Top Minnesota Lakes

 

 

Minnesota Fishing

Minnesota features more than 10,000 lakes and 15,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams. Anglers could spend many happy lifetimes here fishing the waters throughout the state. Gamefish are abundant, ranging from local favorites such as Walleye, Northern Pike, and Panfish to Muskie, Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass. Not only are there lots of fish and lots of places to fish on your next Minnesota Fishing Trip, but there are plenty of locations that make it easy for anglers to get out on the water. In all, there are more than 3,000 public boat launch ramps across Minnesota, and this easy access is one of the many reasons why fishing is so popular here. MinnesotaFishingReports.net is your source for the most detailed information on Minnesota Fishing Reports, the Top Minnesota Fishing Lakes, Fishing Resorts, Fishing Guides, Campgrounds, Public Boat Launches, Lake Maps, Minnesota Fishing Tips and much MORE.

 

 

 

Minnesota Fishing Reports

This report is brought to you by Explore Minnesota Tourism, with information provided by statewide tourism organizations and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

 

Bemidji Area Fishing

 

Summer fishing patterns have taken, with anglers trying to cover as much water as possible when searching for active fish. Metabolism rates increase for fish in warmer waters, which forces them to feed more often when temperatures turn warm. Walleyes will usually move towards shallower waters when they are actively feeding, and move towards deeper water when they are resting and need to seek out cooler waters away from direct sunlight. Lakes stained by tannic acid or algae allow walleyes and other light sensitive species to feed more comfortably for longer periods during the day. The best walleye bite this summer has been on Upper Red Lake, where many walleyes continue to feed along the shoreline break. Most anglers have been fishing in 5-8 feet of water, although some anglers have also been finding walleyes away from the shoreline break in slightly deeper waters. Some of the other lakes in the Bemidji area with a decent walleye bite include Blackduck, Bemidji and Cass Lake. Most lakes have a least a few walleyes biting, with the best bites during low light hours. Anglers fishing 16-24 feet of water have had the most success. And a few walleyes continue to be found in the weeds feeding along with the perch and northern pike. Bass fishing continues to be good in most of the smaller lakes and shallow bays of the larger lakes. Bass are using the outside edge of the weeds on lakes with few predators to compete with, whereas bass tend to stick to the shallowest covers in lakes with lots of other gamefish species.

 

Brainerd Lakes Area Fishing

 

The best walleye bite has been on Round, North Long, and Whitefish lakes. Anglers report lots of smaller walleyes some days, and some nice-sized fish on other days. The majority of quality walleyes are coming from 15-21 feet of water on fireball jigs and fathead minnows worked close to the weed edges. The mid-lake humps and islands are holding fish, along with some shoreline points, turns, and breaklines. Use the wind when you can, especially when it's consistently blowing. Fish have been mixed together, with bass, northern pike, walleyes, sunfish and crappies often in the same weed beds. Look for the most bass, pike and walleyes at the deep weedlines, and the crappies and sunnies on top of the weeds. Panfish are responding best to light bobber setups.

 

Detroit Lakes Fishing

 

Walleyes are scattered and several patterns exist. In the deeper, clearer lakes, walleyes are holding off the mid-lake structure in 24-32 feet of water. Most of these fish are responding to spinners and slow death rigs, minnow raps, and lead line crankbait fishing. Area lakes that are stained or have active algae blooms generally produce fish in shallower depths, with jig and minnow combinations, and live bait rigs with minnows, leeches and crawlers working best in depths of 12-18 feet. Mid-lake structure and long extending points into main lake areas are the best locations, especially when they are wind swept. Larger crappies are hitting small jigs tipped with minnows or plastics, especially when rip jigged. Sunfish continue to bite in or near weeds on all area lakes. The nicest sized fish have been holding in deeper waters off the outside edges of the weeds. Bass anglers are having success when casting to the flats and docks with jigs and plastics. Northern pike are chasing spoons, crankbaits, and large sucker minnows worked on the outside edges of cabbage patches.

 

Grand Rapids Fishing

 

Fishing in the Grand Rapids area continues to heat up. Good to great reports are coming in from most area lakes, including Pokegama, Trout, and Splithand. Anglers pulling crankbaits on Big Winnie and Cutfoot Sioux lakes are taking walleyes and northern pike, with some trophy-size fish in the mix. For the most walleyes, use crankbaits over the shallow bars and weeds. A jig and minnow fished on the sliding slopes of midlake structure has also worked well. Smallmouth and largemouth bass continue to be very aggressive, hitting spinnerbaits and even jig and minnow combinations when casted near the submerged rocks or weedy islands. Panfish have been active during evening hours near the weedlines, dropping deeper during the day.

