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irvingdog

River trip

24 posts in this topic

I understand that most of this is contingent upon river levels, but I was hoping to throw my 12ft jonboat in at Crow Wing River state park along with my boy, camping and fishing gear, and head south; probably to Little falls. I'd have an 8hp motor, an electric motor and oars. I suspect I can camp on the islands along the way.

So;

Is it worth it? Does this sound like a 3 day, 2 night trip with stops for fishing? Can anyone suggest better entry/exit launches? Island camping is cool, right? Am I going to destroy my boat? This area should be very much fishable, but if the river is high enough for boating, will it be to high for boat control?

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Sounds like a sweet trip! Not from that area but I did canoe the Crow Wing River by Park Rapids when I was younger and there are campsites along the way, if its the same river you speak of, very good fishing too. Try posting this in a few different threads to get a better response.

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Whoops! My bad! Mississippi river from Crow Wing S.P. to Little Falls, or something within that range.

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Bring lots of dope, bug dope that is, horseflys and mosquitos can be intense at times on the river. I'm not real sure about the islands but I thought I heard one time that some of them are private land, I would call the DNR office closest to that area and see what they have to say, please report back if you do make contact.

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there are designated campsites along the 'sip! I don't know where they are up by Brainerd and Little Falls but know of a couple down near Sartell and also just south of St. Cloud. Get a canoe map of the river and you will find them.

Sounds like a great trip--I've toyed with the idea myself but have stuck to 1-day floats from Rice to Sartell and from St. Cloud to Clearwater. That allows more room in the canoe for fishing which is my main priority but the camping idea is a good one too.

Don't forget the beer!

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So if I'm understanding this correctly, you can drift/paddle roughly 10 miles in a day? Is the river clipping along pretty fast in these sections? Is this a lesiurely pace? Sun up to sun down?

Thanks. Got a ton of questions! \:\)

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Water moves pretty slow between Rice and Sartell. Quite a bit faster from St. Cloud to Clearwater. I would say from Rice to the Sartell stretch is a 5-7 hour float depending on how much paddling you do. The St. Cloud dam to Clearwater bridge trip goes a little quicker- 2 1/2 to 4 hours.

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OK. There has to be more people that have made the trip between Brainerd and Little Falls. This is a big section of the 'Sip. And from Google Earth, it looks undeveloped and remote. I'm certain I can find fish, but, again; how long will this take, and can I stay on islands. The DNR maps are not real good about this.

Thanks to the responders so far....

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I have made the trip from Fort Ripley to Little Falls you can paddle this stretch quickly as the current will help you a long quickly. Being that you will be fishing you can take your time and pick your spots and fish a quite a bit. 3 days and 2 nights is more than enough time and you can afford to fish alot. As for a(n) amount of time it will take I really don't know. If you where just paddling, one day and you could be in Little Falls, so as I said 3 days would make for plenty of fishing.

We have camped on a few of the unposted islands between Fort Ripley and Little Falls and always on the sandbars coming off of the them as to not be tresspassing. We have never had any problems. As for ownership of these islands I know some are privately owned but I do not know which ones exactly (boy that's alot of help isn't it?) I do believe if you stay on any of the exposed sandbars you should be alright and they are below ordinary water line, but i prefer to stay away from the posted islands though. Take the trip and enjoy the great fishing!

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A sincere thank you to everyone! I'll take photo's and post when I make this trip.

May my motor's skeg survive!

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Good luck!

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I would still call the nearest DNR office as to camping on the islands, chances are that you will probably not have any problems but a quick phone call may help avoid any problems, especially if you are taking the kids with you.

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sorry that I for got to mention watch out for that lower unit! there are many places you can use your motor but they seem to disapear and get REALLY shallow fast. Watch for riffles and the tell tale swirrels of boulders and you'll be fine. Good luck and looking forward to the pictures!

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So now, I'm on a quest to do the right thing. I want to establish what the laws are for overnight usage (camping). So I called and asked:

Little Falls DNR office? Nope.

US Fish & Wildlife? Nuh-uh.

National Park Service? Not a chance.

Morrison Co. sheriff? Nah.

So now I'm working with the Morrison Co. Asessors office. I'm going to identify the PRIVATE property in the river, and steer clear of that, and then follow the adage, "better to ask forgiveness than permission". That, and to stay away from Camp Ripley (east bank).

I figure, I'm a "leave no trace" kinda guy anyways. And even if I wasn't, the river tends to erase any signs of activity pretty effectively.

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So yer saying that the 4 places you called said No you can't camp? or they did not have the answer? Maybe you should consider spending the night at Crow Wing Park, it's about 10 river miles down from Brd, then finish it off the next day. You'll probably find a fair amount of areas you'll just want to motor on through and look for better fishing spots, you could easily make this a one nighter and still have plenty of fishing time.

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Again; I'm a lousy communicator...

None of those agencies had an answer. But I have a friend who is a state park ranger. He told me to call the Army Corp of engineers.

I think he's right.

I'll let you know.

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I wouldn't lose much sleep over it...worst case scenario some guy yells at you for camping on his island...at which point I would tell him to post it properly and he'd have a lot less to worry about.

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If that "some guy" is an M.P. from Camp Ripley, my goose is cooked grin.gif.

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How about calling the game warden that works that area, I would think he would know.

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Those free maps from the DNR will show you where the public camping spots are. They should also be marked along the river. I dunno for sure about the upper sippi, but the upper croix has the camp spots marked well from the river.

My .02

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If it's Military property it should be posted. If it's state land like a state park etc. it should be posted. If it's private property I would hope the owner posted it but if not I would say go for it. Live and learn is my theory.

mr

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I dug out my Morrison County plat book. It looks like 2 islands are owned by the DNR (one by Crow Wing state park, and Doucette Island, 2nd island south of hwy 115).

2 others have owners names on them (by Little Falls).

All others are left blank. I guess no one owns these?(squatters rights?) ;\)

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I've got differing answers on the land usage. I've got more research to do.

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The mississippi headwaters has a set of maps from Itasca to St cloud. They are pretty good and all the campsites are marked on them. It looks like 29 river miles from the state park to little falls. The only official site along that stretch is at Fletcher creek where there is an access as well. Some of the campsites aren't marked very well due to folliage growth. I have not personally done the stretch you are looking at so I can't give you many specifics. I fish the section north of the SP often in the summer and have done some motor damage, it's just part of the deal. The last time I did a trip like this we camped on a sandbar. It's a great way to get off the beaten path! Make sure to bring a spare prop and shear pins. Keep in mind that for most of your trip, camp ripley will be the western bank.

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