Step Outside - North Dakota WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - North Dakota 144 144 Sun, 21 Apr 2019 01:39:51 -0500 10 Best Ski Destinations for Families in North Dakota Work up a sweat with one of winter’s most enjoyable, adrenaline-pumping sports. Skiing is a fun way to get the whole family active. Whether cross-country skiing through the wilderness or practicing on one of the state’s ski resorts, North Dakota has something for everyone at these 10 best ski destinations for families. See you on the slopes!

The Huff Hill Ski Area is located conveniently only about 16 miles south of the Bismarck-Mandan area, and offers skiing and snowboarding for the whole family. Depending on weather conditions, the ski area usually opens around Thanksgiving and stays open until mid-March. There is a beginner area with terrain suitable for children and beginners, and Huff Hills Ski Patrol members provide free ski lessons in this area. There is a restaurant on site with food like chili, hamburgers, or pizza. Equipment rentals are available. The Huff Hills Ski Area is North Dakota’s largest ski area, with four chairlifts, and 16 runs, the longest of which is 0.75 miles-long.

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it was a cold one, but damn was it worth it

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Right on the North Dakota-Manitoba, Canada border and only two hours southwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Frost Fire Ski Area is a popular ski destination for both Americans and Canadians. A beginner slope is available for novice skier and snowboarders. The trails are rated as either cross-country, easy, more difficult, or most difficult. Beginners should try trails like the Appleton Meadows or the Yarrow Trail. There is also a tubing trail available, which is popular with the kids!

#senditsaturday #shredthegnar #libtechsnowboards #snowboardfrosty

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Located in North Dakota’s beautiful Turtle Mountains, Bottineau Winter Park has skiing and snowboarding facilities like a full-service rental shop, six ski lifts, eight downhill trails with fantastic views of the Turtle Mountains, and lessons for beginners in private or group lessons. There are a wide variety of trails available from trails in the beginners area to the ungroomed expert glade runs and race courses. A day of winter sports at Bottineau Winter Park is an unforgettable experience, and you’ll want to come back every season!

Bottineau, ND

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Bear’s Den Mountain ski area is in the small town of Fort Ransom in eastern North Dakota between Jamestown and Fargo. The ski destination has a chalet, chair lift, rope tow, terrain park, and trails from beginner to expert. No matter what your skill level or athletic ability, Bear’s Den Mountain is the perfect winter getaway! 

In the heart of Grand Forks, the Greenway is over 2,000 acres of scenic outdoor recreation. This area has several parks, two golf courses, four disc golf courses, trails, fishing sites, snowmobiling, and, of course, cross-country skiing. During the winter, more than 20 miles of multi-purpose trails are opened for cross country skiing. 

Meaning “clear lake surrounded by oak trees” in the native Chippewa language, Lake Metigoshe State Park is known for the many recreational opportunity in the area, like boating, swimming, camping, fishing, and canoeing. In the winter months, the park is open for winter sports like snowmobiling, sledding, ice fishing, and cross country skiing. The trail in the park connects to over 250 miles of groomed trails open to cross country skiing throughout the Turtle Mountains. 

Near the North Dakota-Canada border, the Pembina Gorge has over 12,500 acres of wilderness with recreation like canoeing, hiking, biking, hunting, bird watching, horseback riding, and more. In the winter, the trails are opened up for downhill and cross country skiing as well as snowmobiling. There are enough trails in the Pembina Gorge that there will be something that the whole family can enjoy.

The Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery and Aquarium may not sound like a fantastic skiing destination, but the nearby trails are popular with cross-country skiers. The trails near the hatchery link up to the campground downstream. After skiing, take a look inside the hatchery and aquarium to learn about all the native fish species and conservation efforts.

Untouched by civilization, the Tetrault Wood State Forest is the perfect chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and ski through the quiet wilderness. The forest is 420 acres and undeveloped. Many of the trails are used by snowmobilers and cross country skiers in the winter months, and some of the trails lead from the woods to the Pembina River and Pembina Hills. 

