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People who want to hear the spine-tingling bugle of an elk often think they have to travel west to do so. But the reality is they can have that experience in Minnesota. Kittson and Marshall counties in northwest Minnesota are home to three herds of elk.
Fishermen know muskies as the “fish of 10,000 casts,” but it’s unclear whether the person who coined that moniker ever fished in Minnesota. Muskie-fishing opportunities abound all across the state, where 99 lakes have fishable populations of the species that can measure more than 50 inches long and weigh more than 50 pounds.
Every fall, hundreds of thousands of hunters clad in blaze orange spread out from the agricultural fields of southern Minnesota to the deep forests of northern Minnesota—and everywhere in between—in search of white-tailed deer. For many people, hunting deer during the firearms season is just as much about renewing friendships and a connection with nature as it is about pulling the trigger. But whatever the reason people choose to hunt deer, opportunities to target whitetails abound in Minnesota.
If ever a sport epitomized the saying, “Life is about the journey, not the destination,” it would have to be snowmobiling. While some people certainly hit the trail intending only to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible, when many others squeeze the throttle their only plans are to feel their sled sail over the snow, breathe in crisp, clean air, and take in the majesty of a winter’s day.
There’s something magical about sliding down a hill on a sled or tube. Perhaps it’s the exhilarating feeling of sitting just above the ground and sailing down a snow-covered slope. Or maybe it’s the nostalgia adults experience as they give their kids a push or watch them trek up a hill, sled in tow. While Minnesota’s landscape is different from north to south and east to west, opportunities to ride sleds and tubes down snowy hills can be found in all regions of the state.
Walleye may be Minnesota’s state fish, but it’s hard to find a fisherman who would complain about having a largemouth or smallmouth bass hit their bait or lure. Both species tend to be willing biters and put up a valiant, tackle-testing fight. And thanks to the fact that bass are found in lakes throughout the state, more and more anglers are able to experience the fantastic fishing opportunities Minnesota provides.
The end of the fishing season for many Minnesotans coincides with the long Labor Day weekend. They take out the docks, put their boats into storage, and stow away their rods and reels until the following spring. But for those looking to catch some of the biggest fish Minnesota has to offer, fall fishing is second to none.
For many anglers, the sight of an olive and gold-colored fish with an unmistakable white tip on its tail—the beloved walleye—emerging from the depths of a lake is enough to send their hearts aflutter. Walleyes don’t grow as large as muskies and northern pike, and it’s often easier to fill the boat with bluegills or crappies, but Minnesota’s state fish is number one in the minds of many who appreciate the challenge of catching them and the deliciousness of their firm, white meat.
From berries to mushrooms to wild rice, Minnesota offers an abundance of natural foods for people to harvest and eat. In recent years, foraging has become an increasingly popular pastime, allowing people to be outside with a goal in mind during the spring, summer and fall.
The equivalent of a modern-day treasure hunt, geocaching takes people to places they otherwise may never have gone.
If you consider camping only a spring-to-fall affair, think again. For outdoor enthusiasts—of which there are many in Minnesota—the urge to camp during the year’s coldest season burns just as hot as it does the rest of the year.
Ice fishing has a devoted following in Minnesota, where towns of fish houses pop up each winter across the state’s thousands of lakes. But fishing through an 8-inch hole in the ice isn’t the only way to hook a trophy. For anglers seeking a little more variety in their winter-fishing program, Minnesota offers a number of options for open water fishing, even when the majority of lakes in the state are frozen solid.
Spread from east to west and north to south, state parks are among Minnesota’s crown jewels. Many people use the campgrounds and hiking trails that are staples of state parks, but there are plenty of other reasons to visit them, too. Here’s a look at five specific state park attractions that should be included on any visitors’ bucket list.
Walleyes are synonymous with fishing in Minnesota, and not just because they’re the state fish. They’re challenging to catch, swim in more than 1,500 lakes, and their value as table fare is unmatched. No matter how it’s prepared, the flaky, thick and mild-tasting fish is a feast fit for royalty.
Minnesota boasts dozens of trails for all-terrain vehicle riders. Opportunities exist for riders throughout Minnesota, with the majority of trails clustered in the northern part of the state. There are trails to match every skill level, from flat and open trails that cater to beginners, to narrow, winding trails that will challenge even the most experienced riders.
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