– THINGS TO DO –
Activities Abound in Lake City, Minnesota’s South Shore.
Lake City is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. We offer unmatched access to the lake, championship golf and miles of hiking and biking trails. Known as the Birthplace of Waterskiing, our lake provides world class sailing opportunities, the best fishing in Southeastern Minnesota with over 85 different species, and endless water sport activities.
About Fishing in the Lake City, Lake Pepin Area
The out-wash of Wisconsin’s Chippewa River basin into the Great Mississippi River forms 20 mile-long Lake Pepin. Over 85 species of game fish can be angled year round in these boundary waters. Lake City has nearly 7 miles of shoreline along Lake Pepin offering many opportunities for shore fishing as well as 2 designated trout streams, Gilbert and Miller Creeks. From boat or shore – whether you like bobber fishing, jigging, trolling, or casting, trophy-size lunkers are possible rewards.
ANNUAL FISHING CONTESTS
Officer Shawn Schneider Memorial Fishing Tournament, Lake Pepin
Frontenac Sportsmen’s Walleye & Sauger Classic, Lake Pepin
Jimmy Siewert: 651-345-5035 (for both)
Ice Fishing Contests
Frontenac Sportsman’s Club, Frontenac Pond
Jimmy Siewert: 651-345-5035
Lake City Sportsman’s Club, Lake Pepin
Third Saturday in February
Club Phone: 651-345-2901
Contest Coordinator Amy Brinkman 651-764-5754
FISHING GUIDE SERVICES
Eagle Cliff’s Guide
Lake Pepin Guide
212 S Lakeshore Dr, Lake City, MN
Walleye Strike Guide Service
306 N 6th Street, Lake City, MN
Hunters can find everything they are looking for in the surrounding Hiawatha & Mississippi River Valleys. Hunting near Lake City offers some of the most comfortable accommodations in a wilderness setting without having to travel or invest into a high end guided hunt. Sportsman will find an open season on big game, small game, waterfowl, or trapping nine of twelve months each year.
Our most popular seasons are the Whitetail Deer, Turkey and Duck/Goose opportunities. The excitement starts with spring turkeys in which tags are provided on a draw basis. The high concentration of gobblers in this region has put Lake City in high demand during the draw process. However, should you get one of these coveted tags you will be happy to know that with the abundance of birds success rates are very high. Fall turkey hunts are also available through draw and this season runs throughout the month of October.
Fall hunts start the beginning of September with an Early Canada Goose season and follow shortly with Small Game & Archery the middle of the month. Autumn in the bluff county is a sportsman’s dream with Waterfowl, Pheasant and many types of trapping seasons opening in October. The latter portion of October offers world class whitetail hunting as the deer begin their pre rut process.
The first weekend in November marks the start of our two firearm seasons for whitetail deer with the second season taking place during the third week and the muzzleloader season running through the second week of December. These hunts are so popular for families and friends that many of our hotel accommodations are rented out years in advance by the same friendly faces.
Download our birding brochure or fill out the form in the sidebar to have one mailed to you.
Our unique location on the Mississippi River Flyway, designated as a globally important migratory corridor, provides exceptional year-round bird watching, including migrations of bald eagles, trumpeter swans and warblers.
Lake City’s Lake Pepin Vistas:
Park on side streets and cross to the water’s edge. Any duck species can be seen from here. Find huge rafts of Commer Mergansers in November (and in December in a warm winter). Check for shorebirds on the sand April through November (in cold weather, there may be a Purple Sandpiper!) Bald Eagles can be found in any season from any vista.
Head toward Ohuta Park and follow the one way signs past the mobile homes to a parking area. Find great vistas in late fall when C. Mergansers are in the thousands and Bald Eagles are fishing. Scoping carefully, even in the distance, you might see a rare Pacific, Red-throated or very rare Yellow-billed Loon, besides migrant Common Loons April-June and in September until freeze-up.