Turtle River State Park has year round recreation opportunities but is most fun in the winter months when it is open for skiing. The park has about 10 miles of trails going through the scenic wilderness area and near the river, letting skiers get in touch with nature.

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10 Best Apres Ski Activities in North Dakota Taking a ski trip to North Dakota isn’t just about coasting down the slopes. In fact, most might argue that skiing is just the beginning. There are tons of activities in and around the ski resorts in North Dakota for when your muscles have had enough. These 10 best apres ski activities in North Dakota are the perfect complement to your ski vacation, so take advantage and make the most of your experience. 

If you’re done with shredding the mountain at Frost Fire Ski & Snowboard Area but still want to cash in on the winter weather, head to the tubing park for a different downhill thrill. Their tubing park is perfect for kids and adults alike, with 600-foot lanes to keep you coasting ‘til your heart’s content. 

This traveler’s hot spot is popular year-round, but winter gives you a completely different way to experience it. Right in Frost Fire’s backyard, there are over 2,800 acres of public land, ideal for adventure seekers who aren’t quite ready to get out of the cold.

Check out a lively scene at nearby Jackson’s Bar. This local bar is the best in town with a huge beer and cocktail selection and a food menu. They’re also known as the live music spot in the city.  

No ski resort is complete without a lodge, but the one here will make you want to stay awhile. Grab a warm spot near the stone fireplace before diving into a hot lunch or hot chocolate while you reconnect with your group. Their homemade chili will hit the spot after a long day on the slopes.

There’s nothing like a refreshing beer that brings a day of skiing at Huff Hills Ski Area to a positive end. The Mandan Depot Bier Hall is the best place in the area to gather with friends and family over a pint. They have a huge selection of German board games, along with traditional polka music and delicious German fare that makes this place as authentic as the bier halls in Germany. 

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The slopes at Huff Hills aren’t the only places where bets are made (and won!). Head to Powerhouse for a game of pool or darts and try your luck with their casino-style games like Black Jack. They also have some of the best burgers and wings in town, so be sure to bring your appetite.

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Not all après ski activities have to be social. Sometimes, you have to focus on yourself, especially when it comes to soothing aching skiing muscles. Head to Broadway Centre Spa and Salon after a day at Huff Hills for a massage, facial or other treatment that will help you feel in tiptop shape.

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After a heart-pumping day of intense skiing at Bottineau Winter Park, keep the momentum going and head to Lam’s Lanes in Newburg. This small-town bowling alley is a charming place to stay warm and socialize while competing to knock down the pins on one of the four lanes. Head to Lam’s for X-treme bowling, where you’ll get a groovy light show and funky music to jam to.

If you’ve had enough thrills and chills for the day at Bottineau Winter Park, head inside this cozy saloon to warm up and relax. Similar to America’s favorite fictional bar "Cheers" in terms of friendliness and service, you can expect a hot meal, bar drinks, pool, and other entertainment. Check their daily specials for deals on food. 

Near Bottineau Winter Park, this is the local’s favorite watering hole year-round, and for good reason. They have a full bar and food menu that will have you licking your chops. Live musical performances are no stranger to KC’s, so you can look forward to a lively night full of delicious food, fantastic drinks, and engaging company when you visit.

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10 Best Ice Skating Rinks in North Dakota There’s no better way to celebrate the winter season than getting your legs moving on a pair of ice skates. Whether an expert or beginner, an afternoon of ice skating is fun for everyone. Head to one of these ten best ice skating spots in North Dakota for an activity you won’t soon forget! 

Magic City’s Maysa Arena is one of the best ice skating and hockey facilities in the state. The arena hosts youth, high school, and college hockey games, as well as large-scale figure skating shows. The public skating sessions are also unmatched. As a community, Minot has the highest number of public skating sessions and public hockey sessions than anywhere else in the state. Cost of public skating sessions are $4 for entry and $4 to rent skates, and adult hockey sessions are $8.

