Cass Lake Area Activities

The Fishing Experience of a Lifetime
The Fishing Experience of a Lifetime In the Cass Lake area, there is one thing we do all year around, and that is fishing! In centuries past, it may have been even a matter of life or death, whether or not a meal was speared, netted, or caught on a bone carved hook. As the first settlers arrived, it was a necessity of their diet, along with the animals and birds they harvested.

Nowadays we fish more for pleasure, but many here still depend on a timely meal of fish, either caught or given to them, as a way to supplement their diet, and keep them healthy.

For generations, people from around the United States have been coming to the Cass Lake area of Minnesota, for some of the best and diverse fishing of our nation, and the world. Resorts started up around here at the beginning of the last century, and the legacy was born. Small resorts sprang up all over our area, and with a recipe of simple wooden cabins, great eating fish just minutes from there dock, and a surrounding of some of the most majestic forests in the
America’s, Cass Lake’s rich history of a great fishing destination was born.

Now for many generations, people have come back year after year for the beautiful springs, summers, fall, and even the cold winter months, to relive those life-long traditions that are famous for Northwood’s of Minnesota. As many of the lakes in our nation have been depleted of the once bountiful fish that were there, here we still have a very strong fishery, and most lakes have natural reproduction rates that are the envy of many states in the U.S. With good management practices by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, our local tribal governments, and fishing regulations that are based more on lake-by-lake management; we are succeeding in keeping our name at the top of the list of great fishing.

Catch and release, slot limits, and experimental regulations have helped build, and sustain a large variety of species in the Cass Lake area, and it’s this writers belief that we still have nearly the same fishing opportunities that our grandparents had here a couple of generations ago. In fact, with smart stocking programs, better fishing ethics, and a whole new world of electronics that make it easier for us to find and stay on the fish, we are holding our own, and maybe even improving the fishing experience for all.

Many locals and visitors alike share their stories about starting their fishing lives here in Cass Lake area. Maybe they were kids and came with their parents or grandparents to our area for the first time, those memories have lasted a lifetime. Now they bring their own children and maybe grandchildren to the same resort to rekindle life’s cherished moments.

Local, state, and national tournaments are held each year in our area, and it speaks well for our fishery here. The most famous anglers in the U.S. come here to hone there skills, enjoy our unforgettable scenery, and compete with their peers for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes. However, to the many who live, work, and call Cass Lake area our home, we are the most proud to pass on the rich tradition of fishing. Like the old saying, you can feed a meal of fish and satisfy someone for a day, but teach them to fish, and you have given them the gift that lasts a lifetime. Our grandparents had it right.

Good luck fishing, and please share that experience with a child.

Cass Lake Chamber of Commerce July Summer Fest and Winter Fishing Challenge

Every July over 4000 people come to Cass Lake for the Summer Fesst Event.  Activities include entertainment sponsored by KOJB radio, a street dance sponsored by the Palace Casino & Hotel, the coronation of Miss Cass Lake, a parade, activities for the kids, and of course great food.  There is something for everyone. Summer Fest runs Thursday through Saturday.  Go to www.casslakeevents.com to get current information.

Each winter hundreds of brave ice anglers converge on the Southwest corner of Cass Lake for the Annual Cass Lake Chamber of Commerce & Palace Casino Hotel Winter Fishing Challenge. This has become a tradition that is definitely not for the weak. Sometimes braving wind chills of 50 degrees below zero, this tournament is certainly a challenge. The Cass Lake Chamber of Commerce & Palace Casino Hotel Winter Fishing Challenge has found a way to help with the cold weather that characteristically encompasses northern Minnesota in the winter. By allowing portable fish houses to be used, the tournament has become more attractive to those individuals that are not very keen about braving those awful wind chills. For those that accept the challenge there are large prizes given out and raffle prizes for the ones who buy a ticket but don’t participate. Come experience true winter in northern Minnesota and win yourself a fabulous prize in the process. For more information call 800-356-8615.

For the latest information on all Chamber events go to www.casslakeevents.com

Moondance Events - Walker, MN
If you are looking for the premier concert events for the area, look no further than just southeast of Walker, MN.  Moondance Events (7050 39th Ave NW, Walker, MN) hosts Moondancr Jammin Country Fest in June, Dueling Piano's in July, Moondance Jam in July, and Harvest Moon in October. Events feature open seating, camping, well kept facilities, indoor saloon as well as food vendors, and a clean, safe environment.  Check out the line-up for the events and other information at www.moondancejam.com
Biking
Biking on the Chippewa National Forest has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Ten years ago, mountain bikes were the only option to travel a limited number of bike trails. Today, 41 miles of paved bike trails line the west side of the forest and mountain bikers can travel over 43 miles of unpaved trails on the east side between Deer River and Marcell. Bike rentals available at Leech Lake Diabetes Fitness Center.
Migizi Trail (Cass Lake)
This beautiful trail is named for the bald eagle, migizi in Ojibwe language. Dedicated in 2003, the Migizi Trail circles Pike Bay on a 19-mile paved loop through the big red pines of the original Ten Section of the Chippewa National Forest.

