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

 

Most of the successful walleye anglers were fishing close to a river, where river spawning walleyes had just finished their spawn. Warmer water temperatures give the river spawning walleyes a big jump on the walleyes that choose lake locations to spawn. Many anglers positioned their boats in the high traffic areas where migrating walleyes pass through on their way back to their home lakes. Another productive strategy was to look for concentrations of baitfish close to the migration routes where migrating walleyes might stop to feed. Jigs and minnows were the presentation of choice for most walleye anglers. While shiner minnows were in short supply, many anglers did well substituting fatheads, rainbow chubs or small sucker minnows. Jigs and plastics worked well for some anglers, with scented plastics generally best. The most productive bodies of water were the warmest, such as Upper Red Lake which gave up huge numbers of walleyes to anglers fishing from boat and from shore. The bite was best during hours of brightest sunshine with light winds due to Upper Red’s stained water. Other good walleye bites were found in the Cutfoot Sioux area of Lake Winnibigoshish. Many of the smaller area lakes which are part of larger chains also gave up good numbers of fish. The best depths have been 5-8 feet of water. Anglers need to be aware of the conditions, with low light or wind pushing the walleyes shallower, and bright skies or heavy boat traffic pushing the walleyes deeper.

 

Detroit Lakes Fishing

 

Walleye anglers are taking the most fish on jigs and rigs tipped with shiners. Depths of 6-11 feet have been best, but if the water is flat and the sun is shining, fish 13-18 feet of water. Some walleyes are also being taken on leeches and crawlers. Last weekend’s bass opener was great in very shallow waters. These fish were shallow that anglers were sight fishing. Northern pike are very active, hitting minnows and crankbaits worked in 6-12 feet of water. The shiner bite is expected to remain good for at least another week. Panfish anglers are doing well at the shallow weeds, and crappie anglers remain in their spawning areas. Water temperatures have climbed into the high 50’s and low 60’s on some lakes. Most of the area lakes are producing fish.

 

Grand Rapids Fishing

 

Just like the temperatures, fishing has really heated up and multi-species fishing is in full swing. Bass season is open and both largemouth and smallmouth bass are very active in the most area waters, and especially in Pokegama Lake which is considered to be one of the best bass lakes in Minnesota. Panfish are in a pre-spawn mode and can be found in or near the shallow water pencil reeds in most Grand Rapids lakes. Anglers taking the most panfish are using a slip bobber and a small jig combined with a small minnow or soft plastic. Spawning male crappies are very dark, so don’t be surprised, thinking you’ve found a new species! Walleye action remains very strong, and now that the surface water temperatures have jumped into the high 60s many eating-size fish are also being taken. Expect the perch and northern pike to also be aggressive. For trophy walleyes and northern pike, Pokegama Lake is probably the best bet, with consistent number also coming from the larger lakes such as Bowstring, Sand, Jessie, Big Winnie and Big Cut Foot Sioux. A jig or rig with a minnow has been the best presentation. For fast northern pike fishing, Ball Club Lake is probably your best bet. The next couple of weeks will be especially good to anglers.

 

Hackensack Area Lakes Fishing

 

With all of the sunshine, walleye were a bit tougher to find, however, plenty were caught. Crappies and bass were extremely active in the shallows. Leech Lake fishing remained steady, with fish hitting shiners and crawlers, along with many other presentations. Most of the fish were still schooling, and holding in less than 12 feet of water. Anglers finding a school were able to stay put and pull in fish after fish. During late evening hours, trolled crankbaits was the way to go. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are either in the midst of their spawn or just about to begin. They are very shallow and very aggressive. Bouncing the bottom with tubes, jigs, and dropshot rigs has been very effective, with lots of large fish being reported. The fishing should remain great for the next couple of weeks. Since they are spawning, try not to play them too long and get the large females back in the water as quickly as possible. Crappie fishing has been amazing, with fish starting to stack up in the shallows. Great reports are coming from Ten Mile, Woman, Webb, Pleasant, and Leech lakes. Sunfish are getting ready to move into the shallows to spawn, and lots of large gills are expected this week and weekend.

