West Rush Lake in Chisago County is known for some of the best fishing in proximity to the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. About 1 hour north of both cities, Rush Lake is comprised of two large bodies of water, with hugely varied structures. East Rush Lake is the least structured of the two, but West Rush Lake boasts several islands, on of which is a national Scientific and Natural Area. The island was the first in the nation to be named as such in 1974, because of its active Great Blue Heron rookery. There can be as many as 500 nests each year, one of the largest rookeries of its' kind. Black crowned herons can also be found on the island, which is off limits to foot traffic from April 15 through July 15 in order to protect the young herons. Air traffic is also forbidden over the island, and is noted on all maps as such. A trip to the island in the winter is eery, as the abandoned nests, dead fledglings hanging from trees and an old truck abandoned in the 1950s cast a spell over the winter shadows....
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