If a quality fishing hole is defined as one that serves up fish like a Catholic church basement during Lent, yet is generally avoided by meddlesome fellow anglers, then the phallic northeastern tip of Pike Island is a glorious hole indeed. Here the mighty Mississippi and the modest Minnesota converge, creating a confluence of sport fish that teem in the early season (Ford Dam, a favorite spawning hole, is just upstream). Boaters have an easy enough time reaching the spot, but the real beauty of the river here lies on its shore, a luxurious outpost only available to those determined enough to lug their rods and tackle boxes a mile and a half up the walking trail (no motor vehicles or bicycles allowed, thank you). Early risers are treated to the choicest walleye fishing, as that's both the best time to nab the finicky feeders and the hour that sees the least boat traffic. Northerns and smallmouths can also be found along the shores and inlets, and later in the day—and into the warmer summer months—carp and cats appear in droves. They'll give you a better fight than those tastier species, which is really what you're after anyway. It might feel like you're a hundred miles north of the city when you're on Pike Island, but those river pollutants and mercury levels tell a fish tale of a far more urban—and sadly less edible—latitude.