Fishing in Minnesota

Last updated on July 8th, 2021 at 06:28 pm. Originally published on July 7th, 2021

Minnesota is called “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” so it’s easy to find a place to relax on the water. Many people go to the northern part of the state, called the Boundary Waters, to canoe, and kayak. Those living in the state’s bigger cities, like Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Grand Rapids, find rivers in or near their cities. The great Mississippi River starts in the state. Anglers find good fishing spots near almost every location in Minnesota. Before you head out, however, remember to check for state and location-specific fishing regulations and get your license. 

A red canoe on a rocky shore of a calm blue lake surrounded by trees under a wispy cloud-filled sky

Fishing Spots in Minnesota

Red Lake

Red Lake is the largest lake in Minnesota. Note that much of this lake is under Chippewa Native American control, and you cannot fish within that part of the lake. That still leaves you over 48,000 acres where you can fish for northern pike, walleye, and crappie. The best fishing at this lake near Bemidji often occurs in May and June although ice fishing is a popular activity on this lake as well. 

Steiger Lake

Steiger Lake covers only 166 acres, but it’s a terrific place to go fishing for northern pike, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, and walleye. It’s also easy to fish from the 2.3 miles of shoreline at this location. This lake lies in the middle of Carver Park Reserve in Victoria. There’s a public boat ramp on the southeast corner of the lake. The state is adding nutrients to this lake, so fish should grow even bigger. 

Leech Lake

Located near Walker, Leech Lake is a fantastic spot to go walleye fishing. The four piers are a great place to go perch fishing in March and again in October. Fish for walleye in shallower water in the spring before using bouncers and spinners to fish for them in deeper water during the warmer summer months. During the fall, anglers often catch 50-inch muskies at this location. You can fish from the shore at this lake, but if you want a more secluded area, then head out in a canoe to the lake’s middle. 

Lake Winnibigoshish

Lake Winnibigoshish, often called Lake “Winnie” in the Deer River region, is the fifth-largest lake in Minnesota. Fish using minnows along the shores in early spring to catch walleye. Then, once the mayfly larvae hatch, switch to using nightcrawlers and leeches in the Tamarack Bay area and enjoy catching various fish. Perch can easily be caught by trolling in the Tamarack Bay area during the early summer months. Walleye are easily caught from shore during the spring and from deeper water during the warmer months. 

Lake Andrew

Lake Andrew, near New London, is a great place to go walleye and northern pike fishing. Consider heading to Sibley State Park at the north end of this lake. This 735-acre lake has 5.4 miles of shoreline. While this is an excellent place to go black crappie fishing, the Northern pike fishing is also outstanding at this location, with anglers often catching fish longer than 30 inches. This lake is also an ideal place to go largemouth bass fishing in the spring. Additionally, anglers often catch drum weighing about 3 pounds. 

Pokegama Lake

Pokegama Lake is the largest of the lakes formed by the Mississippi River in the Grand Rapids area. Especially in the Tioga Bay area, this can be a fantastic place to go early-spring walleye fishing. Fish near the main island during the summer months for walleye. Additionally, this lake’s humps and spots where there are not many weeds are ideal spots to go smallmouth bass fishing in the summer. Some of the best walleye fishing happens in the fall. 

Trout Lake

Trout Lake near Grand Marais is a great place to go lake trout fishing. This glacier lake is a natural lake trout fishery, and it’s also stocked regularly with rainbow trout. This lake in the Chippewa National Forest is also a great place to go walleye and northern bass fishing. While you can easily reach this lake that’s only about a mile east of Minnesota Highway 38, many anglers tend to forget about it, so you can easily escape the crowds often found at other lakes. 

 Lake Louise

Lake Louise near Le Roy is in Lake Louise State Park. If you love to go bluegill fishing, this lake should be near the top of your list as anglers often catch 7-inch bluegills. Furthermore, anglers regularly catch northern pike on this lake that are about 21 inches long. Yellow perch, pumpkinseed, yellow bullhead, brown bullhead, black bullhead, green sunfish, and largemouth bass are often caught. Upper Iowa and Little Iowa rivers feed this lake, and some of the best fishing occurs near these tributaries. 

Where to Fish in Minnesota

State officials have divided Minnesota into four different regions. Walleye fishing can be outstanding in the northwest area, but this area shines when it comes to northern pike fishing. From the Lake of the Woods to the Rainy River is a popular area for walleyes to spawn. Below this area is the southern region, offering outstanding flathead catfish and walleye fishing from canoes or the shore on the Minnesota River. Especially around the Hutchinson area, walleye fishing can be great, but this is also a great area to go bass fishing. Try bass fishing on Lake Stella and Lake Washington. East of the southern region, find good walleye and panfish fishing near Sauk Rapids, Hinckley and Little Falls. Finally, the lakes around Grand Rapids are a great option when deciding where to fish in Minnesota.

Camping and Fishing in Minnesota

Many of the best spots for fishing and camping in Minnesota are in state parks. There are great locations spread across the state, and if you are a Minnesota resident, you don’t need a license to fish in a state park as long as you’re not looking for a special trout stamp. While there are great options in the northern half of the state, they are more abundant in the southern half. This is especially true along the state’s eastern border, starting at Moose Lake State Park and continuing through Fort Snelling State Park. Many state parks have lovely campgrounds, and you can make online reservations. 

Making a list of the fishing supplies that you want to bring along can help ensure that nothing gets left at home. Don’t forget to include fish cleaning equipment so that you can enjoy a great meal in the evening. Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about fishing.

With an RV rental, your fishing trip will be a little more comfortable! After you’ve spent a long day fishing, grill up your catch right at your campsite. Then, retire inside to enjoy all the comforts of home on board your RV. Plan your perfect fishing getaway with an RV rental from RVshare.

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