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OutdoorMN News - Minnesota state forest drives offer ‘travel-worthy’ fall color

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A scenic drive through Minnesota’s state forests is a great way to view beautiful fall color. 

Grand Portage State Forest

Depending on the forest drive, visitors might see a spectacular mix of dark evergreen amid vivid autumn hues of maples, oaks, and aspens, set against a backdrop of bluffs, lakes and winding rivers. Minnesota’s 59 state forests cover more than 4.2 million acres, from Kabetogama State Forest at the top of the state to Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest in the south. Each one is a unique experience.

“This fall’s overall color display should be vivid and travel-worthy,” said Val Cervenka, the forest health program consultant in the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division. “Minnesota has had one of the wettest years on record since 1871, so our fall color should be impressive.”

The DNR has highlighted five fantastic forest drives for this fall. Visit the state forest scenic drives website for route directions and more details.

Late September

  • Kabetogama State Forest in the northwest
  • White Earth State Forest in the northwest
  • Bowstring State Forest in north central

Early to mid-October

  • Rum River State Forest in central Minnesota
  • Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest in the south

Visit the state forests page for more information about visiting a state forest. Entrance into state forests is free. State forest campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 a night.

Visit the Minnesota state parks and trails Fall Color Finder to find areas in Minnesota with peak fall color. The Fall Color Finder is updated every Thursday through the end of October.

Discuss below - to view set the hook here.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • monstermoose78
      Starting to get pumped up!! I have been working Finn most days and now I need to start working myself up for hunting. 
    • smurfy
      I would think maybe Bigfoot.👍😂   But Yea the hair definitely looks like a deer.
    • TrueNorth
      Stayed on the west side last week.  Perfect weather for most of the week.  Light winds, cool mornings and 70-80 during the day.  Plenty of sunshine - no rain to speak of.     Of the ~20 Walleye we caught, 60% of them were in the 10" to 14" range.  Everything else was 22" to 26".   Trolled plugs but mostly fished spinners slow w/ Crawler and Leeches.    Fished mostly deep reefs all over the main basins.  Kept moving.  Biggest take away was a large scale bug hatch going on (not mayflies) and the largest small perch population I've ever witnessed.  Both of these lit of the electronics with pure clouds... 4-6" perch literally everywhere.  Pretty amazing to be honest.   Every fish was very healthy...stuffed full.  Gonna be fun in a few years.  Also caught several nice Bluegill, Small and Largemouth Bass and a few Pike.  All larger than past years.  1 50" musky stopped by to say high in calm weather middle of the day.     Did make it to the East side a few days with little success but the timing of the day didn't help.  Definitely marked plenty of fish off deep reefs in 16-30 mainly in Big Bag.  No bug hatch there and not near the bait fish population.     If I was there this week, I would fish reefs near deepest water adjacent to defined points.  That's my 2 cents.  
    • jeff_s
      SkunkedAgain, I’m sure my friends with the Incinolet would be happy to show it to you. They’re on Grassy Point. PM me and I’ll hook you up with them. 
    • muskie-mike
      I use 12 lb suffix 832 and find i use 4 ft of line for every foot of depth with a 30 ft mono leader...  
    • Raven77
      The most interesting thing I've seen on the lake is loons flocking up to fly south.  Saw this on Norwegian Bay October 9, 2018.  There had to be at least 200 of them, including some clearly too young to make the trip.
    • Raven77
      I've been having good luck with lead core as well.  I use Suffix 832, with line counter reels.  Each color is 30 feet of line.  As a rule of thumb, every 1 foot of depth requires 5 feet of line, so if you are fishing at 30' FOW you would let out 150' of line, or 5 colors.  Trolling speed affects how deep your crank is running as well (slower is deeper).  I usually run between 2.2 and 2.5 mph.  As a check, you can keep letting out line until your crank starts bumping bottom and then reel up 10' of line.  
    • ozzie
      I hear ya on the difficulties fishing any lobe of Whitefish on the weekends!  Just have to get up and be done before 10am or go back out after 6pm and the lake settles a little.  We trolled "lower" WF on Thursday evening and only caught 1 northern.  Didn't appear to have as thick of a gathering of fish... We went back out on Saturday morning to try our luck on Whitefish for Whitefish and in 2 hours caught 1 3.5lb'er and missed a few bites.  Wow can they be fun to pull out of 50-70 ft of water.  We use jigging raps but wow do whitefish bit lightly but put up a good fight...and there are plenty of them on the big lakes!!!  Good fish on the smoker too!! 
    • Borch
      I sent fish them suspended in the basin areas.  Do get a few any off bottom near weed edges and suspending near flats that drop sharply.  Like Bobt I have had good results trolling cranks over and around weeds.   Also, midlake humps with spinner rigs/crawler or jigging raps can be very good.   Panfish can be awesome.   However I had trouble pinning down many nice ones today.  So even they are not a guarantee.  Maybe I will have a better report soon as I will be up through Thursday evening. 
    • ozzie
      Well we launched there this weekend and the inspector made sure he was off the tar and parked out of the way.  We thanked him and he said "it sure would make things a lot more difficult if someone were parked in the lined off area to pull around in!"  WOW!!!! was nice to have an inspector with common courtesy and common sense!
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