 

Hackensack Area Lakes Fishing

 

Most walleyes are still coming in on spinners and crawlers worked on Leech and other area lakes. For the most fish, located the flats or edges where you can make a long drift or run; 1-1.5 mph is probably the best speed. Keep an eye on your electronics for areas of schooled fish. Bass fishing remains great, and the thicker the weeds, the better the fishing. Launch weedless frogs as far as you can, and be ready to go after fish with the boat. Smallmouth bass are hanging off the first edge of the rocks, and at times cruising the shallows. Pull a shallow-running crankbait across the flats, crossing the first breakline and banging the rocks as you go for the most action. Topwater baits should also work well. Crappie fishing is still very good at sundown. The best approach is to troll minnows or plastics at the deeper edges of the tall weeds. Muskie fishing also remains great, and the reports just keep getting better. The best reports are coming from the rock structure, weed edges and points, with bucktails, topwater, jerkbaits, bulldawgs and crankbaits all working well.

 

Lake of the Woods Fishing

 

A variety of methods are working on Lake of the Woods. Good reports are coming from anglers down-rigging and pulling spinners, with limits and quite a few trophy-size walleyes being taken. Some guides are concentrating on depths of 22-24 feet of water in waters north to Garden Island, West Bar and Hay Island. Others are working depths of 14-20 feet near the Lighthouse Gap. Hammered gold spinners with a leech or crawler are best. On the Rainy River, afternoon and evening fishing is producing nice limits. Walleyes are active in 15-17 feet of water, hitting 1-ounce jigs and spinners. Sturgeon numbers have been good just off the currents near deep pockets and adjacent streams. Up at the Northwest Angle, anglers pulling spinners are doing well in 22-30 feet of water near Little Oak and the Four Blocks. For the most action, use crawlers and gold or chartreuse colors

 

Lake Kabetogama Fishing

 

Anglers are having the most success when hitting the water between 6:30 & 7 a.m., and working slip sinkers with leeches or crawlers in depths of 20-28 feet at the reefs and shorelines with structure. Anglers wanting to try their luck fishing during late morning and mid-day hours should troll artificials through 12-18 foot depths, or troll lead line through 25-30 foot depths. From 5 p.m. until dark, the best action is again at the reefs, and in the shallow water areas when pitching small jigs with a leech or half a crawler close to shore or at the weed edges. Also consider fishing off the docks or from shore using a lighted bobber and minnow after dark. Expect walleyes to move a bit deeper this week, as the water continues to warm. Northern pike are becoming more active, with several trophy-size fish being taken. Smallmouth bass action may be the best it’s been this summer! Anglers report sauger and perch taking walleye offerings. Crappies are suspended, but difficult to locate.

 

Lake Mille Lacs Fishing

 

Most of the anglers fishing Lake Mille Lacs lately are either pursuing muskies and northern pike, or bobber fishing for walleyes during evening hours. The bite remains sporadic, with a fair number of smaller walleyes being taken. For the most walleyes, stick to leeches under a bobber, or deep-water trolling using crayfish and perch-colored patterns. Smallmouth bass action remains good in 8-15 feet of water. For the most action, use a leech and slip bobber, or a mid-sized plastic such as a fluke or tube.

 

Otter Tail Lakes Area Fishing

 

Anglers are finding walleyes in three major zones this week: the deep waters, the weed line/drop-offs, and the shallow upper edges. If you are only catching smaller walleyes and perch, then it’s time to move or switch lakes. Most species are very willing to eat right now, so if you locate a school you will likely catch a fish or two. Panfish and bass are still active in and around the weeds, both shallow and near drop-off edges, especially the deep weed edges in 20-25 foot depths. Most of the recent walleye action has been in the deeper area lakes with basins measuring 20-35 feet deep. For walleye fishing on lakes with shallow basins, concentrate on weed clumps, weedlines, and hard bottom areas. It’s common to find feeding walleyes in 6-10 feet of water all summer long in these shallow lakes. Most fish species can be located using heavy weight systems like bottom bouncers and spinner rigs tipped with minnows or crawlers. Once you get a bite or catch the right species of fish, fine-tune your rigging to better suit the species. Remember to toss out visual markers when you find a good spot with a school of fish.

