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Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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I'll be going out to visit family this summer (early august) to Grand Rapids, MN. I've been there a bunch of times and there is water everywhere! The Mississippi runs right through town and the headwaters start just north of there in the same county. When I was younger I took a fly rod and tried to fish with it from a paddle boat and had no luck. Just got a lot of funny looks and people wondering what I was doing! I am under the impression that fly fishing is almost non-existent in this part of the country...maybe I'm wrong. In other years we've gone walleye fishing with casting rods and leaches, spinners, trolled behind boats etc... I'd really like to try some fly fishing there this summer. Walleye, Pike, Bass, Muskies are big fishing in this area but I never hear much about trout. I figure I could catch some bass on poppers most likely. What I'd love more than anything is to fish on the Mississippi, even if I dont catch anything, just to say I did it. If anyone has some info, links, or suggestions about the area, I'd appreciate it! thanks.

Posted on: 2012/4/26 14:37


Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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You'll be in Musky nirvana out there, that's what I'd target. Check out this article and browse the Warmwater section of PAFlyFish, we have some Musky chasers here...

http://midcurrent.com/techniques/fly-fishing-for-muskie/

Posted on: 2012/4/26 15:21
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Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?
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There are more fly fishing opportunities in northern MN than one could probably hit in a lifetime....and that's without even getting to the Boundary Waters.
There are many trout streams and trout lakes but, if it were me, I'd focus on mid sized rivers for smallies and muskies. I've not fished the actual upper Miss River but it is definitely a hotspot for bass. I would think the upper MS would be wadeable - you could definitely float it with a guide. You can fish all the way down thru the Twin Cities. If you do get out there, let us know how you made out.
Bring bug repellant for summer.

Posted on: 2012/4/26 15:22


Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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There is an INSANE Hex hatch on the upper miss... check around for exact dates

I spent a few years of summers up there (early May-end of Aug) ... everyday (literaly) on the water...but a little more north- international fall MN/ up into ontario and Manitoba

Bass- they are big an undertargeted

pike/musky- a small/med fish up there is a large PA fish

Every little lake will fish... find a cove or shallow weeds and throw some big streamers


Posted on: 2012/4/26 15:48


Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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I've been to MN several tmes and when you ask about trout streams and water you get a look king of like, what's that? Really what they fish for are walleyes, and bass, bth LM and SM. The Upper Mississippi R. is great for smallies. Just about anywhere from St. Cloud up. The river is swift so be care if you wade.
As for trout fishing I have been to the headwaters of the MS. River, but I've been along the north shore of Superior, which is something to see if you've never been there. That area has some good trout streams. About the best I can tell you is find a fly shop or 2 or go to a Gander Mt. Store and talk to the Fly fishing guys. They will put you on water.

Posted on: 2012/4/26 17:32
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Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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I plan to be up that way early July. Looks like I'll need a few days to explore.

Posted on: 2012/4/26 17:33
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Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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Dear bigslackwater,

Northern MN has some trout streams and ponds but the overall geological features of the area aren't very trout friendly. The main attractions in the region are pike, musky, and other cool/warmwater fishes.

I spent a vacation in Grand Rapids several years ago with my two brothers. The fishing in Grand Rapids proper can be quite good.

Pike from 20 to 30 inches are as common as sunfish in the Mississippi. There are larger ones, but we hadn't set out for them, so we wound up losing the larger ones we hooked.

There is a pond on the north side of town that is loaded with good sized perch and bluegills, it's right on the main drag on your left as you head north.

Lake Pokegama is an excellent fishery for bass and panfish but a boat is a huge help so that you can locate a weed bed and work it.

We spent much of our time float tubing in the various ponds around Grand Rapids. We didn't catch any huge fish but we had excellent action and caught a lot of quality fish.

If you have access to a vehicle you might be able to rent a canoe or kayak locally and car-top it around. Most of the ponds we fished in late September were deserted except for my brothers and I.

You could never get bored checking out places to fish out there, not in a million years.

Just bring bug spray, mosquitoes are unbearable at times and prolonged wet weather brings copious amounts of biting flies and gnats into the mix too.

Regards,

Tim Murphy


Posted on: 2012/4/27 20:33
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Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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Thanks! Tim, it sounds like you know the town well. I've been going there since I was a kid and it's where my grandparents and Mom's half of the family are from. We will be staying on Little Jay Gould lake, which has access to Pokegma and the river. They have boats and canoes so we will have a lot of possibilities. This muskie fly fishing sounds intriguing!

Posted on: 2012/4/29 21:52


Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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Dear bigslackwater,

You're welcome.

I've only ever been up there twice but my sister in law is from Grand Rapids and grew up in a house on Pokegama.

When we vacationed up there my brother had a booklet or some sort of publication from the Minnesota DNR that listed lakes and ponds by county along with the fish present in them. The descriptions and directions provided proved to be pretty accurate. There really are 10000 lakes to check out!

My brother hooked a huge pike in the Mississippi just below the dam at the paper mill in town, but he wasn't prepared with a steel leader and the fish bit through the leader.

We didn't catch any smallmouth but we know they are in there. The river was a little bit high when we visited so wading was really limited. Chartreuse flies and lures like Rapala's worked well for pike in the higher water though.

There used to be a bar on the SW side of the main intersection in Grand Rapids. They made stuffed double decker pizzas. You definitely need to try one if it is still there!

Regards,

Tim Murphy


Posted on: 2012/4/30 6:46
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Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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We are leaving tomorrow for our trip! My gear is already out there since I mailed a package early. Will report what we catch! Thanks again!

Posted on: 2012/8/1 15:52


Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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We got back from our trip last week. What a great time! I didn't get in as much fishing as I wanted to because we had a lot of family events. I fished off our dock almost every day. You could catch rock bass, blue gills and sunfish all day long. For the most part I had fun but it was frustrating losing the big fish. Next time I will come prepared with a heavier rod and some stronger leaders. I was fishing with 3x leader and tippet the whole time and lost at least 3 monster fish. I believe they were large mouth bass. I saw one monster bass up close, but the other two big hits were a mystery...could have been pike or muskies...who knows. The lake I fished was extreemly weedy. When I would hook a large bass, the fish would take a dive in to the weeds and bury itself. Once I was trying to pry a fish free, right beside the dock, and I could see that I was pulling the fish plus a 2-3 foot ball of weeds up out of the water, eventually the hook would come loose or I'd break off...this happened three times. I fished from boat some and some by paddle boat...the paddle boat actually works really well for fly fishing. You are down low but you can be on the move while casting which is pretty cool. I've attached a few pics. The river is the Mississippi. We only fished it for an hour or two...saw lots of carp but didn't catch anything. The picture of the little girl is my daughter and that was her first fish. She was so proud!! It was one of those moments we'll never forget!

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Posted on: 2012/8/20 12:59


Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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Great trip.

Posted on: 2012/8/20 21:06
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Re: Fly fishing in Northern Minnesota?

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Dear bigslackwater,

Glad to hear you had a great time. I'd like to get back up there but your pictures will have to be a substitute for awhile.

Your daughter looks happy, I hope she got a chance to catch some some of those chunky Pokegama rock bass you are holding up.

Regards,

Tim Murphy

Posted on: 2012/8/20 21:36
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"Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel, and they tortured the timber and stripped all the land. Well they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken, then they wrote it all down as the progress of man."






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