Tag Archives: Peltier Lake

Pedal then Paddle Gateways Rice Creek Chain of Lakes

For a wildlife-rich experience not soon to be forgotten, pedal, then paddle, the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes up in the Twin Cities Gateway Area. With an abundance of bike trails and roads to get there, you will find several options at Wargo Nature Center once arriving. Head out with a paddle, hike, or bike the trails that meander around the chain of lakes shoreline in this mammoth park reserve in the Twin City Area.

Paddling the Twin Cities Gateway's Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is a wildlife-rich experience to remember.

Paddling the Twin Cities Gateway’s Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is a wildlife-rich experience to remember.

Rice Creek Chain of Lakes is located near the community of Lino Lakes, on the southside of Interstate 35W. Once there, Nature Center can fix you up with canoe and kayak rentals to paddle Rice Creek Chain of Lakes.  It is a bit of heaven in the north metro area. Being able to paddle out from the Nature Center on George Watch Lake is a tranquil experience.

What You Will See Paddling the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes

Through the summer and into the fall, you can paddle out from the dock at the Nature Center and connect to one lake after the next. Along the way you are sure to see occasional Leopard frogs hopping off a Lilly pad. Then, perhaps you’ll ever see a Blue Heron and Snowy White Egrets lift off as you pass by.

Hawks are common spectators to the activities as you paddle along the water trail or pedal along the bike trail in the Rice Creek Reserve.

Hawks are common spectator watching as you paddle along the water trail or along the bike trail in the Reserve.

The creek and lakes on this water trail offer excellent bird watching opportunities. And this is the perfect place for the novice paddler. Adventurers will see plenty of raptors such as egrets and herons that perch in nearby trees or forage along the shoreline. Along the way, you may see a sandpiper scampered across a sandbar.

Egrets and blue heron are also a common to see as you paddle along.

Egrets and Blue Heron are common to see as you paddle.

Maybe you’ll see a  soft-shell turtle sliding off the bank. Or maybe an eagle, osprey, or Turkey Vulture swooping down to grab its meal as a fish jumps. It’s scenic and wild at its best, right here in the Twin Cities Gateway!

 

About the Rice Creek Chain

The nearly 5,300-acre Rice Creek Chain is one of two regional parks in the Twin Cities Area that offer multiple-lake paddling. According to many who paddle this north metro chain, the mix of lake and forest vegetation makes it feel like a mini-Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The other reserve in the south metro is Lebanon Hills Park. Lebanon Hills Park is a 2,000-acre multi-lake area with only portage paths between them.

Generally on the Rice Creek Chain portaging is not necessary. The only exception is the occasional downed tree to circumvent, which normally happens in the spring. This rustic North Metro reserve has a water trail wandering through several lakes before it reaches Rice Creek. Rice Creek is a more challenging, less-traveled stretch that flows south to Long Lake. From there, it heads to the Mississippi River.

Paddlers who want a longer trip can follow Rice Creek out the northwest corner of Long Lake, in New Brighton. Here, the creek flows to the Mississippi River at Manomin Park in Fridley. The complete paddle from the Lake Peltier boat ramp in the Rice Creek Reserve to the Mississippi River is about 22 miles.

Rice Creek Reserve Rents

For canoe, kayak, and life jacket rentals, Wargo Nature Center is the place. Located on George Watch Lake, rentals can be used on: Peltier, Marshan, Rice, and Reshanau Lakes. Paddle craft rentals are available May through September, during normal hours. Here is their website for rental prices and times: https://www.anokacounty.us/874/Recreational-Rental-Equipment.  Call 651-429-8007 to check watercraft availability, lake temperatures, and water levels.

For those who want to use their own canoes or kayaks in the reserve, paddling access points include Rice Creek crossings near: Hodgson Road, Lexington Avenue, County Road I, and County Road J.

In the winter the Wargo Nature Center rents snowshoes for those who want to explore the park in a colder season.

Fishing Spots in the Twin Cities Gateway – By Bike

They say the best part of fishing is when your line is in the water. This is especially true if the lake or stream is close enough that you can ride your bike and fish more often. Here in the Twin Cities Gateway we found several opportunities to wet a line and catch some fish in Minnesota. So get your family and friends together, plan a route, and enjoy nature while fishing the shorelines in the these north Twin City Metro locations.

Fishing at the Coon Rapids Dam

At the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park you will find one of the most popular fishing spots in the Anoka County Area. Here, as the mighty Mississippi River flows over the dam, anglers can test their fishing tackle and luck. Fish to catch includes: Bass, Crappies, Carp, and more. With the recent high waters, a report  says anglers are catching Crappies using jigs and minnows. The shoreline hot spot is above the dam, in the back waters, near the bike trail.

The Coon Rapids Dam is a fishing hot spot in the Twin Cities Gateway.

The Coon Rapids Dam is a fishing hot spot in the Twin Cities Gateway.

A boat ramp is located behind the Visitor Center and there is no launching fee. However, there is a fee to enter the park unless you enter the park on your bike or walk. The Visitors Center also has some bait items available.

Fishing on Ham Lake

A shoreline fishing hot spot in the Twin Cities Gateway.

One of the many shoreline fishing hot spots in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Largemouth Bass brings most anglers to Ham Lake, even though the abundant population of small Northern Pike present in this lake can be frustrating. You will also find that the Bluegill (Sunfish) here are abundant and are usually biting, whereas the Crappies are hit or miss.

This lake is located east of Highway 65 and north of 153rd Street N.E. in the City of Ham Lake, Minnesota. If you don’t have a boat, you can head over to the city park where there is a fishing pier adjacent to the boat ramp that can be promising.

Two Fishing Options on the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes

Fishing on George Watch Lake

On the Chain,  just south of the city of Lino Lakes, is George Watch Lake which has Walleye, Sunfish, Largemouth Bass, Bullheads, and Catfish. And, if Northern Pike are your game fish of choice, reports have it that there are plenty of them and that they are of good size.

Using a canoe or kayak is another option for fishing the hot spots in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Using a canoe or kayak is another option for fishing the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes in the Twin Cities Gateway.

In the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve, operated by Anoka County, there is no boat access. However, canoe rentals are available at Wargo Nature Center. Anglers are allowed to fish from shore, but it may take a hike to reach some great sites. Fishing is also permitted from the shoreline along County Road 14. Another option, with the paved trails in the park, is to use a bike to get to other parts of the lake’s shoreline.

Fishing Peltier Lake

Across the road from Wargo Nature Center is another hot fishing spot on Peltier Lake. Here Northern Pike and Panfish are the primary target of most anglers fishing here. Walleye are present and Channel Catfish yearlings provide additional opportunities for anglers. Plus, Muskies are starting to migrating in from other lakes on the Rice Creek Chain.

This lake has good shore fishing facilities. The County has a fishing pier in the southwest corner of the lake near the boat access. Anglers often fish from the shoreline of County Road 14 near the connection with Centerville Lake. The most popular shore fishing spot may be on both sides of the dam, both upstream and in the pool downstream.

Have fun and keep your line wet!