Especially in November, December and May check the two in-town marinas and the jetty for Black, White-winged and Surf Scoters. Someday, Eiders will be found here, too.
From Roschen Park boat landing, see terns (Common, Caspian, Foresters and Black are regular) during spring migration and in fall, jaegers may be harrassing gulls. Check for Glaucous, Iceland, Thayers and less common Greater and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes among the Herring and Ring-billed roosting on the lake at night. Many species are waiting to be discovered along this shore. Long-tailed Ducks, any loons, scoters and rafts of C. Mergansers can be found here in spring or fall. From Roschen Park, take two left turns and follow Oak Street, staying close to the river. Past a creek and across from a railroad trestle on your right, scope Lake Pepin for shorebirds in May and scoters (especially Black) and gulls in November. A good Bald Eagle spot along the creek. Check the water at open vistas behind the small brick building further down Oak Street and
at the dead end at the Sportsman’s Club for Greater Scaup flocks and other ducks and gulls.
Hok-si-la Municipal Park:
A migrant trap of mixed woods that juts out into Lake Pepin where warblers drip from trees in a good mid-May migration, including Cerulean and Connecticut.
Check the entrance road’s bottomland woods, wetland areas and parking lot woods for Barred Owls, ducks, Pileated Woodpeckers and migrants. A walk through the grass opening to the right of the parking lot eventually weaves throughout the
campground with an overlook above a “birdy” creek. Continue upriver through oaks and circle to the lot through tall pines where there are more warblers, records of Cooper’s Hawks and Longeared Owls. Walk an old road down to the water for shorebirds, gulls and tern rarities. Heading upriver on Hwy 61, scope the boat landing and rest stop for loons, Greater Scaup, gulls and Canvasbacks. Try mid-late November for huge C. Merganser flocks and swooping/feeding Bald Eagles.
Revel in Lake Pepin’s stunning fall colors on the Great River Road in bluff country! From Lake City, take Hwy. 61 through Frontenac and Red Wing. Turn left on Hwy. 19 through rolling farmland and the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest to Vasa.
Your last leg upriver on Hwy. 61 back to Lake City offers some of the most panoramic views of Lake Pepin and the bluffs.
Originally called “Mattson’s Settlements” for Hans Mattson a former Minnesota Secretary of State. Founded in 1853, it’s one of Minnesota’s few unchanged Swedish settlements. Continue on Hwy. 19 to Cannon Falls.
This dreamy river town has stately homes, a quaint business district and Riverside Park right at the falls of the Cannon River. From here take Hwy. 52 south to Zumbrota.
Home to the only surviving covered bridge in the state. It was constructed in 1869 and was one of the major travel links between Dubuque, Iowa and St. Paul. Head east on Hwy. 60 to Zumbro Falls.
The drive east toward the river features rugged valleys that rise to bluff tops and farmland, with the occasional view of Lake Pepin. Continue on Hwy. 60 to Wabasha.
Named after the Sioux Indian chief Wah-pah-sha, this historic steamboat port is one of Minnesota’s oldest communities. The business district is included on the National Register of Historic Places. From here, take Hwy. 61 upriver to Reads Landing.
This once-thriving river trading post is a superb place to view bald eagles, especially in winter. Take some time to stop at the Wabasha County Historical Society Museum as well.
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
Superb Midwestern snow sports are just a short drive away at Coffee Mill or Welch Village full-service ski areas. Equipment rentals and seasonal and daily passes are available.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Groomed trails at Hok-Si-La Park and Frontenac State Park attract skiers of all ages and skill levels. Our bluffs, valleys and forests provide stunning scenery and protection from winter winds.
Skate under the stars (or any time) or polish up your slap shot at Underwood Park’s leisure and hockey rinks and warming house.
The best of this enduring winter pastime is right on our front porch. The locals target blue gills, bass and lunker walleye and pike. There’s easy access for those who need to unload their fish house. Check our online calendar for fishing contests.
