Secret's out! USA Today names Upper Mississippi refuge a 'hidden gem'

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Anglers and hunters in search of prime places to play got a bucket list of sorts from USA Today, which identifies a dozen "hidden gems" in the 150 million acres that make up the waterways, beaches, marshes, woodlands, plains, prairies and mountains in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge that spans 261 river miles, 241,000 acres and four states--Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin--made the list.

"Its vastness offers innumerable backwaters, floodplain forests and bluffs where fish and game hide. And therein lie the hidden gems," the paper gushes. The article raves about the range of habitat to explore and the variety of activities for sportsmen and wildlife watchers . It included a list of creatures plentiful in the refuge, including white-tailed deer, canvasback, snow and Canada goose, wild turkey, ring-necked pheasant, ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, grey and fox squirrel, with fish including walleye, sauger, northern pike, bluegill, crappie, perch, largemouth and smallmouth bass, white bass, catfish, sturgeon.

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