 

Park Rapids Area Lakes Fishing

 

The lakes are full of prey so fish can be selective on what they choose to eat. Luckily, amazing weather conditions are expected to hold, making it easy and enjoyable to be out on the water. Expect mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the low to mid 80s this weekend! Walleye action has slowed a bit, but two methods continue to trigger these fish. The first is to pull a light-weight lindy style rig with a leech or crawler through 4-9 feet of water along the edge of the pencil reeds. White or lime green have been the best producing colors. The other effective method is to hit the deep-running points and sunken islands while trolling deep-diving, shad-style crankbaits. Large northern pike are at the bottom of the thermocline in 15-20 feet of water at the thick cabbage weed stands. Deep-diving 8- to 10-inch crankbaits generally entice a strike. Reel fast until your lure is at the desired depth, and then slow the action to make it appear like an easy meal. Panfish remain active, with most fish coming from the deep growing cabbage weed stands on flu flu-style jigs tipped with a worm or crappie minnow.

 

Rainy Lake Fishing

 

Walleye anglers, however, are eager to talk about the many fine walleyes coming from the submerged reefs throughout Rainy Lake. Leeches and minnows are the preferred bait, especially when worked in 25-35 feet of water. Anglers also report taking some large northern pike from areas near the submerged reefs. Some of the hottest spots are between Grindstone Island and the Brule Narrows; those fishing east of the Brule will probably do best closer to Kettle Falls. Rainy River walleyes continue to hit both above and below the Ranier Rapids, below the dam at International Falls, and near the mouth of the Little Fork River. In these areas, work areas with a current, avoiding aresa with the strongest current. Also try depths of 12-20 feet of water at a bend in the river, troll slowly against the current with a spinner rig and shiner minnow.

 

Lake Vermilion Fishing

 

The walleye bite has been very good on most of Lake Vermilion. Leeches and crawlers fished on a bait rig remain the most productive presentations. Mid- lake reefs with some rock and sand mixture are the best locations. Fish the tops and slopes of these reefs in depths of 16-26 feet of water for the most fish. There have been a lot of reports of great bluegill action along the west end of the lake. Successful anglers are using small leeches on top of the rocky reefs and points in depths up to 30 feet deep. Some reports of good crappie action are coming from the west end of the lake. Smallmouth and largemouth bass remain very active.

 

Lake Waconia Fishing

 

Lake Waconia bass have been very active, with multiple depths and techniques working well. With the August algae bloom, it's best to throw topwater baits such as scum frogs into the shallows, especially early in the morning--it’s always exciting to have a lunker largemouth slam your bait at the surface! Anglers should also try leeches in the weeds or at the weed edges in 10-15 feet of water. Areas to check out include North, Center, Pillsbury and Cemetery reefs. Texas-rigged worms, jigs and spinnerbaits are also producing some fish. Sunnies and crappies remain active at the weeds in 8-14 feet around Coney Island. Reefs with strong weeds may also produce fish. For sunnies, use a waxworm or piece of night crawler; for crappies, turn to crappie minnows. Walleyes and northern pike have been more active this summer than in previous years. The majority of fish are being taken during low-light hours. Areas to check out include Kegs, Anderson's and North reefs, as well as the area between the marinas. Weed action continues, with more fish coming from the weedlines than the deep water. While some nice-size fish are being reported, expect to do some sorting since most of the walleyes have been under the Lake Waconia 16-inch size limit. As for the northern pike, anglers have taking fish when bobber fishing with sucker minnows, using artificials such as spinnerbaits, and when trolling with crankbaits or spoons.

 

Willmar Area Lakes Fishing

 

Anglers have found that while it’s a bit harder to find fish with June lake water temperatures in mid-August, when you do, they are actively biting. Eagle and Diamond lakes are giving up sunnies, crappies and a few walleyes in 10-15 foot depths. Depths of 30-35 feet are producing sunnies, crappies and walleyes on Green Lake. Lakes Andrew and Florida are giving up northern pike, in addition to good numbers of sunfish, crappies, bass, and a few walleyes. Panfish anglers will also want to check out Point, Henderson, George and Elkhorn lakes.

