Some of the best memories I had when growing up and getting into waterfowl hunting wasn't during actual hunting, it was when my mom brought me down to Silver Lake in Rochester, MN to see and feed the geese. A couple times each fall I would grab a five gallon bucket filled with corn and we would head into town. I remember the sights and sounds of that many geese, all eating out of my hand, and I remember most never wanting to leave.
Now, with a little man of my own we find ourselves visiting Silver Lake on a regular bases. We bring corn, chips, crackers, just about anything and they eat it all. The park around Silver Lake has changed quite a bit over the last 10 years, and there isn't as many geese as there used to be. Although one thing remains the same, I find myself never wanting to leave.
Silver Lake is a true pilar in the story and history of the Giant Canada Goose. Silver Lake is located right in the heart of Rochester, Minnesota and was a discharge lake for a coal burning power plant. The discharged water was five degrees warmer and this resulted in heating the lake. This allowed water to stay open all year round even during the harsh Minnesota winters. And the geese loved it.
The coal burning power plant was shut down in 2008 and now the lake freezes over. The city also put in high prairie grass with reflectors around Silver Lake to keep the geese away. You used to be able to buy corn at a vending machine to feed the geese, but all that was taken away too. The Giant Canada Geese have been coming to Rochester since the 1880's, and Silver Lake was an ingrained migration route for 60 years. Seems like they can take a lot away, but the Giant of the lake remains.