Top 10 Fishing Destinations in Minnesota

Minnesota is a Midwestern US state adjoining Canada and Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. It is the twelfth largest state in area in the U.S... Often known as the “Land of 10000 Lakes”, Minnesota has great lakes including Lake Itasca, one of the Mississippi River’s major sources. With a surface area of over 86,000 square miles, Minnesota also boasts 6,564 natural rivers and streams that cumulatively flow for 69,000 miles.

Fishing in Minnesota

If you are on the brink of planning a unique fishing vacation, Minnesota has a plethora of fishing opportunities. Are you ready to challenge yourself to catch a variety of fish? Fishing in Minnesota is challenging and exciting for all anglers. The more popular fish that are found are Walleye, Catfish, Brook/Rainbow/Brown Trout, Crappie, Large-Mouth, and Small-Mouth Bass, Sunfish, Salmon, Whitefish, Lake Sturgeon, Bigmouth Buffalo, Herring, Perch, Northern Pike, Bowfin, Burbot, and Muskies. A Minnesota fishing license is needed for fishers 16 years and older, and you can purchase lower-cost licenses for shorter periods.  You can purchase your license from the state page as well. The good news for anglers is that you have a chance to win Minnesota’s award-winning catches. Some outstanding catches include a 45-pound-12-ounce northern pike, a 54-pound musky, a 3-pound perch, a 38-pound channel catfish, a 70-pound flathead catfish, a 43-pound lake trout and a 17-pound walleye. Fish don’t disappear in the winter, so why should anglers? Today with all of the advanced equipment and fishing comforts available for ice fishing, there is no stopping you from heading to one of Minnesota’s myriad frozen waterways during the chilly months.

Types of Catch Available


chinook salmon

Chinook Salmon

pink salmon

Pink Salmon

coho salmon

Coho Salmon



raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

cutthroat trout

Cutthroat Trout

brown trout

Brown Trout

brook trout

Brook Trout

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass

White Bass

White Bass







yellow perch

Yellow Perch

bullhead catfish

Bullhead Catfish

northern pike


State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across Minnesota

With tons of fishing opportunities waiting for enthusiastic anglers in this remarkable northern state, we have compiled a list of our top fishing spots in Minnesota.

Leech Lake

Leech Lake

Leech Lake is located in North Central Minnesota, often used as a reservoir, it is the third largest lake in the state. Its fertile waters harbor some of the best Muskie and walleye fishing in the Midwest. Expect yourself to take home 30 to 50-pound fish from Leech Lake, as it is a very common and desirable lake for anglers. A horde of fish species have made this 112,000-acre lake their home, and the shores nearby are highly developed and visitor-friendly. You may also find Northern Pike, Trout, Bass, Crappie, Panfish, Eelpout and Perch here. Early season Muskie fishing is best from mid-July till August as compared to the fall season. Walleye are found near the rocks and stony shorelines in early spring. Long casts and a focused approach are suggested when fishing in the clear, shallow water. Ice fishing for walleyes and perch is prevalent in Walker Bay, Walker Narrows, and Agency Bay.

Lake Vermillion

Lake Vermillion

Celebrated as one of Minnesota’s most picturesque lakes, Lake Vermilion is also one of the most sought-after Minnesota fishing destinations. This lake boasts approximately forty thousand acres of water, 635 islands, and 1,200 miles of shoreline, which makes this destination an experience you wouldn’t want to miss out on! Anglers will commonly find Black Crappie, Bluegill, Brown Bullhead, Golden Shiner, Bass, Pumpkinseed, White Sucker and many more exciting species at this lake with almost endless Minnesota fishing lodges and camping options nearby.

Mille Lacs Lake

Mille Lacs Lake

Mille Lacs Lake, located in North Central Minnesota, is known for its walleye and Muskie fishing. It is one of the most coveted,  year-round fishing destinations, and one of the world’s biggest gatherings of ice fishing shanties in the winter. This lake used to be the leading lake that walleye anglers would rush to when the winter season opened.   Want to bring home a trophy? Well, this is the right place for you as you will find huge muskies and hard-fighting northern pikes in the lake, but the smallmouth bass is the recent showstopper. It is ranked as one of the “10 best smallmouth bass fisheries” in the country.