Sometimes @joshduhamel is at hockey. πŸ’πŸ₯…πŸ˜»

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The Southwest Youth Ice Arena in Fargo is an exceptional facility that gives the community a place to play hockey and practice figure skating. The multi-purpose facility has two sheets of ice, concessions, and locker rooms. In addition to open skating times, there are also drop in adult hockey sessions. Visit the Fargo Parks website for a complete listing of events and open skate times.

Managed by the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District, the VFW Sports Center is a multi-purpose center with access to a multitude of sports like hockey, curling, golf, and, of course, figure skating. The center has two separate skating rinks, but ice skate rentals are not available on site so make sure to bring your own pair. Rink One is free around noon is free on Tuesdays through Thursdays, and Rink Two is $2 per person on Sundays from 3-5 p.m. 

Bald for a cause πŸŽ—

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Established in 2004, the West River Community Center has grown into a 135,000-square-foot center with facilities like an indoor pool, tennis and racquetball courts, four full-sized basketball courts, and tanning beds. One of the most popular activities, however, is ice skating! The rink offers open skates as well as seasonal skating parties. Check the Dickinson Parks & Recreation website for a complete listing of events and public skating hours.

The Borden Harbor Park in Mandan offers playground equipment for kids, a picnic area, basketball in warmer seasons, and an outdoor ice rink. This park is tons of fun for the whole family. Make sure to bring your own pair of skates!

There’s no better way to experience the excitement of lively downtown Fargo than on ice skates. Grab a pair of skates and check out Fargo Park District’s newest ice rink. It is open in the winter season, weather permitting, on Monday through Friday from 5-9 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 1-9 p.m. This is a seasonal figure skating experience that you won’t want to miss!

The Bill Jerome Arena is Devils Lake was one of the first hockey arenas in all of North Dakota, named for a well-known local businessman who made countless contributions to the community and state hockey programs. The arena has been renovated and features many modern, state-of-the-art facilities. It is located in Roosevelt Park in Devils Lake.

Roosevelt Park in Fargo has countless family fun activities like a multi-purpose field, playground, warming house, and so much more. One of the best winter activities is skating on the outdoor skating and hockey rink! Make sure to bring your own pair of skates from home. 

The Minot Recreation Commission sponsors free indoor skating opportunities every winter at the All Season’s Arena. Young or old, all ages are welcome! While admission is free, skates are not provided. They can be rented from the All Season’s Arena or brought from home. 

The Blue Line Club in Grand Forks and the Eagles Arena has only one sheet of ice and the facilities are connected to each other by a concession stand. This arena hosts youth and adult hockey, inline skating in the summer, and skating sessions. 

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5 Best Ski and Snowboard Stores in North Dakota With the cold and snowy winters, North Dakota is one of the best places in the nation to take up winter sports. While hiking through the prairie in the summer is beautiful, nothing beats riding down the slopes on skis or a snowboard during the winter. Make sure you’re prepared by heading to one of the five best ski and snowboard stores in the state!

Grand Forks’ Ski & Bike Shop is a one-stop shop for adventure gear, performance clothing, bikes, snowboards, and skis. They stock only the highest quality equipment at competitive prices that are usually hard to find. The staff are very knowledgeable and can help you find exactly which equipment you’ll need for your next adventure. While bikes are their specialty, skiing and snowboarding equipment and expertise are readily found at the Ski & Bike Shop.

Over a decade ago, Paramount Sports was opened in Fargo and quickly became a favorite among local sportsmen and women, especially among skiers and snowboarders. The shop’s specialty is bikes, Nordic skis, alpine skis, and snowboards. The shelves are packed full of only the highest quality products. Whether just getting into skiing and snowboarding or nearly an Olympian, Paramount Sports will be able to help you up your game and get fitted with the ideal equipment. 

