Tag Archives: minnesota

Choosing a Minnesota Wedding Venue

So here I am, recently engaged and I want to pick the perfect wedding venue. I don’t know about you other engaged ladies (and gentlemen), but I have a million things on my list of making my perfect wedding. I’m one of those girls who has dreamed of her wedding since she was little. I remember one summer when I was in junior high, my cousin and I bought a giant bridal magazine. As we paged through with wide eyes, we cut out all of the dresses, rings, shoes, accessories, and decorations we wanted for our wedding… someday in the far future!

Interestingly enough, most of the things I picked out then, like purple bridesmaid dresses, are the same things that I want now. But now there’s an even bigger picture. Like picking a venue both parent’s like, figuring out how we will budget for the giant affair, learning how much to tip on this and that, selecting a hair dresser, where to buy the dress, and the list goes on.

I’ve sent out like a hundred inquires to venues all over because I realized I had no idea where I wanted my life changing event to take place at. Part of me wants a gorgeous church wedding with an all white reception to follow. Picture starched white linens, calla lilies, and hydrangea.

And then there is the side of me that is addicted to purple. Picture majestic royal purple wedding. Maybe a light pink accent? Okay, I know that doesn’t go with the majestic theme, but oh well! It’s my wedding right?

As you can see I still have no idea what I want. Even after all these years! Lucky for me, I’ve still got plenty of time to plan! What I do know is I want is a venue who will work with me; from day one of planning to the night of my big event. I want a venue I can depend on. An on-site event planner? Yes please! A complimentary tasting of my menu before hand? Necessary! Not having to worry about tipping everyone who lifts a finger? Wouldn’t that be nice!

As a Madden’s employee, I’ll admit, I am a little biased. I love this place! Beautiful views. Wonderful service. Exceptional dining. I can’t think of a better place. My close friend Sarah just took over our weddings at Madden’s meaning she’ll be with you each step in the planning process; meeting in person for tastings and planning, over the phone meetings to iron out details, emails, and of course she’ll be there behind the scenes on your big day. Sarah is recently married and totally in tune with the wedding industry. She can connect you with many local vendors for everything you need from flowers to a DJ to photography.

Now, I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t chosen my venue yet. You see I am still teetering between my home state of Minnesota and my fiance’s home state of Florida. But I will give you a lead if you are looking for a Minnesota wedding. Madden’s on Gull Lake is fabulous. Period.

What you need to know to get started planning:

1. Visit Madden’s wedding page:
2. Submit an inquiry by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. (Make sure you fill in as much of the form as you can. It will help Sarah respond more quickly)
3. Sarah will email you with all of the basics so you can see how Madden’s can make your big day perfect.

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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Madden's Events


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Simple Fishing Tips for Northern MN Fishing

For our final fishing post of the week, I wanted to offer some tips for helping you improve your fishing experience. I gathered information from various websites and experts. Please let me know if you have any more advice you’d like to share with your fellow readers!

Fishing on your vacation…

“One tip that I have to offer is to hire a guide for a half day during the early stages of your vacation so you can learn some tips  and techiniques..and spots!  We normally don’t stop the boat unless we are marking the fish on our Lowrance electronics.” – Dan of Walleyedan’s Fishing Guide Service

Fishing for Walleyes…

“Use Light Line Light (4- and 6-pound-test), thin-diameter lines offer less drag, or resistance, on a lure. This lets a walleye suck it in more easily.

Bounce the Bait When you’re using live bait, McClelland recommends also using a bottom-bouncer rig. Bouncers are L-shaped wires that have a lead weight molded to the shaft. As an angler retrieves the rig, the weight bounces off the bottom and creates slack in the line, which allows the fish to inhale the bait more easily.

Shorten the Stroke Many jig fishermen pump their rods too vigorously, using long vertical strokes that can pull the bait out of a fish’s mouth. Use short lifts instead and you’ll hook more walleyes.