St. Croix River

ST. Croix River

With more than 60 species of fish found in St. Croix River, from Taylor’s fall, Minnesota, to its convergence with the Mississippi River, this spot is an angler’s paradise. If you are hunting for walleye, you will need to focus on the lower stretches of the river. The minimum length for keepers on the St. Croix is 15 inches. If you are trying to catch hard-fighting smallmouth bass or chasing river monsters like lake sturgeon or catfish,  focus your efforts towards the north of Stillwater.

Lake Peppin

Lake Pippen

Lake Pepin stretches for 21 miles and more than 80 species of fish have been recorded here. Among these are vigorous and copious populations are walleye, sauger (a scrumptious relative of the walleye), and northern pike. Sport anglers will relish bass fishing on Lake Pepin, which hosts good populations of largemouth, smallmouth, and white bass aside from an abundance of panfish and crappies that are sure to keep your lines busy. The lake expands south from Red Wing, Minnesota, to a point across from Alma, Wisconsin.

Root River South Branch

Root River South Branch

While Minnesota anglers are mostly walleye-centric, there is another fishing prospect that cannot be overlooked: Brown trout. The Trout Rivers of Southeast Minnesota are often unnoticed, even though the populations are dense, and larger fish are abundant. One of the best places for fishing in Minnesota brown trout is in the South Branch of the Root River. Since the concreted Root River Trail follows this wider river, entry to the water is exceptional and fly fishermen have lots of room for casting. Trout fishing is at its best in the western points of the river. Other than Trout, you will also find smallmouth and rock bass, as well as channel catfish which dwell in the pools of the stream.

Bald Eagle Lake

Bald Eagle Lake

Looking for awesome walleye fishing and not wanting to travel too far? Head towards Bald Eagle Lake in the Northeastern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Not only does this lake have exceptional walleye but it also has some of the biggest populations  of northern pike, largemouth bass, and muskies in the region. For recreation purposes, children and anglers can enjoy targeting panfish. Despite its huge size, access to the lake is limited, which can make it a crowded fishing destination. There’s a fishing pier, comfortable fishing lodges and a boat ramp at the northern end of the lake so that you can enjoy a great family vacation.

Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake

Looking for Northern Pike? Head towards Rainy Lake Minnesota. With over 212,000 acres of river and 929 miles of shoreline, it remains somewhat of a hidden gem amongst  Minnesota's larger lakes. Located on the states' border with Ontario, Rainy offers a great north woods atmosphere of lofty pines, rocky outcrops, and sheltered bays and islands. The comparatively low fishing crowds makes this lake a great spot for a short vacation get away with family, and you can enjoy the outdoor recreation in summer. Rainy Lake is renowned for sport and recreational fishing for species such as walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, crappie, largemouth, and smallmouth bass, which are all known for being excellent freshwater game fish.

Cut Foot Sioux Lake

Cut Foot Sioux Lake

This is one of the most popular fishing lakes in Itasca County, as it offers a wide range of fish species such as crappie, bluegill, walleye, perch, and sunfish - as well as a muskie population. What makes Cut Foot Sioux Lake perfect for fishing is that it has a maximum depth of 78 feet and an average water lucidity of 9 feet. Although the lake is crowded with fishermen on the opening-day fishing weekend, walleye fishing in Minnesota at Cut Foot Sioux Lake is awesome from May through the first week of July. Anglers have easy access to nearby boat rentals and lodging facilities. Also, ice fishing remains popular in the winter as well.

Lake Kabetogama

Lake Kabetogama

The reason why Lake Kabetogama is a highly sought after fishing destination is that it boasts hundreds of inlets and bays to fish from. Canoes, kayaks, and motor boats are all permissible, and fishermen will love to explore the kinds of fish they can catch swimming through these waters. Lake Kabetogama boasts a heavy walleye population as well as fewer numbers of sauger, northern pike, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and crappie. Interestingly, a huge variation of wildlife habitat also covers the shores along the lake in Voyageurs National Park, which lies along the Canadian border. Remember, it’s not only fishing in Lake Kabetogama  — it’s an all-inclusive outdoor adventure for all you nature lovers out there!

So pack up and head north to one of these destinations for a weekend escape, or for a thrilling family vacation filled with mouth-watering fresh fish.








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