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Dock Talk: What's on your minnow bucket list?

Anglers looking to catch big fish and experience areas outside of their comfort zone should compile their personal "Minnow Bucket List" of the destinations they'd like to visit. Guide Jim Hudson of Bayfield, Wis. presents a trophy brown trout that you could possibly catch within a reasonable distance from Park Rapids. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

While walking through the crowd before one of the final Nevis Tiger's home football games, I ran into Bob Guelker, an outdoors enthusiast through and through.

As our paths intersected and our gazes met, we both offered a smile, a nod, and that's when it happened.

Bob asked me a simple yet complex question. It was almost in slow motion, lips barely moving in summary as I recall, no-shave November facial hair rising and falling as the words hung in the air with a northern Minnesota drawl in the crispness of the autumn air.

It was like you'd see in the replay of a questionable play on the football field. A debatable query, yet one that we don't usually think about.

"What's your minnow bucket list?" he asked.

"Huh?" I replied. "Minnow bucket list?"

Bob explained, "Your minnow bucket list is all the lakes you'd love to visit."

"Before I die?" I asked, associating his comments with the life fulfilling bucket list.

"No, no," Guelker quipped. "The minnow bucket list includes the bodies of water you'd like to visit."

This was a tough question. There are so many local lakes that I adore, waters that I've been to over and over that have so many memories. But that doesn't mean there aren't others that I'd like to experience.

So because of Bob, I've compiled a minnow bucket list of some great bodies of water we should all experience, ranging from logistically feasible for a day trip to the once in a lifetime experience.

#1 -Northern Border Waters. If you've never been to Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, Kabetogema or the Rainy River on the Canadian border, the answer is simple; "Do it!"

Walleye, northern pike, muskies, smallmouth bass, crappies and perch are all prolific species within a couple hours from Park Rapids.

#2-Leech, Mille Lacs, Winnie or Cass lakes. Super walleye and perch populations and big possibilities for muskies and bass make these good-sized bodies of water key locations for great fishing trips on the ice or in the boat.

Some people get intimidated by the larger lakes, but take it one step at a time. Pick a bay and treat that as it's own lake.

#3 Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior. Whether you're after trout, salmon or the monstrous smallmouth near the famous Apostle Islands, it doesn't take long to arrive at this destination, 86 miles from Duluth. Contact Jim Hudson (Hudson@fishchequame gon for more information.

#4-Lake El Salto, Mexico. At approximately 24,000 acres, El Salto's Anglers Inn resort sits Along the Sierra Padre Mountains and there's one specific target for your trip -largemouth bass. Not only great numbers of bass, but some of the largest in the world. See more at

#5-Alaska. This is a great idea; salmon and halibut, not to mention wildlife like eagles, whales and bears more prolific that anywhere on earth. Not to mention big fish. Go to

Hopefully our minnow bucket lists will be fulfilled sooner versus later.