 

Lake of the Woods Fishing

 

Great fishing continues on Lake of the Woods, with good numbers of eating-size, slot, and trophy fish being taken. On the South Shore, depths of 12 – 19 feet have been productive, especially at Twin Islands, Long Point, The Fields, Zippel Bay Reef, in front of Morris Point Gap and Lighthouse Gap, and in front of Pine Island. When fishing Four Mile Bay, anchored up and jig with a frozen shiner; anglers are also having some success using crawler harnesses, especially in gold. The Rainy River is giving up good numbers to anglers using jigs in depths of 7 – 15 feet. Up at the Northwest Angle, fishing has been incredible. Anglers are having the most success when fishing depths of 5-33 feet using a jig and minnow combination. Crankbaits are also working for some anglers. Jumbo perch and northern pike have been mixed in. In Minnesota, try the Flag Island flats, Little Oak Island, and the red buoys by Sportsman's and Angle Inn.

 

Lake Kabetogama Fishing

 

Lake Kabetogama waters range from 44 degrees up to 60 degrees during afternoon hours in the shallow bays. The shallow water bite remains great since suckers, white fish and tulibees continue to spawn, attracting the abundant gamefish. Anglers are having the most success in the shallows when using shiners and small minnows—expect to attract some pelicans as well! Walleye anglers are doing best in shallower depths during early morning and early to late evening hours. Look for soft bottom, sand and gravel bars nearest to deep water drop-offs where baitfish are lingering. During midday hours, check out some of the traditional early to mid-summer reefs, where depths of 28-35 feet are giving up fish. Areas to consider include Nashata Point to Marker 38, Martin Islands, and Cuculus since these have good structure and reefs. Northern pike remain aggressive on the shallow shorelines where they are enjoying the sucker spawn. For the most action, use live bait, husky jerks or spoons. The smallmouth bass bite should heat up now that warm temperatures have become the norm. The best bait choices are leeches and crawlers for the shallower fish, and jig and minnow combinations for the deeper water fish. For some great action, slip bobber fish with small sucker minnows at the Three Sisters, the Grassy Island group, and either side of Cutover. El Bay on Cutover Island should offer some really great fishing when the wind blows from the south.

 

Leech Lake Fishing

 

The Walleye Opener was a great one on Leech Lake. Anglers that put in the time and switched up their presentation as needed were rewarded with lots of eaters and some large fish. Great reports came from areas around Star Point, the Hardwoods, Duck Point, Pine Point, Cedar Point, and Stoney Point. Wind, as usual, was a huge factor, with the fish turning more active as the wind blew. When the winds turned calm, anglers struggled due to heavy boat traffic and high, sunny skies. Anglers reported the most action when using a slow, methodical presentation in 4-9 feet of water. The best presentation was a 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jig tipped with a shiner or rainbow. Good reports also came from nighttime anglers trolling shad raps and husky jerks in and around the flats around Goose Island. The crappie bite should heat up once water temperatures hit the lower 50s.

 

Lake Mille Lacs Fishing

 

Lake Mille Lacs remains cold, with surface water temperatures just beginning to creep into the low 50's. A few more sunny days will bring water temperatures into a more normal range. Fishing has been inconsistent, with some anglers reporting excellent action, and others struggling to catch even a few fish. Much of the bite remains along the north end of the lake in 14-18 feet of water, although some fish have come from the bottom of the breaks too. If the north end isn't an option, check out Sherman's Point, Vineland or Big Point where anglers have had some good success. Minnows are still the best bait, with leeches and crawlers are beginning to turn more fish. Chartreuse/orange and firetiger have been the top colors/patterns colors, but hold using spinners just a bit longer until the water warms a few more degrees. The evening slip bobber and leech bite is short, but worth the time. Be sure not to "oversize" your leeches this time of year. Northern pike action has been good for anglers using suckers in the south end bays in less than 10 feet of water. Bass action has been hit-or-miss too as not all of the bass have moved shallow yet. The best depths have ranged from 2-10 feet. Keep the bait small and the tackle simple, and present it slowly until the water warms a bit more.

