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

Chamber Blog

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing & Ice Report - December 9, 2014


Park Rapids Area Fishing & Ice Report
Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, 12/09/14

Winter is in full swing on the Park Rapids area lakes. Most lakes have 12 or more inches of good, solid ice. Cars and light trucks have been driving on the “hard water” in front of the Fish Hook Lake public access as there is up to 15” of ice for the first four or five hundred yards. Ice Castle Fish Houses dot the flat, icy landscape and the locals are fishing around the clock. Remember that no ice is safe ice and bring a local guide with before venturing out as many lakes have currents and springs that will keep the ice from forming. Walleye angling has been excellent from 2pm to 7pm. KenKatch Tackle Company’s™ “Boss Jig” and the all new “Slim Slam” have been producing strikes when tipped with a rainbow minnow head. Largemouth bass, northern pike and bluegill fill the Aqua-View™ TV screen during the daylight hours and the action is lively on most days. Stop by the store to get your Ice Castle Fish House accessories and the most up to date Park Rapids area fishing report. We hope to see you very soon!

Hendri Ernst pictured with his recently landed area walleye.
Photo courtesy of Smokey Hills Outdoor Store.




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Monday, December 1, 2014

December 2014, Wrap up your plans for a stay up north


The holiday season is upon us with all the extra things on our to do lists. We hope your plans include a trip to visit us. A weekend or a week here to embrace the joys of the season, experience nature and take life at a different pace may be the best gift to you and yours.

At the beginning of December, we have a blanket of snow. A little more will bring snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts the Christmas gift they want most. The lakes have enough ice that we see fish houses popping up here and there.

Music and theater add to the season’s joy. The Park Rapids Classic Chorale will present concerts Dec. 5 and 7 and the Northern Light Opera Company will stage Amahl and the Night Visitors Dec. 12, 13 and 14. Six performances of Christmas Belles, a Jones Hope Wooten comedy, are planned at Long Lake Theater, too.

Or visit the 2nd annual Sweets, Treats & Treasures event Dec. 6 with more than 100 kinds of sweets and treats including Scandinavian specialties. Visitors are always welcome to share the culture of those who live here.

The Park Rapids Downtown Business Association is sponsoring a Friends & Family Sale Dec. 5 and 6 with extended hours, some refreshments and friendly service. For those who shop here, the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Jingle Bells Sweepstakes offers thousands of dollars in prize money. Participating businesses are giving customers a ticket for each $10 spent in their stores up to 10 tickets per purchase. The lucky winners will be announced at a Gala Celebration Dec. 11 at Century School. Hundreds of people gather at this annual community evening of food, live entertainment and a visit from Santa.

All season, Park Rapids’ giant tree brightens Main Street on winter nights and stands as a symbol of small town cheer and good will, lighting the way to a New Year.

Take time in December to immerse yourself in the season’s small town charm or celebrate the arrival of a New Year. If you 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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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing Report - November 25, 2014

Park Rapids Lakes Area Fishing & Ice Report
Submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store - 11/25/2014

January-like temperatures have already provided up to 9 inches of ice on some of our area’s shallow lakes. Walleye fishing has been stellar for those willing to brave the trek out onto the “new ice”. Fish Hook Lake, Boulder Lake, Belle Taine and Eagle Lake are all producing a nice rate of catch over 8 to 12 feet of water. You will find the ‘eyes early morning and late afternoon while the pike action is thick from 9:30am to 1pm. KenKatch Tackle™ Company of Bemidji has a new, hot walleye lure called the “Slim Slam”. Tip this with a fathead or shiner minnow to induce the strikes. Remember that no ice is safe ice and bring a local guide with before venturing out as many lakes have currents and springs that will keep the ice from forming. It’s not too late to order your Ice Castle Fish House or buy a new or used Ice Castle Fish House from our lot! Stop by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store for the most up to date fishing & ice reports. We hope to see you soon!

Colby Bozovsky pictured with his recently caught Park Rapids area pike.
Photo submitted by Smokey Hills Outdoor Store

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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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