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mjhowe

IF you could live anywhere in MN...? Where would it be?

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mjhowe

I am contemplating a move to the great state of Minnesota...I would love some opinions on places to begin my search...based on my below criteria, which is by no means all inclusive. But...some of the important items are...

My main criteria are as follows:

City/area population of 5,000-20000 people.

Premium ice fishing opportunity within 1-2 hour drives or closer. (My main outdoor passion is hardwater, but open water fishing, archery and motorsports are right there also.)

NOT "touristy", in a National Park, National Landmark, type way. Rural, local destination type tourism is a-ok.

Access to multiple use state/federal lands.

Decent real estate options...median home price below $200k

I dont care to be any closer than 2-3 hours from major city (over 250,000 people)

Help me decide, I promise to be a good neighbor!

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NAMAKANWALLEYE

Personal Preference would be Ely, MN.

But for the options you listed, I would choose, Bemidji, Grand Rapids, or Brainerd / Baxter, MN.

I am orig. from IL, lived in MN for 5 years, now live in Yellowstone Park.

It is my dream to move back to MN. Good luck to you!

Mark

National Park Service

Water Quality Technician

Yellowstone National Park, WY USA

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Reynolds

I lived in Brainerd for one year while I was going to college and absolutely loved it. There are so many outdoor opportunities around with all the lakes, beautiful golf courses, biking trails, snowmobiling, etc.. The town is also large enough that it has a Best Buy, Gander Mountain, Target, Wal Mart,and best of all, Fleet Farm. I hope to move back to the Brainerd very soon. I will switch professions is that is what it is going to take. I can't handle living in this Florida tropical climate anymore.

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jonny_redhorse

mj........Sounds like anywhere on the "Iron Range" would be a fitting place for you to "set up camp"....dozens of small communities that certainly would welcome you........the criteria you've requested certainly falls in the area of the 75 mile long iron range(grand rapids on the west end,virginia /eveleth on the east end(and others of course).....1-2 hours puts you on the canadian border and as far south as Duluth(lake superior is close if you like the lake trout /salmon thing)..you wouldn't be in any national park although the Voyageurs national park is only an 1 1/2 hours northeast of me (I live in Hibbing),and the BWCA is also in that general area.....literally thousands of lakes in the whole area here......plenty of state owned land(and federal open to hunting and fishing also)...hundreds of homes to pick from in that $200,000.00(and less of course) price category....just look at the fall pics I just posted ("colors of fall")...gives you an idea of the beauty of the area we live in up here...I've been here on the range for a good percentage of my 58 years (a stint in new hampshire for 4 years) but came back...the area is very unique....hope this helps grin.gifjonny

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fishinphilth

There is a list of all the cities in minnesota on the the state web site. Print that off and pin it up on the wall throw a dart at it and I think you will be happy with where it hits.

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Homeland

You really have described the Bemidji area to a "T"! Give us a look up here and if there's anything I can do to help you find a place let me know.

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ghotierman

Seeing this posted on the Alexandria Area page....we need to give a shout out for our beautiful lakes area as well. We can go right down your checklist and accomodate everything you've listed. Especially for hardwater opportunities. (World Ice Fishing Championships have been held here at least 3 of the last 5 years). Some great icefishing throughout the county. Population of the area just edged over 11,000. Still a rural atmosphere. Lots of public land. Douglas county has both rifle and shotgun zones for deer hunting. Great bike trail. (motorsports...racing fan? Saturday night races all summer) Great school system, fantastic Technical College....

As the Chamber tag line says...

"Easy to Get to...Hard to Leave"

Check out the chamber of commerce website.

www.alexandriamn.org

Good luck..

as the other posts have noted....you'll not make a bad choice anywhere in Minnesota. (I've been in Alexandria for almost 12 years....love the Range, and Bemidji and Brainerd too....grew up down south...Mankato/New Ulm area are nice too...)

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CHM

Alexandria? Naw...it's not all that great. Not many fish here. Try somewhere else. wink.gif

Chuck

P.S. Ghotierman - you should change your signature. I miss the archery range!!!

