Every September we try to take a family camping trip, usually to Silver Island Lake in Lake County, MN. This year, my husband, Dad, chocolate lab, and I headed up to the lake for a few days of camping and fishing. Usually, this trip requires warm gloves and long underwear, but this September has been feeling more like summer with sunny warm days and cool nights. Perfect weather for camping out.
We tried a new route up to the lake, as the bridge on the 600 Road near the Sawbill Trail is being replaced. And boy, we found our new favorite way to go. Take Highway 61 south, just past Temperance River and take a right onto Temperance Road. This road dead ends at the 600 Road (Forest Road 166), which will bring you into Lake County. In the fall you’ll still see some great colors without spending quite so much time on the usually washboard-y 600 Road.
We arrived at the campground in time to set up our tent and head out onto the water to watch the sun set. Quite the color show that night! My Dad had arrived earlier in the week, so we had our favorite campsite, just to the right of the boat launch. It has its own dock, so it makes it easier with the fishing boat. We often bring our canoe as well, but we left it at home this time. Someday we’ll bring it again and make the paddle over to Tee Lake, which is connected to Silver Island Lake by a portage.
This is the campsite we like to get, but for those that are a bit more adventurous, the old boat launch is also a spot to camp that provides more privacy. With Dad’s camper is doesn’t work to drive in there any more, but our car has made it in the past. It is marked on the map by the main boat launch, but later in the season the road is easy to miss as it isn’t marked. It is easier to find from the water.
We had fun fishing despite the fish not biting much (one small walleye and one northern were all we caught). But when the fish aren’t biting, sometimes its more tempting to pull out the cribbage board for a game of three-handed cribbage. While my parents were avid cribbage players, I didn’t really learn until late high school when my good friend taught me. I sometimes think cribbage playing is a required Northern Minnesota skill, just after wood splitting.
The great part about a nice fall weekend is that it is enjoyable to be out, whether the fish are biting or not. Even our dog, Maya, did well being out in the boat and checking out our usual from-shore fishing spot. She, of course, most relished finding some fish bones to eat on that adventure. She’s good at reminding us that she is a dog.
All good things, and weekends, must come to an end. With nice weather, we thought we’d string it out just a bit longer and stop at the Trestle Inn for lunch on our way home. The grilled cheese was good!
Until the next outdoor adventure…