Traveler - Winter Fishing Fun!

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Minnesota State Parks and Trails

February 2017




Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Deep in the heart of southeast Minnesota bluff country lies Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.  This 3,583-acre park provides natural wonders above and below ground.  The park is well-known to visitors for the naturalist-led tours of Mystery Cave.  Another favorite visitor attraction is the tour of Historic Forestville, an abandoned pioneer town site operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. Visitors also praise the horseback riding trails, scenic hiking opportunities and superb trout fishing on three blue ribbon streams.  Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park is one of only three parks in southeast Minnesota that offer year-round trout fishing. Most trout streams in the region close to fishing mid-September and don't open for winter catch each year until Jan. 1.  With impending climate change trends that include warmer winter temperatures and irregular ice patterns on Minnesota lakes, our ice fishing season may become much shorter.  To subdue the symptoms of cabin fever, winter fishing enthusiasts might try their luck on one of the beautiful trout streams of Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. 

  • Find maps, directions and other park info here.
  • See the beautiful sights of the park with this snapshot tour.



The List - Parks with Winter Lodging

If you decide to give winter trout fishing or ice fishing a try, consider making a weekend of it. Many state parks offer year-round camping and lodging accommodations.  You can use the Park Finder tool to search for parks with winter camping, camper cabins, yurts and other lodging options available during the cold season.

  Kids and camper cabin


Find out more about winter camping and lodging at Minnesota state parks.

Game Time - Ice Fishing

Did you know that humans have been ice fishing in Minnesota for hundreds of years?  The early Ojibwe of the region used hand-carved wooden decoys as bait and speared fish through holes chopped in the ice.  This unique winter sport has advanced greatly over the last century. Families looking for a fun winter experience can try ice fishing without needing much equipment.  You can even make your own ice fishing jiggle stick with a few simple supplies.

For some tips on ice fishing with kids, check out the Kids and Ice Fishing podcast created by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



  Kid ice fishing

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Learn more about ice fishing in Minnesota.

Discover - Naturalist Internships at Minnesota State Parks and Trails 

Each year, young adults enrolled in colleges across Minnesota participate in the Naturalist Corp internship program and gain valuable on-the-job, career-driven summer work experience in Minnesota state parks and on state trails. Naturalist Corp interns interact with parks and trails visitors of all ages and present recreational and education programs under the mentorship of a Parks and Trails naturalist.  Interns gain experience in interpretation, resource management and parks and trails operations.  Find out more about the Summer Naturalist Corps program here. Share this opportunity with young adults in your family who are interested in a natural resources career!


Family snowshoeing

February Events - Snowshoe Hikes

Ice fishing and winter trout fishing are just two of the countless activities that help us enjoy the outdoors during winter. Many state parks and trails also provide opportunities to try snowshoeing. Some parks rent snowshoes and others provide free use of snowshoes during naturalist-led snowshoe programs. Here are some upcoming programs where you can try snowshoeing! 


Find more snowshoe events.

Keep reading! For past issues of the Traveler, click here.