I started at Banning State Park and then headed south towards my campsite for the night at William O’Brien State Park. I have visited this wonderful Minnesota State Park many times and continue to find it an enjoyable park to hike, camp, kayak, and fly fish. Close to the Twin Cities and a short drive to one of my other favorite places Forest Lake, this Minnesota State Park is nestled along the St Croix River.
Less than a mile away is the small roadside village of Marine on St Croix where my ancestors in the 1800’s worked in the lumber industry and then moved North to Mora, MN. I have always felt a close connection to the place even before I found out my ancestors once lived and worked in this area.
Only 78 miles from Banning State Park it was a short days drive. I wanted to get into my campsite early (if possible) and dip my fly fishing rod into the St Croix and Alice Lake waters (all within the State Park boundaries). I had started my fishing season in Minnesota with a successful rainbow trout catch and was hoping to end the season with something on my line.
Before returning to Minnesota I had purchased a new camping tent, a Kelty TN3 tent. It came highly ranked and rated by backpackers for being small, lightweight and easy to set up within minutes. I was happy to find that this purchase was exactly as advertised. I was able to set this tent up for the first time (yes, I am slow and read all instructions) in less than 1/2 hour.
Then it was off to fly fish the St Croix. I wasn’t as lucky as I had hoped but I did enjoy seeing a group of REI kayakers enjoying their day on the river. I donated two fly fishing flies to the tree Gods. Not sure what they will do with my flies. Do trees fish when we are not watching them?
I then tried to get away from the trees and located to the dock on Alice Lake. There are fish in Alice Lake! I can see them from the dock. Mostly sunfish but then some bigger fish come swimming up and I just knew they would find my flies irresistible. Not meant to be I fished about 3 hours and landed nothing. But had a nice time watching an osprey be about as lucky fishing as I was.
A nice dinner at the campsite and falling to sleep to the couple next door having a very loud heated discussion about the political happenings within the USA. I sided with the gal. I guess that would not be surprising. I couldn’t wait to get on the road to continue down to my next destination Wabasha, Minnesota along the Mississippi River.
Have you travelled the Great Mississippi River Road? Please share your comments below.
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