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With several beautiful lakes in the county, it is not difficult to figure out why a large portion of Murray County’s recreational activities involve water. Boating and fishing are a popular past time for residents as well as visitors.
Boating, wakeboarding and water skiing
If boating is your thing, Murray County has some of the best lakes to do it on. Wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing, or just touring around are popular ways to enjoy the long summer days.
How about a scenic canoe trip along the banks of Shetek to get a closer glimpse at southwest Minnesota’s abundant wildlife? Canoes can be rented at the State park.
• Corabelle Lake
A 107 acre Lake located three miles south of Iona. Public access is on the south side of the lake. Fish Stocked: 1999 Black Crappie adult 240, White Crappie adult 68. The maximum depth of Corabelle Lake is approximately 6 feet and the primary bottom type is sand.
• Current Lake
A 377 acre lake located off Highway 91 between Lake Wilson and Balaton. There is public access on the east and northwest sides of the lake. Fish Stocked: 1996 Walleye Fry 295,302, 1997 Walleye Fingerling 1,476, 1999 Walleye Fry 305,075, 2000 Walleye Fingerling 6,863. Walleye and black crappie have been the mainstay of the Current Lake fishery for many years.
• Fulda Lake
A 179 acre lake located just south of Fulda. There is public access on the north and south ends of the lake. Fish Stocked: 1995 Channel Catfish Fingerling 4,674, 1997 Walleye Fingerling 385, 1998 Channel Catfish Fingerling 2,957, 1999 Walleye Fry 110,050, 2000 Walleye Fingerling 2,781. First Fulda has a maximum depth of 6.5 feet.
• Lake Sarah
A 1,093 acre lake located north of Lake Shetek on Highway 59. There is public access on the east and west sides of the lake. Lake Sarah has provided a quality walleye fishery for many years. The lake is managed for walleye as the primary species with yellow perch as a secondary species.
• Lake Shetek
A 3,808 acre lake five miles north of Slayton off Highway 59. There is public access on the northeast, northwest, southeast, west and east sides of the lake. Fish stocked: 1996 Walleye Fry 2,517,098, 1997 Walleye Fry 2,501,000, 1999 Walleye Fry 2,623,645.
• Summit Lake
A 77 acre lake located just south of Hadley. There is public access on the northeast side of the lake. Fish Stocked: 1995 Largemouth Bass Adult 17, 1997 Walleye Fingerling 303, 2000 Walleye Fingerling 1,407 & Largemouth Bass Adult 216.
• Lake Wilson
A 170 acre lake located just east of Lake Wilson. There is public access off Highway 30. Fish Stocked: 1996 Black Crappie Adult 116, 1999 Walleye Fingerling 2,040
• Lime Lake
A 338 acre lake located just north of Avoca. There is public access on the northeast and southwest sides of the lake. Lime Lake has a maximum depth of 7 feet. The lake is managed for northern pike and yellow perch.
Finding places to hunt in Murray County is fairly easy with approximately 65 State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) and Federal Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA’s) totaling about 9,000 acres. These areas are open to the public for hunting, trapping and wildlife observation. Most areas are grassland containing wetlands of varying sizes and some contain food plots and woody cover areas consisting of shrubs and conifers. A few areas contain woodlands.
Talcot WMA is located seven miles east of Fulda on the Murray – Cottonwood county line and is over 3,000 acres in size. It offers a controlled goose, hunt and hunting opportuni¬ties for ducks, deer, pheasants and other small game.
Murray County has about 12,000 acres of land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This federal farm program pays landowners to take cropland out of production and establish wildlife habitat. Permission must be obtained before hunting on any private land. A plat book of the county can be purchased at the court house for a nominal fee.
The most popular game species ‘pursued in the county are white-tailed deer, pheasant; ducks and geese. Less popular game animals are Hungarian partridge, crow, squirrels, rabbits, raccoon, fox and coyote. Archery, muzzle loader and shotgun with slug hunts are available in Murray County.
Pheasant populations vary from year to year depending on the weather the previous year and spring nesting season. Good numbers of pheasants can be found in good habitat areas following mild winters and dry springs.
The local Canada goose population is ample enough to provide liberal hunting seasons during September and December. However, Canada goose hunting during October and November is more conservative than the rest of the state to protect non-local goose populations that migrate through the area.
Duck hunting is good at times which is dependent mainly on the timing of the ducks migrating through the area and on the condition of of habitat and water levels in the area marshes.
Take a walk with nature and become a “birder”.
Did you know that birding is the number one sport in America? According to US Fish and Wildlife Service, there are currently 51.3 million birders in the United States, and this number continues to grow!
At the Lake Shetek State Park, birders have been really exited about seeing the Pileated woodpeckers who inhabit the park. The woodpecker is easily recognized by their size of 16-19 inches, and their loud “laugh-like” call. The State Park has a birding kit you can rent for a day. The kit includes binoculars as well as a birding guide to help you find the numerous birds that inhabit the picturesque countryside.
Lake Shetek State Park
163 State Park Road
Currie, MN 56123
WINTER HOURS: Please call in advance if you want to rent a birding kit during the winter hours.
Casey Jones State Trail
The hard work of forward-thinking people in the late 1960’s resulted in the Casey Jones Trail being the first legislatively authorized state trail in Minnesota. It was originally a thirteen-mile segment from Pipestone to the Murray County line, opened for horseback riding and hiking in the early 1970’s. During a resurgence of public interest in trails in the early 1990’s, local citizens revived the original dream and went to work. In 1997, a small section west of Lake Wilson was opened for hiking. A six mile paved loop trail connecting Lake Shetek State Park with Murray County’s End-O-Line Park in Currie was constructed in 1996 and later included in the state trail authorization. In 2008, a five mile paved stretch of the trail was opened, heading east from the city of Pipestone.
Using the Trail
The trail consists of three main sections, not yet connected to one another:
Thirteen miles between the city of the Pipestone and the Pipestone/Murray County line. Five miles of that section are paved, from a trailhead in the city of Pipestone to Pipestone County Highway 16. There is a naturally-surfaced trail parallel to the paved section for horse, mountain bike and snowmobile use.
A naturally-surfaced segment runs from one and a half miles west of Lake Wilson into the city of Lake Wilson.
A six mile, paved loop between Lake Shetek State Park and the city of Currie.
Horseback riding is not permitted on the paved sections of the trail.
Parking is available at the following locations:
In Pipestone, off Highway 23 at the trailhead
At the community park in Woodstock
At the community park in Lake Wilson
In Currie, at the End-O-Line Railroad Park & Museum
In Lake Shetek State Park
Check out this URL for additional information on using the Casey Jones State Trail: www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_trails/casey_jones.
Friends of the Casey Jones Trail Association
The Friends of the Casey Jones Trail Association is a non-profit corporation, formed to advocate for the continued development of the Casey Jones State Trail. The dream for this group is to have a multi-seasonal, multi-use trail to run diagonally from the southwest corner of Minnesota to the Minnesota River: A trail of over 100 miles. With other trails groups in the region creating trails as well, there is potential for a vast, interconnected series of trails crisscrossing Southwest Minnesota!
For information on the Friends of the Casey Jones Trail Association, visit their website at www.caseyjonestrail.org.