 

Lake Minnetonka Fishing

 

Fishing on Lake Minnetonka has been very good. Water temperatures were nearing the mid-60s, which is slightly lower than average for this time of year. Bass have moved up into the shallows and are starting to bed. Crappies also remain in the shallows, so you can catch some pre-spawn bass and crappies using minnows in the shallows. Northern pike are active at the points and weedy flats. Spinnerbaits and jerkbaits have been working well for the northerns.

 

Otter Tail Lakes Area Fishing

 

June is here and the fish are really biting! Walleyes continue to come from the creeks and rivers, as well as along the shallow weedlines. Anglers are having lots of success when using jigs and minnows. Crappies and sunnies have been most active in the shallows and at the weeds in the bays; for the most fish, hit depths of 6-8 feet using leeches, worms, and crappie minnows. Northern pike fishing in Otter Tail Lakes Country has been superb, with fish coming from roughly 20 feet of water near the weedlines.

 

Lake Waconia Fishing

 

On Lake Waconia, panfish and bass are staging in the shallows, preparing to spawn. Anglers are taking the majority of fish from 3-5 foot depths, especially in areas with sandy bottoms. Most mentioned locations include the west side, the northeast corner at Reinke’s Bay, and along the south shoreline just off the docks. Waxworms, small leeches and nightcrawlers are producing the most fish. Walleyes anglers are taking fish throughout the day, however, the best action is at sunrise and sunset. The east side near the Clay Banks, the southeast side near the swimming beach, and Harm’s Point have all been good locations. Anglers are taking most of their fish using fatheads, shiners and leeches in 4-10 feet of water.

 

Willmar Area Lakes Fishing

 

Anglers have reported excellent sunfish and crappie action, especially on Eagle, Florida, Andrew, Nest, Norway and Games lakes. The fish were moving towards the docks as they prepared to spawn, and they were hungry. The walleyes weren’t quite as active, but still being pulled from Green, Eagle, Long, Solomon and Ringo lakes. Spot tail shiner minnows were the bait of choice, producing the majority of walleyes. Most of area lakes are hovering just above 60 degrees so the walleye bite should continually improve. This even warmer week should really encourage the bite.

 

Lake Winnie Fishing

 

The walleye bite is heating up on Lake Winnibigoshish. Walleye and perch have completed their spawn, and are holding in depths of 10-16 feet at the first main shore drops. During late e evening hours, these fish will move shallower to feed. Shiners and jigs have been the best bet. Drift with the wind if possible, but if calm, troll at roughly 1.2 mph. Perch have also been active in these locations, but anglers should try to stay on top of the schools of fish. Water temperatures are rising fast, with most waters now in the mid to upper 50s. If the jig and minnow combination action slows, switch to crawlers or leeches since this approach is picking up steam. Crappies are in the midst of their spawn, but sunfish are pre-spawn and biting well.

 

Big Stone Lake Fishing

 

While daytime fishing could be a challenge, morning hours and late afternoon to just after dark offered lots of action. Shoreline anglers reported the most action, especially when working their favorite docks until well after dark. A minnow or two on a crappie rig seemed to be the most mentioned method, however, pitching jigs and casting crankbaits also turned fish. Anglers fishing from boat had the most success when trolling with a crankbait, or bottom bouncing spinner combinations. Nightcrawlers seemed to be the bait of choice, followed closely by leeches. South end and far north end locations were best for limits, however some anglers said it was tough to find keeper-size fish under 20 inches in length. Earlier this week, surface water temperatures had warmed to 64 degrees and the weeds were starting to show up behind the islands and on the shorelines. Until these weeds fully develop, concentrate on either cloudy waters or search for areas where the wind creates a ripple on top of the water. Other species recently taken include silver bass, northern pike, perch, bullheads, and crappies.

 

 

 

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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