Harness winter winds! Host to several 2012 North American regattas, Lake Pepin’s wide expanse provides outstanding conditions for racing or enjoying a speedy weekend on the ice. Contact the Lake Pepin Ice Yacht Club for more information.
From November through April, bald eagles migrate along the Mississippi River, and about 50 nesting pairs remain in the Lake Pepin area year-round. See them perch, soar and fish. There are many spots on the Great River Road between Lake City and Wabasha that offer thrilling, close-up viewing opportunities.
Lake City, Minnesota is privileged to be nestled along the beautiful shores of Lake Pepin, a breathtaking landmark with incredible scenic and historic value. The significance of the lake, both to its immediate surroundings and those far reaching, is currently being presented in a proposal to name Lake Pepin an official UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) heritage site.
UNESCO is a worldwide organization that seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. There are 23 current World Heritage sites in the United States, including Grand Canyon National Park and the Statue of Liberty.
Lake Pepin is a 22-mile-long, 2-mile-wide natural broadening of the Mississippi, covering 30,000 acres with majestic bluffs surrounding a natural lake of stunning beauty with cities and towns trickling down it’s shores. Some of these cities include Maiden Rock, Reads Landing and Stockholm. However, Lake City remains to be the largest settlement on Lake Pepin’s shores. Due to its prime real estate, Lake City has benefitted from the bounties of Lake Pepin since before it’s incorporation in 1872. The depth of the lake allowed for the construction and use of a port, amplifying the towns profitable market status and greatly increasing Lake City’s volume of trade. Steamboats had become an important means of transportation and commerce in the 19th century and Lake Pepin was no exception.
Lake Pepin’s most famous and cherished characteristic remains it’s significant place in watersport history. Popularly known as “The Birthplace of Waterskiing”, Lake City is where Ralph Samuelson, at the young age of 19, successfully took to Lake Pepin with his home-made water skis made of pine boards that measured a whopping eight feet long and nine inches wide. In the summer of 1922 Samuelson performed the sport for the first time in front of an audience on Lake Pepin’s ideal waters, effectively putting Lake City’s name and Samuelson’s in the history books.
Water sports in the 1920’s hadn’t made their breakthrough into becoming the popular pastime that they are today. Thus the site of Samuelson skipping across the water’s surface struck intrigue among his spectators. Samuelson began performing water ski shows from Michigan to Florida which spread interest in the new sport across America.
The spark Samuelson ignited turned water skiing into the world wide sport that it is today with participants ranging from Asia to Africa. In the United States alone, there are approximately 11 million water skiers and over 900 sanctioned water ski competitions every year. Lake City even has its very own celebration for the ‘Father of Water Skiing’ called Water Ski Days in June.
In the 1930’s the Lake’s beauty was recognized in the work of famous author, Laura Ingalls Wilder when she and her family take their wagon to the shores of Lake Pepin in the chapter ‘Going to Town’ of Little House In the Big Woods. Laura describes her first look at Lake Pepin in the following exert:
“After a long time Laura began to see glimpses of blue water between the trees.” … “Then all at once the road came out of the woods and Laura saw the lake. It was as blue as the sky, and it went to the edge of the world. As far as she could see, there was nothing but flat, blue water.” The scenic lake makes another appearance in Wilder’s most famous book, Little House on the Prairie in the chapter “Going West”.
William Cullen Bryant once said, “Lake Pepin ought to be visited by every poet and painter in the land.” The proposal for Pepin’s World Heritage Site status exemplifies this idea to best if it’s ability. Being named as an UNESCO World Heritage site is a highly prestigious designation, reserved for unique sites like Lake Pepin that are of outstanding value to humanity, for cultural or natural reasons. The 43rd World Heritage Committee meets to consider and evaluate Lake Pepin and other site contenders in Baku, Azerbaijan from June 30 to July 10th of this year. We anxiously await their decision to deservingly commemorate Lake Pepin’s outstanding value to humanity.