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merc

Grand Rapids. Thousands of lakes, the majority of the area is public land (national forest), housing is not overly expensive and all the major stores you could ask for. Why leave Kalispell? Nice country, been there a few times as I have relatives there.

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MN Shutterbug

I don't agree with anywhere in MN being a good place to live. I live in SW MN and the scenery is cornfields and bean fields and the lakes are 8 foot sloughs. I've lived here most of my life and if it wasn't for the wife having a good job with benefits, I would leave in a heartbeat. Sure the lakes down here have walleye in them but you have to fish through the green slime to get to them. The only plus in this area for an outdoorsman is the pheasant population. Other than that, this part of MN stinks. I love the Alex area but the farther north you go, the more awesome the geography and the clearer the lakes.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • crappieslapper
      Oh oh, sounds like work. Better than work in the office any day though. Thanks for getting back. Let you know how it goes this weekend.
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    • delcecchi
      starft you off.... https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/lake.html?id=69066000 http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/data/lakemaps/b0537011.pdf Status of the Fishery Ely Lake is located approximately 2 miles SE of the city of Eveleth. This popular lake is highly developed with homes and cabins. There is a small seaplane base and two public swimming beaches also located there. Water clarity is good and large amounts of aquatic vegetation can be found throughout the lake. 

      There is a concrete planked boat ramp and dock located near the NE end of the lake off Cedar Island Drive (CR629) for public access. The parking space is somewhat limited near the ramp. Several private accesses are also present. 

      Thirteen species of fish were sampled during the 2017 survey on Ely Lake. Gill nets, trap nets and night electrofishing were all used to sample the fish community. Small bluegill were common in the gill net catch (34%) and abundant in the trap net catch (57%). Other panfish species including hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed, green sunfish and black crappie were also sampled in good numbers. Largemouth bass outnumbered smallmouth bass in the 2017 sample. Walleye (16%) contributed to the gill net catch and several were sampled in the trap nets. Yellow perch are present in average amounts and some good sized pike were again sampled during the 2017 survey. 

      Bluegill numbers in 2017 (72.1/trap net) were much higher than the long term average (31.6/trap net) on Ely Lake and greatly above average (7.9/trap net) compared to other similar lakes in the area. The average bluegill sampled was 5.6 inches long and about 6 years old. Approximately 66% of the bluegill sampled with the trap nets were under 6 inches with a maximum size recorded of 8.0 inches. Bluegill sampled with the gill nets had a similar size structure. Approximately 7% of the hybrid sunfish sampled in the trap nets were 8 inches or larger. Several pumpkinseeds were also in this size range. 

      Largemouth bass (92%) and smallmouth bass (8%) were sampled during the night electrofishing effort. The average largemouth sampled was 10.9 inches which is similar to the historic average of 10.6 inches. The biggest largemouth sampled was 18.5 inches. Approximately 33% of the largemouth sampled were 12 inches or larger. The average smallmouth sampled was 9.8 inches which is slightly larger than the historic average (8.4 inches). The largest smallmouth sampled was 16.8 inches long. Approximately 32% of the smallmouth sampled were 12 inches or larger. Largemouth bass were also sampled from the gill nets and trap nets in numbers above average. 

      Walleye numbers in 2017 (6.2/gill net) were similar to the historic average (6.1/gill net) on Ely Lake and slightly above average (5.0/gill net) when compared to other similar area lakes with walleye. The average walleye sampled was 15.5 inches and about 4 years old. Approximately 34% of the walleye sampled were 15 inches or larger up to a maximum of nearly 29 inches. Walleye fingerlings are currently being stocked during even-numbered years and in 2017 approximately 62% of the walleye aged came from years where stocking occurred. 

      Northern pike numbers in 2017 (1.1/gill net) were similar to the historic average (1.3/gill net) and below average (3.2/gill net) compared to other similar area lakes with pike. The average pike sampled was 26.8 inches which is similar to the historic average length of 26.3 inches. The largest pike sampled in 2017 was 35.2 inches long and sampled with a trap net.