Skating and snow sports may seem like an odd pairing at first, but it works perfectly for THIS Skate and Snow in Fargo. They are a center for Fargo’s skating scene and winter sport scene. Snowboard, bindings, apparel, and much more are sold at this shop. The shop is friendly, welcoming, and helpful for those with any questions about the sports equipment. 

Savvy Skate & Snow Shop is another of the skating and snow sport shops. Like THIS Skate and Snow, they sell equipment for skaters, snowboarders, and much more gear for miscellaneous sports. The staff at this store will work hard to get you the best gear for your adventure. No matter what snowboarding equipment you need, Bismarck’s Savvy Skate & Snow Shop will help you find just what you’ve been looking for.

Play It Again Sports, with locations in Fargo and Grand Forks is perfect for someone who wants high-quality gear without emptying their wallet. This store specializes in used sports equipment in a variety of sports like baseball, disc golf, football, hockey, lacrosse, golf, soccer, water sports, and snow sports. They sell respected snow sport brands like Burton, K2, Salomon, and many others. 

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Best Winter Weekend Getaway in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Just because the snow has started falling doesn’t mean it's the end of fun activities in North Dakota. Theodore Roosevelt National Park covers a sprawling 70,000 acres and offers unique Badland ecosystems, as well as scenic prairies and plains that the Midwest is famous for. Head to western North Dakota’s most famous park for a wonderful winter adventure. 

Juniper Campground is perfect for those looking to be as close as possible to the natural beauty of the park. It is ideal for both RVs and traditional campers. It is located only five miles from the North Unit entrance to the park. There are 50 campsites available, which will surely never fill up during the winter. Amenities are more limited in the winter, but rates are reduced and the campgrounds are much less crowded. Winter rates are only $7 per night.

History buffs will love hiking around the Maltese Cross Cabin, which was used by Theodore Roosevelt before gaining fame and the presidency. After the deaths of his wife and his mother both in 1884 only hours apart, he moved into this serene cabin to clear his mind as he gained appreciation for nature and the conservation of the American west. It is located only a short walk from the visitor center for the park. 

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The area receives about 30 inches of snow annually, making it a hot spot among winter sports goers, especially for those interested in snowshoeing. Snow usually begins in October and stays until April, leaving plenty of time for snowshoe hiking. There are many trails in the park that are perfect for exploring. These areas will not be busy in the winter, giving snowshoers a closer connection to the wilderness around them. 

The Little Missouri River that zig zags through the park is famous among fishermen and fisherwomen as being full of fish like chubs, minnows, blue gills, catfish, carpsuckers, and walleye. Once the ice gets thick enough, ice fishing can be done on the lakes in the park. Remember to get a fishing license for North Dakota!

Brave cross-country skiers descend on the park in the winter months to make their own paths through the serene wilderness winter wonderland. Cross country skiing can be difficult here, as the trails aren’t groomed, are narrow, and can cross creek bottoms that may be filled with snow that hides their depth. The park suggests beginner skiers stick to the frozen Little Missouri River and on closed park roads. 

Chateau de Mores is a historic site that shows the life of Antoine de Vallombrosa who arrived in 1883. The 26-room building was his family’s summer home and is now a museum that contains many of the family’s original items and artifacts. Tours are only available in the summer, but the site is still a sight to be admired when surrounded by snow. 

A visit to the North Dakota countryside isn’t complete without some cowboy culture! Cowboy everything can be found at Medora’s famous North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. This 15,000-square-foot, immersive museum tells the history of cowboys, Native Americans, and settlers of the Medora area, as well as a Hall of Honorees. Admission is only $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for students, and free for children seven and under. 

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Badlands Pizza Parlor in the heart of Medora is a favorite among families. After a long day of hiking and exploring, nothing hits the spot more than huge slices of tasty pizza! The menu offers a variety of pizzas, sandwiches, salads, soups, breadsticks, chicken wings, nachos, and more. The items are all reasonably priced and incredibly filling and delicious at Badlands Pizza Parlor!

