I lived in this area for 5 years. This place is one of the absolute best kept secrets in the State of Minnesota. When fishing season opens the Northern Pike are waiting in line to be caught and it is a blast. All summer long the fish are always biting and 99% of the people fishing are really fun to talk to and get to know. Many locals and a lot of Tourists. The mil has a really good free video in their self guided tour and to see this 4 or 5 story mill is amazing and it it still in pretty darn good shape. The mill was built in the late 1800's and used an "undershot water wheel" to power the mill.
These were the latest technology then and they replaced the big circular water wheel on the outside you see on many old mills. I can not tell you how many days I fished there that the folks on the lakes were not catching any fish and I was catching them by the boat loads. The game wardens watch this place very carefully and they check your catch, so make sure you are licensed and you know the limits. You can catch Northern Pike, Large-mouth and Small-mouth Bass, Crappie, Bream, Red Eye, Walleye, etc. as this is a dam on the Ottertail River and it is a natural gathering place for tons of minnows and you will see the minnows swimming all over the place and that is why the fishing is so great. If it is a rainy day, you can go inside the mill to get out of the rain. Also what is very neat is that on the lower side of the dam the sun will not hit you until about 2pm in the afternoon as the mill building is so tall, because it is 4 or 5 floors. There is a wonderful park with plenty of covered picnic tables, so many reunions are here because it is so peaceful and you can hear the rushing water from the dam. There is also running water at the park, if you get thirsty and also 2 or 3 out houses, if nature calls. I am flying up to visit my wife's relatives tomorrow in Breckenridge, MN and you can bet your sweet zippy that you will find me with a rod and reel in my hand and plenty of live bait. If you have never fished, just watch what the locals do and then drive over to Ottertail Lake a few miles away and there is a story that has all the fishing gear and live bait you need and the guy is really nice and helpful. This mill is in the county (Ottertail County, Minnesota) that has more lakes (over 1,000!!!) than any other county in the entire state of Minnesota. Phelps Mill is a little bit of HEAVEN and amazing relaxing to me and I LOVE THIS PLACE! They also have a great Crafts Fair held usually around 4th of July, put on by the locals and the Churches provide a lot of great Norwegian and German Foods that their early ancestors ate and the Crafts and incredible and all are judged to get into the fair. It draws thousands every year and it definitely worth your day. Any Spring or Summer Day at Phelps Mill to me is a Great Day and best of all I ALWAYS CATCH A LOT OF FISH! Oh, yes, there is a really neat store right across the street, from the mill and you will want to look around there, as they usually have some nice hat, paintings, tee-shirts, photos, etc., and you can get some great mementos of your trip to the mill there. WHY DID I WRITE A BOOK, because no other review came even close to describing what a real jewel of a beautiful, cool, peaceful place this is to visit, relax and fish all summer long. (By the way, I was raised in Mississippi and, take it from a Mississippi Boy, it is WAY TOO COLD to visit in the winter, so leave that to the locals, but no finer place on earth to visit than in the summer! Visit it and look the mill and park over and fish with your family, have a blast and then go back and leave a review, as to what a great time you and your family had. There are plenty of resorts on lakes in the area you can stay at or bed and breakfasts or also you can stay at motels in various towns. I LOVE PHELPS MILL!!!!!!!!!
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