 

Lake Winnie Fishing

 

Walleye action is picking up at the main lake bars on Lake Winnibigoshish. Areas to check out include from the big bend north at Bena Bar, Sugar Bar, Moses, Horseshoe and Center bars. Look to the main drop in 15-30 feet of water. If the fish aren’t biting, check the tops of the structure where they are often quite a ways back from the drop, with fish found suspended. Crawlers and leeches on rigs or with spinners are working well. The humps north and west of Bena Bar all the way over to Big Stoney are also giving up fish to anglers using the same methods. Perch are biting well, especially from Snag Hole over to River Bar in depths of 90-30 feet. The main lake bar drops at the basin are also producing fish. Anglers are having the most success when using jigs and fatheads in depths down to 35 feet. Northern pike are active at the weedline edges in 8-12 feet of water, with trolled crankbaits and spoons working best. Sunnies and crappies are active on most area lakes early and late in the day. For the most fish, hit the weed edges using small minnows or a piece of nightcrawler in depths of 7-12 feet.

 

Big Stone Lake Fishing

 

Both the quality and quantity of Big Stone Lake perch have been superb, with anglers and guides predicting that perch action will remain strong through the end of August! Manhattan Reef, Goose Isle, Grapevine, BayView, and Windmill Reef all are kicking out fish. While methods differ, the key is to keep the presentation simple and keep it just off the bottom. Some anglers are finding walleyes, but it can be a long process to get them to bite. The white bass are active, especially when there is a little wind at the points.

 

 

 

Minnesota Fishing

Minnesota Walleye Fishing

 

The Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota and is avidly pursued by anglers from spring through winter. Thanks to a combination of abundant natural spawning habitat and an aggresive stocking program, Walleyes are found across Minnesota. Walleyes are very sensitive to light, and typically feed in shallow water during early morning and early evening hours to avoid the bright daytime sunlight. During the day, Walleyes will often move into deeper water or near available cover such as boulders or logs. Walleye fishing is usually best in Minnesota Lakes on windy and cloudy days, when there is a good "walleye chop" on the water. The best time for Walleye fishing is typically during spring and fall when the fish are most active. Walleyes often key in on rocks and submerged weeds during the day. Walleyes are schooling fish and often congregate with like-sized fish; thus, once one fish is caught in an area, there will usually be others of similar size nearby.

 

Top Minnesota Walleye Fishing Lakes

 

Lake of the Woods

Leech Lake

Lake Vermilion

Upper Red Lake

Lake Winnie

Otter Tail Lake

Lake Mille Lacs

Rainy Lake

Lake Kabetogama

Pokegama Lake

Cass Lake

Lake Miltona

 

Minnesota Muskie Fishing

 

Muskies are one of the most prized fish swimming in Minnesota waters, but are also the most difficult to catch. It has been estimated that it takes over 100 hours of fishing to catch one legal-sizes Muskie. They like to spend their time alone living among the weed lines, rock shelves, shoals, and other areas of natural cover. The best fishing for Muskies in Minnesota typically occurs late in the morning or during the afternoon, particularly on cloudy days. Targeting good Muskie habitat is key to your fishing success. Points, weedy bays, islands, gravel bars, breaklines, and dropoffs are all popular Muskie haunts in Minnesota lakes. These fish attracting areas are even better if located near deeper water, as Muskies seek such naturally occurring transitions. These spots should be fished from shallow water into deeper water.

 

Top Minnesota Muskie Fishing Lakes

 

Lake Mille Lacs

Lake Vermilion

Lake of the Woods

Leech Lake

Lake Minnetonka

Detroit Lake

Cass Lake

Lake Bemidji

Shamineau Lake

Lake Alexander

Pike Bay Lake

 

Minnesota Smallmouth Bass Fishing

 

Pound for pound, the Smallmouth Bass is the best fighting fish in Minnesota waters. Smallmouth Bass prefer clear, rocky lakes and rivers and can be found around rocky shorelines, points, and shoals. Areas with a good mix of small, medium, and large rocks tend to hold the most fish. In the spring, find shallow, rocky flats and areas with a mix of gravel and sand. Autumn is normally the best time for a trophy-sized Smallmouth Bass. Cooling temperatures trigger a serious, shallow-water feed before fish head to deeper waters for the winter.

