The Rum River, a 148 mile river of gradual grade, is rich in history. The French explored it. The Chippewa and Sioux fought along it, and the pine logs that helped build the cities of the Midwest were floated down it during the lumber boom of the 1800's. The Rum was particularly prized because it spilled its bounty of logs into the Mississippi River above the falls of St. Anthony. Like the Mississippi River to the west and the St. Croix River to the east, it carried away the vast pine stands of east-central Minnesota in less than 50 years.
The Rum's name is an interesting story in itself. The Sioux referred to Lake Mille Lacs, the source of the Rum, as Spirit Lake. Europeans apparently mistranslated "Spirit" to "Rum."
The Rum is a river for beginning and intermediate canoeists. Flows are moderate, rapids are few, and the river is generally shallow, with the exception of the extreme southern reach. The Rum is a designated Wild and Scenic River, which means state Legislation preserves and protects its outstanding scenic, recreational, and historic, values. The Rum River was added to Minnesota's Wild & Scenic Rivers program in 1978. The designated stretch extends through Mille Lacs, Sherburne, Isanti and Anoka counties.
For those who enjoy fishing, the river offers three popular game fish species, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye. The best fishing tends to be in the middle and lower stretches of the river where the water is deeper. Smallmouth bass up to 19 inches long have been found by DNR Fisheries sampling crews in Isanti County and walleye as long as 28 inches in Anoka County.
For wildlife watchers, the river corridor holds white-tailed deer, beaver, mink, muskrat and raccoon. Hawks, osprey, owls and eagles are common. The aspen stands along the river are excellent for ruffed grouse. Squirrels and chipmunks thrive in the maple and oak stands. The Rum River corridor is considered one of the top birding locations in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area.