If you want to explore North Dakota’s history but stay warm while doing so, the Dickinson Museum Center is the place to be. Get some steps in while exploring the sites many options—such as the Badlands Dinosaur Museum featuring all things dinosaurs; the Joachim Regional Museum displaying the trials and tribulations of being a North Dakota businessman in the late 1800s; the Pioneer Machinery Hall which shows off early ranching and agricultural artifacts; and finally Prairie Outpost Park which you can tour historic and ethnic structures. You’ll get a lot more than local history while here!

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Stark County Public Records from the 1800s-1920s

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7 Best Archery Outfitters in North Dakota Dedicated archers and bow hunters know that having the right equipment is the key to success. And with all of the opportunity for hunting and target shooting in North Dakota, it’s important to stay sharp. Whether you’re looking for the latest bow, want to practice your shot at a range, or you’re simply trying to get an old trustworthy bow serviced, the top-tier archery outfitters of North Dakota have you covered. Here are the best. 

For fishing, hunting, and archery needs, family owned and operated Gun & Reel Sports can’t be beat! They’re one of the only full-line sporting good stores in the area and has served Jamestown for over 60 years! In addition to archery gear, they stock guns, power sports, trailers, apparel, parts, and bicycles. This store really has everything!

It’s hard to find a store that cares more about quality than Prestige Archery in Bismarck. This store specializes in custom bowstrings and arrows as well as bow tuning. They also have a wide selection of archery accessories and equipment. Prestige Archery will give you the bow of your dreams no matter the color, size, or accessory.

Devils Lake may be a small town, but McGarvey Archery has a big city selection of products. Whether you need new cords, arrows, a new or used bow, or accessories, McGarvey Archery Pro Shop will surely have what you’re looking for. The expert staff are welcoming to people of all skill levels and help customers find exactly what equipment they need to become the best archer possible. 

Outdoorsman in Fargo probably has enough hunting gear to stock the entire state! Their selection includes bows, arrows, archery accessories, guns, hunting supplies, ammunition, and clothing. All the stock is very well organized and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable about their products, which makes finding your necessary equipment easy and headache-free.

This quaint sportsmen’s storefront is painted with a mural of fish and deer, and the interior is just as welcoming! Andrus Outdoors has everything a sportsman or sportswoman could want, from archery equipment and accessories to hunting gear to clothing, they have it all. The family owned and operated business has been serving the community for over a decade, and their high quality goods show for it!

While SCHEELS is a big chain, they have the friendliness and warmth of a small business while maintaining the unbeatable selection of a nationwide business. With locations in Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, and Minot, they have equipment for nearly every sport imaginable, and their archery and hunting section is unbeatable, both in quality and price. 

Wooohoooo!!! Finally took the plunge and bought myself a bow today!! Went with a @beararcheryproducts compound setup. Super excited to start my journey into archery/bow hunting. It's something I have wanted to do for a loooonngggg time!!! - Thank you @scheelsoutdoors for getting me setup and answering all my questions. Also a huge thank you to @cameronrhanes and @joerogan for talking sooo passionately about bow hunting. You seriously make it sound like the coolest thing in the world!! - Super excited to get out in the field and improve my skills. I eventually want to be hunting elk in the mountains. Practice. Practice. Practice. #stonefit #strongestYOU #bowhunting #archery #keephammering - - - - - #beararchery #bearlegend #scheelsoutdoors #realtree #whatgetsyououtdoors #outdoors #hunt #hunter #hunting #outdoorsman #fit #fitness #fitlife #healthylifestyle #healthyhobbies #hobby #mylife #trainer #personaltrainer #sportsperformance #sports #athletics #enjoylife #nature #bowhunter

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This Minot archery store has not only a large selection of equipment and accessories for archers, but a highly knowledgeable staff that will guide customers to their perfect bow. You’ll be shooting like a master after getting guidance and equipment from Archer’s Elite Pro Shop in Minot!