 

 

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Minnesota Northern Pike Fishing

 

In Minnesota, the Northern Pike is the most widely distributed fish and they can grow to huge sizes. Generally, fishing for Northern Pike is good in early season, declines in mid-summer and is best when late summer turns to fall. The peak of Northern Pike fishing in Minnesota seems to begin as the days of September flow into October. In the fall, Northern Pike go on a feeding binge to fatten up for winter. Big pike move into the shallows, following baitfish and become recklessly hungry. This typically begins after the first cold snap or when the nights turn cool and the days are Indian summer. Plenty of Northern Pike can be caught throughout the summer months as well on live bait by trolling spoons, plugs, and spinnerbaits. A jig and minnow can also be effective on Northern Pike. They like to lurk in quiet areas thick with vegetation such as weedy bays and estuaries in the spring and summer. In the winter months, look for Northern Pike in shallow bays and near points and dropoffs. Tip-ups rigged with live minnows can produce some nice catches while ice fishing.

 

Top MN Northern Pike Fishing Lakes

 

Lake Mille Lacs

Lake of the Woods

Lake Vermilion

Leech Lake

Lake Winnie

Rainy Lake

Cass Lake

Lake Minnetonka

Pokegama Lake

Upper Red Lake

 

Minnesota Crappie Fishing

 

To a Minnesota fisherman, Crappies are the first sign of spring. The best Crappie fishing is often just after ice-out when the fish will move into shallow, weedy bays and similar areas to feed and spawn. They will typically be in water less than 5 feet deep around developing weeds, reeds, docks, and any shoreline cover. By late spring, Crappies leave the shallows and move to deeper waters where they can become more difficult to locate.

 

Minnesota Largemouth Bass Fishing

 

One of the best-kept secrets is the strong Largemouth Bass fishing in Minnesota. In this state where Walleyes rule, surprisingly few anglers bother to chase Largemouth Bass, which is great news for bass fishermen. Largemouth Bass prefer warm, weedy, and slow-moving waters. They spend a lot of time in the shallows, among reeds, lily pads, docks, and other cover.

 

Minnesota Fishing Season 2014

 

Walleye - 5/10/14-2/22/15

Northern Pike - 5/10/14-2/22/15

Muskie - 6/07/14-12/01/14

Largemouth Bass - 5/10/14-2/22/15

Smallmouth Bass - 5/10/14-2/22/15

Lake Trout - 5/10/14-9/30/14

 

 

 

Minnesota Summer Walleye Fishing

 

Summer produces the bulk of the fishing season in Minnesota for most anglers. Natural food chains are in high gear and Walleyes have lots of food to choose from. Patterns are identifiable and presentation becomes a key. If you've read any number of fishing articles over the years, you know that many perpetuate the notion that all Walleyes live in deep water on the rocks. Truth is, that's not the case. Yes, some Walleye groups make seasonal use of deep water. But weeds play a far more important part in the Walleye's lifestyle in Minnesota Lakes than most anglers believe. Some heavily fishing classic Walleye lakes in Minnesota host sizeable weed Walleye populations. If the lake is heavily fished by smart anglers, those beautiful deep water rocky points and sunken islands won't hold the numbers of Walleyes you think they do. Those Walleye schools have often been fished down to a low level. In fact, the strongest, most untapped segment of the Walleye population in these lakes often lives full-time in the weeds. Weeds provide plenty of food, oxygen and cover, and most anglers don't fish weeds for Walleyes because they're unaware of what's available. Any time you find an abundance of healthy green vegetation, you've got some Walleyes in the weeds. Normally, that's late spring, summer and early fall. If you had to pick an average depth where summer weed Walleyes would be in most Minnesota Lakes, it'd be 6-12 feet. The reason that 6-12 feet is a key depth range is that, in most lakes, it's the depth where the deepest weedgrowth lies.

 

It's the classic early morning/late evening Walleye feeding time; that's when you want to be out there fishing for the big catches. As the sun dips to the horizon, the Walleyes begin getting restless, moving out to the edges of the weeds, preparing to feed. Once it gets dark, look for the Walleyes to move very shallow. Right up to the shore in 2-3 feet of water. Gravel points, fallen trees, docks, river inlets - they're all key shallow water cover areas that attract nighttime Walleyes. Casting crankbaits at night is great for small, well-defined spots like an obvious point or shallow rock pile. Yet when you're faced with a large weed flat, you're usually better off trolling as it allows you to cover more water quicker, and with less effort.

 

 

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