fall hunting season. Our staff is here to answer any questions that you may have about the outdoors in Minnesota. We are also one of the world’s largest Ice Castle dealers and we are taking orders for custom 2015 models. We thank you for your continued patronage and look forward to seeing you soon!

Park Rapids Area dinner pictured, all fish recently caught.
Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store

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