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7 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in North Dakota Nothing quite replicates the feeling of casting a line into a shimmering lake after a long week. From salmon, to brown trout, to walleye, the fishing possibilities in North Dakota are among the best. But if you need to get a new rod and reel or you’re looking for live bait, you’ll have to stop at one of your local bait and tackle shops before heading out. Here are the best in the state.   

Fargo Bait & Tackle is tops when it comes to fishing gear. There is a huge selection of merchandise and it is all available at a reasonable price. The employees are friendly and experts in everything fishing related, and can provide advice for anyone, from beginners to master fishermen. The owner even makes some fishing rigs himself to keep prices low and customers interested!

Dakota Tackle in Bismarck has fishing gear for every season, like ice augers, trolling motors, bottom bouncers, and spinner components. The store may be on the smaller side but the employees incredible expertise can point any fisherman in the right direction. No matter if you’re a casual or expert fisherman, Dakota Tackle has something for you!

Located in western North Dakota, Williston’s Scenic Sports & Liquor has something for every outdoorsman. Their shelves stock everything like guns, liquor, fishing equipment, tackle, ammo, delicious fried food, and more. As a bonus, the store is only a mile from the Little Muddy River and 19 miles from scenic Lake Sakakawea, so customers can try out their new equipment right next door!

Why wouldn't you sell guns and liquor at the same place??

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This shop boasts everything such as bait, tackle, fishing information, boat, outboard repair, Minn Kota Motors, Lowrance Marine Electronics, Hewitt docks and lifts, and ShoreMaster docks and lifts. The shop stocks the parts to do most minor repairs quickly, while complicated repairs can be done in only one or two days. 6 Mile Corner has served the Garrison community since 1998 and they have only improved with time! 

The Outfitters has proudly served the Minot and Minot Air Force Base communities for years by providing top-of-the-line fishing and sports equipment at unbeatable prices. This store has the largest selection of fishing tackle and bait in the area, with over 6,500 square-feet of sports items. Minot’s the Outfitters has everything a sportsman or woman could need!

Since 2011, Fargo’s Dakota Lakes Tackle has made waves in the North Dakota fishing community by providing high-quality fishing tackle. The top-notch tackle and down-home atmosphere can’t be beat! 

Ed’s Bait Shop is a tried and true staple of the Devils Lake and surrounding areas fishing communities, stocking a huge selection of tackle, bait, gas, snacks, and guide services. 

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Best Places to Fish in the Midwest This Fall Walleyes and a variety of salmon are on the autumn menu in the Midwest as anglers have a last chance to fish open water before the winter freeze starts to set in. Fishing for either species can be excellent; how the weather and the water temperatures line up are more critical where salmon are concerned, but the fall run extends well into November.

Walleyes aren’t so picky, and all the traditional waters such as the Mississippi River, Big Saint Germain Lake in Wisconsin, Otter Tail Lake in Minnesota and Great Lakes feeder streams give up tons of  ’eyes in the fall.

One Last Salmon Fling

The big attraction nowadays is king (chinook) salmon that make their fall spawning runs up rivers and creeks. Whether fishing from a small boat or a Great Lakes charter boat, latching on to a 20- or 30-pound king can quickly warm up an otherwise chilly fall day.

Hot Spots To Fish: Michigan’s Grand River, which empties into the eastern side of Michigan, is a prime destination for salmon. Getting Bit Guide Service (616-570-2946, in Grand Rapids is a good starting point. In fact, any port of call along Lake Michigan on either the east or west sides is likely to have plenty of knowledgeable salmon guides or charters. Fishing from jetties or piers – such as the famed McKinley Pier in Milwaukee – is also productive during the fall salmon runs.

In northwestern New York, the Salmon River lives up to its name through mid-October, but the run might linger into November in the Lake Ontario feeder, depending on the weather. Coho and steelheads also are in the mix too.

The Yankee Angler (315-963-2065, in Pulaski, N.Y. keeps tabs on the fishing. In the big waters of Lake Ontario’s southern shore at Rochester, N.Y., give Reel Em In Sportfishing Charters (585-317-5325, a call.