Offer a Bigger Bite Adding a plastic body to a jig also helps by increasing the surface area to which the fish’s sucking force is applied. It may seem counterintuitive, says McClelland, but a slightly bigger bait is easier for the fish to inhale.

Pump a Crank With crankbaits, steady retrieves may hook aggressive walleyes, but a stop-and-go technique is better for deliberate feeders. Once the lure achieves proper depth, lift the rod tip, reel in the slack, and repeat.

Troll With the Flow When the water has a chop, trolling with the waves imparts that necessary slight slack in the line. Also, keep a close eye on your inside planer board as you make a turn; it will give you that small amount of slack that allows for more solid strikes-and more walleyes in the boat.”

-Retrieved directly from:

Fishing for Bass…

“My favorite and most successful method is the crankbait. Others will argue, but I love crankbaits. I have fished all other baits and lures but crankbaits have helped me catch the most fish. It is a simple means of fishing that requires minimal skill. This suits a beginner fine and provides him with the confidence to fish. Fishing mostly with crankbaits has provided me with plenty of experience. Here are some tips:

The simple throwing and retrieving method can become very monotonous and boring, so I played with the crankbait in the water. I did this by varying its speed and how deep it goes by reeling faster or by lowering or raising the pole. I found that in calm clear water the bass preferred a regular steady retrieve with no sudden movements, and in choppy murky water they loved an irregular fast and slow retrieve. You must also experiment with this and see what suites you.

Bass love colorful lures and they seem to hit them more often. I think these lures bother them and so they get mad and attack. I find that casting over and over into an area with bass will always produce an attack. They don’t like the lures bothering them.

Using bait scent has always improved the strikes and I am a firm believer in them.

When you fish with these lures, always try to make them look good in the water and make the bass come after them. You can do this by making them swim as real as possible. This can be frustrating but if you get the skill you will catch big fish. And believe me, practice makes perfect.

I have found that using bright colored lures in muddy water and more natural ones in clear water works well. My biggest bass hit a bright yellow and white crankbait in dark water. I guess he was the bully of the area because the bigger bass always seem to grab these lures.

Bumping these lures against objects in the water attract fish, but you run the chance of getting the lure stuck. This will cause many terrible words coming from your mouth and could cost you money in the end. Be careful where you throw or you will loose your lure. Getting lures into little places is difficult so keep practicing it and you will get it right.”

-Retrieved directly from:

Fishing for Northern Pike…

Pike like to follow. If you will fish for them in shallow waters, you can see where to put your lure. Bring it from behind the fish, slowly, to draw its attention. Watch the way the fish reacts to the lure. Take this reaction and decide from here how to get the fish to strike. Pike will follow right up to the boat, so don’t take your lure out too soon.

Wear polarized sunglasses. Most folks fish for trophy pike in shallow waters… Polarized glasses do more than protect your eyes from the sun’s glare off the water or ice. They allow you to see into the water you are fishing,
making it easy to see which fish you want to try to catch.

Use a strong rod. You need a rod that is medium to heavy action to get the biggest and best Northern Pike. You don’t want one that is a broomstick type; this type will not let you feel the movement of the fish, thus, you won’t know which way best to fight the fish into the boat.

New, heavy test weight line. This should be obvious, but you don’t want to use last year’s line that you used for river trout on a big trophy Northern Pike. You need strong line that is not dry rotted, tangled or damaged by a
season (or more) in your tackle box.”

Retrieved directy from:

Fishing for Perch, Crappies, & Sunnies…

Not every fish you catch has to be a “trophy fish.” Perch, crappies, sunnies are great fun. Actually my favorite fishing memory was catch baby sunnies and throwing them back at an unheard of rate. These three fish, sometimes referred to as panfish can range in size though. You may even snag a “trophy” sunnie if your doing well.

Live bait is the best for panfish like perch, crappies, and sunnies. You can use bait easily found at local bait shops and convenience stores like leeches, night crawlers, wax worms or minnows.

