Fishing in Minnesota

It would take you a long time to read the fishing reports for the more than 10,000 lakes and 19 species of fish that Minnesota holds on and within its borders. It's not just about quantity fishing this part of the country, it's also the sheer size of the fish that are pulled out of its waters.

Some of the trophies brought to the surface include an over 70-pound flathead catfish and more than 3-pound perch!

Below we have picked some of our favorite lakes. These lakes were based upon legendary status, uniqueness, fish population, and close proximity to state parks and other destinations.
  • Best Fishing in Minnesota

    Lake Vermilion Fishing

    • The size and location of this lake allow for a variety of fish species to enjoy swimming its 40,000 acres. With its 1,200 miles of shoreline, it's an excellent choice for shore fishing, followed by a fresh shore lunch!
    • Your guided fishing trip may include enjoying the large population, fast action, and good eating of walleye fishing, or it could consist of taking your time and going after a humongous catch like Muskie or Northern Pike.
    • Muskie here has one of the healthiest populations in the state. When the season starts, try using bucktails in the bays. Northern Pike is carefully managed on this lake, so check the slot limits, fishing regulations, or ask your fishing guide before you head out with your rod and reel.

    Lake Superior Fishing

    • Minnesota fishing charters have a full-day trip, and half-day trips that provide anglers with impressive views and spectacular fishing on the largest body of freshwater a fisherman can ever wet a lure on. We are talking about a lake that is around 31,000 acres, over 150 miles wide, and more than 320 miles long! So, hop aboard with the right fishing charter, and you can remove that feeling of throwing a needle into a haystack.
    • Of all the fishing lakes in the Great Lakes, this is the last one with a Lake Trout population that can sustain itself without human intervention. Some fish commonly caught by anglers in this lake were placed in the lake to help the charter fishing industry thrive, such as Steelhead Trout, Pink Salmon, and Chinook.
    • Many anglers will be surprised at the depth of both the lake and the depth you must fish to catch Trout and Salmon. Salmon can sometimes be found in depths of up to 80-feet, and Trout found in depths of 100-feet or more beneath your charter boat.

    Mille Lacs Lake Fishing

    • Minnesota fishing trips on Mille Lacs Lake can offer an excellent chance for catching walleye in the shallow waters. In fact, its a naturally producing walleye lake with a large population of perch for them to feed on.
    • Ice fishing is the ultimate Minnesota angling experience. The season for cutting your hole and hoping in a cozy icehouse usually starts around the beginning of December and will continue far into February. These mini fishing resorts can reach over 5,000 on the lake. If you want to switch it up from the typical rod and reel, then try spearfishing for Northern Pike.

    Leech Lake Fishing

    • Welcome to the best Walleye and Muskie fishing in this part of the United States! This fishing near Chippewa National Forest and the nearby Indian Reservation during the summer is best on rock reefs, flats, and shorelines. During the spring and fall, target points and shallow flats in around 5 to 10 feet of water.
    • The largemouth bass is sneaky good on this lake, but catch and release are recommended to maintain its impressive weight average and population. Fish on the shoreline around natural vegetation during the spring and summer months.

    Brainerd Lakes Fishing

    • This multiple lake area consists of Walleye, Northern Pike, Trout, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. With so many lakes to choose from and so many factors to consider, we recommend learning from the experienced fishing guides who spend their lifetimes keeping up with the ebbs and flows.

    Other Fishing Spots

    • Lake Wibigosish, Rainy Lake, Sand Lake, Otter Tail Lake, and Red Lake
  • Fishing Licenses and Regulations

    • If you're 16 years old or older, then you must have a current Minnesota fishing license in your possession when fishing the public waters of this great state.
    • To be a resident of the state, you must have lived in the state for more than 60 consecutive days.
    • A resident annual fishing license starts at $25, but you will need to obtain the proper permits depending on the species you are fishing for and the technique you are using. A 24-hour stamp can be purchased for $12, and a 72-hour for $14.
    • For those who are not a current resident of the state, they can buy a non-resident license, and it starts at $51 for the year or $14 for 24 hours and $36 for 72-hours.
    • With so many ins and outs to Minnesota fishing rules and regulations, it's essential to check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and your fishing guide for further clarification.

Fishing Calendar for the Best Times to Fish in Minnesota


Where: Millie Lacs Lake

Species: Northern Pike


Where: Burbot

Species: Leech Lake


Where: Lake Superior

Species: Lake Trout


Where: Rainy River

Species: Sturgeon


Where: Lake of the Woods

Species: Walleye


Where: Lake Superior

Species: Lake Trout


Where: Lake Millie Lacs

Species: Largemouth Bass


Where: Lake of the Woods

Species: Walleye


Where: Lake Vermillion

Species: Walleyes


Where: Lake Vermillion

Species: Walleyes


Where: Millie Lacs Lake

Species: Walleye


Where: Red Lake

Species: Walleye


When can you ice fish in Minnesota?

Usually, Ice fishing begins in early-mid December, depending on where you are located in the state. Then it lasts from February to March.

Can you spearfish in Minnesota?

Can you party fish in Minnesota?

Do you need a fishing license for catch and release in Minnesota?

What is the deepest lake in Minnesota?