Farther to the northwest, the waters and feeders of Lake Superior near Sault Ste. Marie are teeming with big salmon. One of the benefits here is that you can always slip in to the St. Mary’s River System to get away from those rough autumn nor’ westers. Live To Fish Charters (906-440-7797) can help make it happen.

New York rivers and inshore waters are teeming with big salmon in the fall.

Tackle You’ll Need: Salmon tackle and striped bass tackle (see above) are practically interchangeable. Fish might range from a few pounds to well over 20 pounds, and rods and reels should be in the medium- to-heavy range. A light- to-medium spinning outfit capable of holding a couple of hundred yards of 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament or 30- to 50-pound-test braid should do for most applications, especially when casting lures. Try the Okuma Epixor XT-20 with a matching rod.

Quick Tip: Just to hedge your bets, tie a foot-long section of 2x mono to your streamer hook and add a beadhead Prince nymph or similar pattern to the other end. When salmon are finicky, they might flash at a streamer, but not take it. Sometimes, a smaller mouthful such as a nymph trailer will seal the deal.


Best Lures/Bait: For the most part, spawn-run salmon hit spoons, crankbaits or roe bags out of reaction rather than hunger. Shiny lures, such as the Luhr-Jensen Twinky Rig behind a flasher, the Acme Kastmaster Spoon and a variety of soft-plastic swimbaits or hard crankbaits, will elicit strikes. Fly fishermen favor Dahlberg Divers, Wooly Buggers, Hex Nymphs and Glo Bugs.

Find the best fishing spots near you:

Find the best bait and tackle shops near you:

Walleyes Are Hungry and Willing

In similar fashion to bass, walleyes follow baitfish from the bigger lakes to feeder creeks and rivers with current.

Hot Spots To Fish: The Van Hook Arm of Lake Sakakawea (701-421-0360, in North Dakota is a prime walleye destination, as is Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago (920-598-0586,

Tackle You’ll Need: Power fishing it’s not. Though walleyes might fatten up to well over 10 pounds, 2- to 4-pound fish are more the rule. Depending on the average size of the fish, 4- to 10-pound-test monofilament or fluorocarbon will do.

For spinning enthusiasts, the Quantum Vapor PT with matching rod will work. If you prefer trolling to casting, or bouncing a weight and natural bait on the bottom, try a baitcasting outfit such as a Fenwick/Pflueger Night Hawk or Iron Hawk combo.

Quick tip: Trolling at night with diving jerkbaits, such as the Storm Original ThunderStick or Lucky Craft Pointer 110, is a great way to catch walleyes. Troll in patterns from deep to shallow and back again, as the fish tend to relocate up and down drop-offs and channel runs depending on bait movement.


Best Lures/Bait: Leeches, nightcrawlers, minnows and everything from crankbaits to spinners will find favor with hungry fall walleyes. Top picks include: Rapala’s Shad Rap, Berkley’s Flicker Shad, Mepps’ Black Fury, Rapala’s Husky Jerk and Northland Fishing Tackle’s Forage Minnow Jigging Spoon.

Photograph Courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Walleyes weighing more than 10 pounds apiece are routinely caught in the fall, but most fish are "good eating size," averaging about 3 pounds. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in North Dakota Brightly colored leaves painting sweeping landscapes, lakes sparkling as the air turns crisp—it’s fall in North Dakota. And it’s one of the best times to get outdoors and experience everything Mother Nature has to offer. Whether you’re interested in reeling in enormous bass at Devils Lake or stargazing at Cottonwood Campground, these outdoor activities in North Dakota will give you an unforgettable season. 

In the beautiful blue waters of the huge Devils Lake, trophy walleye, white bass, northern pike, and humungous perch swim around just waiting for the right fisherman to make the catch of a lifetime! From absolute beginners to seasoned experts, everyone could benefit from the experience that a local guide can provide, which is why Hooked Up Guide Service is an essential part of your fishing adventure! Fall is the perfect season for some final fishing before the winter hits and ice fishing begins. 