And don’t forget to get your fishing supplies at Mills Fleet Farm!  Walleyedan

Enjoy your outing! Elizabeth

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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Fishing, Recreation


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Fishing in the Brainerd Lakes Area 101

A the name implies, the Brainerd Lakes Area is home to many lakes. And when there are lakes, there are fish. This week in our blog, we are happy to tell you about the many fishing opportunities available around the Brainerd Lakes area including our friend and fishing guide, Walleyedan. But first, how to get started fishing.

What you need:

Earth worms are great bait for this area's fish. You can purchase them from local bait shops or dig up your own!

  • Minnesota Fishing License. Fishing licenses are available at Madden’s Marina and Tennis & Corquet Club. You can also purchase them at many convenience stores, gas stations, and at Mills Fleet Farm.
  • Fishing pole. Fishing pole rentals are available at Madden’s Marina. Or you can purchase your own at local retailers or bait shops. Prices for purchasing a pole can begin as low as $10 or $15.
  • Bait. Fishing bait varies. It will depend on many factors including the type of fish you are trying to catch, whether you want live bait or synthetic bait, and your experience level. For first timers, I suggest using earth worms from a bait shop. If you are not up for hooking a worm, try using a simple bait recommended by a sales associate or frozen corn.

Fishing Locations

The great thing about fishing is that you don’t have to own a boat to do it. Fishing is a pastime that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels. Here are a few ideas for locations to get you started.

  • A Bridge. Often times in small towns, bridges become a hotspot for fishermen and women. You will get to enjoy the view of the lake as you cast off from the bridge.
  • A Dock. Many public docks allow visitors to fish from them. Or if you have a friend with a dock, you can pull up a lawn chair and sit back and relax while you fish. Madden’s resort has several docks available for our guests’ use.
  • On a Boat. Whether you own or rent a boat, fishing can be great fun on a boat because you are able to maneuver into different areas of the lake. I suggest dropping anchor in a spot surrounded by weeds or grass. The fish like to hide there! Be careful though to not get grass in your boat’s propeller.

Good luck anglers, Elizabeth

**Share your favorite fishing hotspots with all of our readers by commenting below**

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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Fishing, Local Tidbits, Recreation


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Madden’s Golf Courses Offer Something For Everyone

This week our blog posts are all about golf. To kick it off, we wanted to tell you a little bit about our courses. One of our Golf Managers, Tom, shares his take on our four courses.

The Classic

The Classic at Madden's

The most anticipated golf course to play in the Brainerd Lakes Area is in pristine shape. The greens are beautiful and rolling great. As you play the first hole you capture what the Classic is all about. After your drive on #1 you get your first glimpse of Bass Lake. The scenery is incredible. You must keep your head in the game as each hole can jump up and grab you. Double bogey lurks everywhere! A great challenge.

Pine Beach East

Pine Beach East at Madden's

A terrific 18 hole test of golf. Starting from the renowned Madden Inn deck the first tee shot gives the most seasoned golfer the shanks. The deck can be crowded with a lot of resorters. The greens are many golfers favorites in the Brainerd Lakes area.They putt true and are a real treat. Once you make a ten footer it seems like you can make them all. The most talked about hole is #6–a par six!!! Bring your guns and hold on for dear life. A birdie is a good possibility here.

Pine Beach West

Pine Beach West at Madden's

Pine Beach West winds through the forests between Gull lake and Sylvan lake. This picturesque 18 hole gem challenges your accuracy from tee to green. Precise shots will reward you with attempts at birdies. The pace of play at this course is always refreshing. The staff is always ready to give you first class service. Come on out!!

Madden’s Social 9

An aerial view of the Social 9 at Madden's

Consists of eight par threes and one par four-the finishing hole. Tune up your game on this fun filled course that has views of Gull lake. Par is not easy and the course challenges all abilities of golfers. The Social 9 is relaxed and casual.

See you soon

We hope you will be able to get out and enjoy each of the courses. Did you know we are open until late October? Please visit our website or call (800) 642-5363 for tee times.

Tom, Pine Beach East & Pine Beach West Golf Manager


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