There are four access points along the trail route: Forest Supervisor’s Office in Cass Lake, across from Cass Lake Wayside Rest on Highway 2; Norway Beach Recreation Area off Highway 2; South Pike Bay Picnic Area on the Pike Bay Loop road.

Golfing
For all you golfers, we have a variety courses, from amateur to professional, Sandtrap Golf Course and Greenwood Golf Course are sure to suit your needs.

Hiking
There is no better way to see the Chippewa National Forest than on a trail. Hike and view wildflowers, bike along a tranquil wetland, hunt grouse on a hunter/walking trail, or ski through winter woods. The Chippewa National Forest offers over 298 miles of non-motorized trails and 315 miles of motorized trails. All National Forest System lands are open to camping. A number of primitive campsites ar located along the trail routes. Please pack out all garbage.

Canoeing
Travel the route of the Anishinabe Indians and the early explorers. The Chippewa National Forest offers several canoe routes, ranging from the mighty Mississippi and the unpredictable Leech Lake to the slow-moving Rice River and other small creeks.
Chippewa Triathlon
If you are an athlete looking for a challenge, we have one waiting for you in Cass Lake. The Chippewa Triathlon has been around for fourteen years and has a faithful following among the participants. This triathlon consists of 14 mile canoeing, 29 mile mountain biking and a seven mile trail run. This event is not to be taken lightly; the canoeing leg features six portages and some unclear routes that often confuse the paddlers. The mountain bike route follows forest roads within the Chippewa National Forest and eventually connects with the Mi-Gi-Zi Trail to bring you to the next transition. Most of the seven-mile run is on unpaved surfaces and ends at the Norway Beach Picnic Area. This event is enjoyable for spectators and participants alike, and if it seems intimidating, you can enter with a partner or as a team up to eight people. There is an option for everyone. Please visit www.chippewatriathlon.com for more information.
-Jack Gustafson

Snowmobiling
Under a blanket of snow, the Chippewa National Forest becomes a land of unexplored adventures. Over 315 miles of motorized trails provide access for snowmobilers to 1,300 lakes, scenic woodlands, and frozen wetlands. Trails connect to nearly 200 miles of routes beyond the Forest. The Soo Line trail, an old railroad grade extending from Cass Lake to Moose Lake, is the longest motorized recreation trail in Minnesota. Snowmobilers may also travel on unplowed National Forest roads unless posted closed to recreational motor vehicle use. Cross-country travel off of Forest roads is prohibited. Snowmobiles must be operated in compliance with State and Federal laws and regulations.

A Chippewa National Forest map is helpful to identify designated Forest roads and trails. Maps for specific snowmobile trails are available from county offices, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and National Forest offices.

Four Wheeling/ATV
If trail riding on ATV’s is your idea of a good time, then Cass Lake should be your destination. Cass Lake is home to the trailhead of the Soo Line North ATV Trail. The 148 mile trail is made up of three sections. Starting in Cass Lake, it travels east - southeast to Shovel Lake; from Shovel Lake to Lawler: from Lawler to Moose Lake where it connects to the Soo Line South ATV Trail. This trail is built on the old Soo Line Rail Road bed so it is relatively straight and flat which makes it perfect for novice riders and youngsters. You will ride through portions of Hill River State Forest, Bowstring State Forest, and Chippewa National Forest so your odds are excellent to see northern Minnesota’s wildlife. The Trail is open to Class 2 ATV’s from April 1 to November 30 with camping, lodging, and food available in the various towns along the trail. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available at the Chippewa National Forest Service Office and the Minnesota Welcome Center of the Cass Lake Area.
Hunting in Cass Lake Area
Our area people are very fortunate to live and work where they do. Many area sportsmen’s, travel and hunt in many states, but some of the best all around hunting is right here in the Cass Lake area. Sure we do not have the elk, but you also do not need a guide or invest a ton of money to head out in the woods to hunt. We is home to the Chippewa National Forest, which has over 400,000 acres, and is open to the public for hunting. The land is easily accessed and offers great hunting for everyone, whether you are a new hunter or have been hunting for years.