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If hiking for a day is not fast paced enough, drive your car out to the sprawling Theodore Roosevelt National Park for an adrenaline and nature filled day! From the comfort of your car, you can view over 14 miles of incredible fall scenery found in the park, as well as unique wildlife and diverse wildflowers. The ending point is at Oxbow Overlook. Your eyes won’t believe the beauty that this view beholds, made even more gorgeous in the fall!

Skydive Fargo is the place to be for an unforgettable fall adventure. After all, what better way to view the fall foliage that from a birds eye view as you plummet down? Skydive Fargo is a not-for-profit club that provides training and experience for those looking to learn how to skydive. The club offers demonstration jumps, tandem skydives, AFF Student Training programs, and more. They have two aircrafts from which guests can jump: a Super Cessna 182 which takes up to four skydivers 12,000 feet off the ground in only 15 minutes, and a Cessna 206 which takes up to five skydivers 10,000 feet off the ground in 20 minutes. This is an experience for only the most hardcore adrenaline junkies. 

The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a grueling 144-mile trail that is famous among mountain bikers across the world as a must-try bucket list experience. The trail winds through the North Dakota badlands and rural prairies, which are only more scenic during the fall season. Dakota Cyclery is a must stop for cyclists wanting to hit the trail. The shop provides bike rentals, trail maps, and other gear, as well as shuttles to the trailheads. 

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If looking at wildlife gets you eager to go hunting, check the hunting adventures that Rolling Plains Adventures in Sterling have to offer. These highly-rated guides are unbelievably skilled in providing you with the most successful hunting trip. The Black Leg Ranch, which is older than North Dakota itself, is where you can “come experience the Wild West!” Not only can you go on a hunting adventure, you can also ride horses with the cowboys, go fishing, have a home cooked campfire meal, amongst many more activities. Check out all that hunting in the fall has to offer with Rolling Plains Adventures!

Exploring downtown Fargo while looking for all sorts of knick knacks and enjoying the breezy fall weather is an ideal afternoon! Operation City Quest Scavenger Hunt works with a smartphone, and players will be give about 140 objects to find downtown. Once you locate the object, you snap a photo and send it in to get points. If you have any questions, you can just ask the remote guide who’ll provide encouragement and answers at any time. Try to find all that you can and you might end up on Fargo’s leaderboard!

The west was settled by trains and North Dakota shares this historic background. Take a step back in history by boarding the restored 1890s streetcar that once ran along Fourth Street in Bismarck during the roaring 1920s. It is now the train car for the nine-mile ride along the Heart River to the exciting Fort Lincoln State Park. Riders can either ride to and from the park, or get off and enjoy the park’s activities and ride back on a later trolley. The beautiful ride passes plenty of autumn scenery, making it a perfect outdoor fall activities!

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History and outdoor adventures are combined at Mandan’s On-A-Slant Native American Village. The village was once a center for local Native American tribes, beginning over 400 years ago and abandoned 200 years ago. The Mandan people were thriving hunters and gatherers, which essentially formed the foundation of the community. The village has reconstructed earth lodges that visitors can tour while learning about North Dakota native culture. 

Outside of the small town of Kenmare along the Lacs Lake, the Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge spans an incredible 19,500 acres of land that unique animals and plant life thrive on. The park is famous for their wildlife which includes deer, moose, turkey, over 250 species of birds, and many more. Grab your backpack and binoculars and hit the trails at Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge! 

If stargazing, campfires, cool air, and the beauty of nature spark your interest head over to Cottonwood Campground in Medora for some of the best fall camping North Dakota has to offer. Located in the South Unit in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, this park is a sight for sore eyes. Expect to be dazzled by views of red, orange, and yellow foliage reflecting off the Little Missouri River. You’ll be surrounded by plenty of hiking trails, as well as scenic overlooks. This is certainly an activity you’ll want to experience at the peak of autumn.

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A beginner’s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid



Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 





About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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