The 4th of July holiday means one thing in my house – fishing! We book our camping spot months in advance to ensure we get the exact location we want and get ready for a long weekend of camping, fishing, and exploring the area around Maplewood State Park.
If you’ve ever been to Pelican Rapids, MN any other time of the year, you’d immediately notice how the town grows 10 fold during the summer months, especially on holiday weekends. We fought the traffic through the town and noticed all of the newer shops that have popped up on their main street over the last few years. The lively downtown scene is now home to florists, gift shops, restaurants, specialty stores, and more. A farmers market was spread throughout the downtown area as well, giving visitors a chance to try out some locally made food and craft items.
Just off the main drag and on the way to Maplewood State Park stands the World’s Largest Pelican. If you’re in the area, it’s a photo opp you have to take.
Over the next three days we spent the majority of our time on the water. Lake Lida, which expands from the state park north, is an exceptional lake not only for fishing but also for water recreation. There’s a good mix of smaller fishing boats (like ours), pontoons, sport boats, and jet-skis on the water at any given time.
The reason we love fishing Lida is because of the variations in structure at the lake bottom. We’ve been able to catch nearly every fish species in this one body of water – sunfish, crappie, northern, walleye, perch, bass, and eel pout.
While I can’t tell you all of our fishing secrets, I will tell you to make sure to bring a depth-finder. There are many please in the middle of the lake that may only be around 8 feet deep. Those drop offs are a great place to find walleye!
As the sun began to go down on Saturday night, the fireworks started. We hung out on the boat in the middle of the lake and watched the fireworks boom all around us. I think everyone on the lake had a show to put on. The lights danced and reflected across the water, giving us an even bigger show than if we had been on land. We soon headed back to our camp site, parked our boat on shore and hiked up a small hill to our tent. There’s nothing better than having a waterfront camping spot – especially when you can just pull your boat right up.
Although we only stayed for the long holiday weekend, you could easily find plenty of things to do if you stayed a week. The state park has great hiking trails, a beach, and plenty of wildlife to see. In the region, there are restaurants, golf courses, and shops to check out. Pelican Rapids offers a great balance of summer activities but without being too touristy like the Breezy Point lakes area.