Deer Hunting
The deer in our area have good genetics and grow big horns and mass. Whether you bow, rifle, or muzzle loader hunt, we have a lot to offer. With such vast area to hunt, you can find what you are looking for, with opportunities to drive close to your hunting area, walk on the gated trails, or get deep in the swamps.

Bear Hunting
The area has some of the best bear hunting in all of Minnesota, with bear over seven feet in length, your heart will be pounding. In the Chippewa National Forest you can go on a guide trip or out on your own. Bear hunting is a one of a kind thrill of a lifetime.

Varmint Hunting & Trapping
The area is known for its varmint hunting and trapping, with rabbits, squirrels, fox, beaver, mink, and muskrats just to name a few. There is also berry and mushroom hunting.

Grouse Hunting
Let the fun begin with grouse opener in early fall, when the weather is perfect for enjoying the outdoors. This is also prime time while your out grouse hunting to look for deer hunting spots. A good clover covered trail is best to find grouse. The area has two kinds of grouse; spruces which are bluer in color and the meat is very dark, and the ruffed grouse, which is the best eating and most hunted. Grouse hunting is known to test the skills of the best shooters.

End of the Day
When you are finished hunting for the day, we have many greatresorts and campgrounds, listed on the resort grid where you can stay and start a nice campfire or go out and catch some Walleyes for dinner. This is a great place to enjoy the time away with families and
good friends; or go to the Palace Casino and have a great dinner and try your hand at a round of blackjack. Downtown Meats of Bemidji can handle all your processing needs. Cass Lake area has something to offer to all kinds of people from all occupations, who want to get out and discover nature and maybe in doing so will discover something inside them too. Hope to see you in the woods and please do not forget to take kids with you!

Cross Country and Downhill Skiing
Whether you are interested in cross country skiing through miles of trails in the Chippewa National Forest or over 160 km of trails just to the west of Cass Lake, you’ll find ski maps and trail information on them all at the Tourist Information Center.

Thirty minutes west of Cass Lake is the Buena Vista Ski Area, which strides the Continental Divide and offers 15 groomed downhill runs, four chair lifts, a beginners tow and comfortable three story chalet to relax by the fireplace. Equipment rental is available.

Eagles
The Chippewa National Forest is home to the largest breeding population of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. It is not uncommon to see several eagles on a daily basis.
Special birding events are offered at this time. Did you know the Bald Eagle does not get its white head feathers until its 4th year? For additional information and free literature about the Bald Eagle call the Chippewa National Forest USDA Forest Service at 218-335-8600 or visit their website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/chippewa/.

Birding
The Cass Lake area and Chippewa National Forest are home to 243 species of birds, as well as home to the largest breeding population of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. In addition to the abundant bird watching opportunities, special guided tours can be arranged through the Tourist Information Center for enthusiasts interested in checking off rare species on their life lists. Spring is one of the best times to see many birds in the Cass Lake area and fall brings a huge population of migratory birds to the area.
Walker Area
Walker is a 20-minute drive from Cass Lake. The City of Walker sits on the shores of Leech Lake and is bustling with activity from spring through October. Its many unique gift and food shops offer something for everyone. Walker is also the host to the annual Eel Pout Festival every February, which draws visitors from all over the world to catch this “fresh water cod” that has been duped both ugly and tasty. Both are correct! Walker is also home to Minnesota’s Fishing Hall of Fame, as well as the annual Moondance Jam, Moondance Country Fest, and Harvest Moon Music Festivals which draws music lovers from all over the upper midwest every year.

Bemidji Area
Bemidji is a short 15-minute drive from Cass Lake and is the first city on the Mississippi River. Lake Bemidji State Park sits on Lake Bemidji’s northern shore and is one of the most beautiful state parks in Minnesota. Bemidji State University sits on Lake Bemidji’s western shore and the 5,000 students who attend BSU annually will attest to the lake’s beauty as well as its fishing variety. The famous 18-foot tall statues of Paul and Babe the Blue Ox on Lake Bemidji’s southwest shore serve as reminders of the area’s logging history

Bemidji has an active arts community and the annual “Art in the Park” is one of Bemidji’s most well attended events, showcasing the art and craft work of area artists. Bemidji compliments the Cass Lake area with metro-style amenities in a north woods setting and features an airport with daily flights connecting to the Twin Cities Metro Area.

Webster Lake Bog Walk
Travel the boardwalk, located near Webster Lake, to see and learn about carnivorous bog plants such as Pitcher Plant and Sundew!

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