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 Ice 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

 

The hottest lake in the area continues to be Upper Red Lake primarily due since it offers ice thick enough for vehicle travel. Many local lakes such as Bemidji, Cass, Pike’s Bay and Winnibigoshish have less than 12 inches of ice so they do NOT have enough ice for vehicles. Most anglers are still accessing these lakes with ATV’s or by foot. Upper Red Lake anglers have been catching walleye along the shoreline breaks in 7-11 feet of water. The best action has been during the first two hours and the last two hours of daylight. Jigging spoons with a minnow head has been the best presentation on most lakes for walleye, with anglers changing styles and colors of spoons until they find a productive combination. Charging up the UV glow spoons with a light has been helpful during low light conditions, and downsizing the spoon size has helped when the bite is tough. Anglers usually concentrate their efforts on walleye early in the season, putting more effort into fishing for crappies, sunfish and perch as the lakes get develop more ice and access improves on additional lakes.

 

Brainerd Lakes Area Fishing

 

Prior to the warm up, panfish were active 9-35 feet of water. The key was to move from hole to hole until you located consistent action. The most reliable spots were the 9-15 foot weed flats next to deeper basins. Clam drop jigs tipped with plastic and two wax worms were best for crappies, perch, and sunfish. Fishing success generally increased when using a fish finder. Walleye and northern pike continued to roam the edge of the sharper breaklines. A clam blade spoon and jig worked well. The most productive lakes were North Long, Gull, and Round. Ice ranged from 6-13 inches thick late last week, but thickness can quickly change so caution is a must.

 

Detroit Lakes Fishing

 

Look for most walleye in depths of 16-22 feet, with jigging turning more fish than bobber rigging. The crappie and sunfish bite has been very good. Crappies can be found suspended off the breaks over deeper waters in large schools. Sunfish are holding tight to the weed edges, or in holes and pockets in the weeds. Northern pike remain fairly shallow, relating to the weeds, and responding to larger suckers on tip-ups.

 

Lake of the Woods Fishing

 

Many Lake of the Woods anglers are reporting a mix of half-walleye, half-sauger in their catches. Some perch, eel pout, and sturgeon are also showing up. Anglers are having success when fishing 18-26 feet of water at Four Mile Bay, the Lighthouse Gap, and off Pine Island. To the west, Graceton, Zippel Bay, Long Point, and Arnesens are producing fish in 24-26 feet of water during the day, and in 17-20 feet of water during afternoon and evening hours. The best colors have been gold, bubble gum, and pink when tipped with live minnow. Electronics are extremely helpful in locating suspended fish. Ice thickness ranges from 14-17 inches for most areas of the lake. Some ice roads are now open to full-size trucks and fish houses. On the Rainy River, locals who know the ice well are catching good numbers of walleye during morning and evening hours. An active presentation in 14-17 feet of water has been best. Up at the Northwest Angle, a solid 15-17 inches of ice is being reported and vehicles are driving out. Good reports are coming from anglers fishing 18-22 foot depths. The road from Young's Bay is open to Oak Island and Flag Island. Snowmobile trails are staked from the South Shore to the Northwest Angle, with measurements of 14-15 inches of ice on average.

 

Lake Kabetogama Fishing

 

Anglers have been very happy with the warm angling conditions and great fishing. Last weekend was the busiest winter fishing weekend seen in the past few years. Northern pike have been the primary target for most anglers, with spearing and tip-up techniques working equally well. This week, more anglers have turned their attention to perch, sauger and walleye. Good ice is supporting sleds and fish houses, and allowing anglers to access their preferred walleye holes. For the most fish, hit depths of 28 feet using an ice jig and minnow. Spearing has been good for most, with plenty of small pike taken each day, along with occasional 12-20 pound fish. Voyageurs National Park has staked their snowmobile trails throughout Kabetogama on down to Crane Lake, and the thin layer of snow has made most of the lakes accessible. Still, please use extreme caution where thin ice is marked and near the ice ridges.

 

Lake Mille Lacs Fishing

 

Other than the pressure breaks flexing (which is common when there are extreme temperature changes), much of the main lake ice still measures a foot or more, with 15-plus inches of ice in the bays. Areas you must avoid are the emergent weeds, areas near an inlet where run-off water spills into the lake, pressure breaks, and areas where current runs near islands, shallow reefs and structure. For northern pike, stick to the traditional early season areas such as Cove, Wahkon, Isle, Vineland, Wigwam, and the north-end break in 7-12 feet of water. Live sucker decoys have out-produced artificials. Much of the walleye action has been in depths of 22-28 feet over the deep rock and also on the mud flats. Jigging spoons and jigging rapalas tipped with a piece of a minnow will work best on your jig line, while a shiner on a glow teardrop is best under a bobber or tip-up.

 

Lake Vermilion Fishing

 

Ice conditions have been excellent this season, with 9-14 inches of good, solid ice on most of Vermilion and other surrounding lakes. Only about 3 inches of snow covers the ice so travel conditions have been great for walking, snowmobiling, ATVing, and even car and truck travel in many areas of Vermilion. Even better, the walleye and jumbo perch have been very co-operative! Anglers having the most success are working 14-16 feet of water during low light hours, with an occasional good midday bite also being reported. Nice-sized northern pike are coming in on pike suckers and rainbow chubs; shiners often work as well. The best presentations have been bobber rigs, tip-ups, and rattle reels with pink or red hooks tipped with a minnow. Jigging has produced a few fish, but generally fish are drawn in by the jigging technique, then hitting the set line.

 

Lake Waconia Fishing

 

Waconia Bay ice measures 8-10 inches, with 6-7 inches in the Old Goose Hole. Center Reef measurements showed mostly 7-8 inch depths, with some areas as thin as 6 inches and others as thick as 11 inches. Pillsbury Reef measurements were 8-11 inches. Please note that there are a couple of springs in the lake that impact ice thickness; check with a local bait shop to learn their locations before venturing out.

 

 

 

 

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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