Fishing Minnesota

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Minnesota, the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", actually boasts about 11,842 bodies of water that have an area over 10 acres. The relative concentration of lakes increases as you travel north with what might typically be considered the beginning of "lake country" starting on an imaginary line drawn through the center of the state stretching from Alexandria to the west to the famous Lake Mille Lacs to the east.

If you came to this page looking for information to help you plan a Minnesota fishing getaway then I provide you with some helpful tips further down.

Anglers looking for good fishing opportunities in Minnesota are typically drawn to the more famous larger lakes and the species of choice is most often walleye. Walleye fishing is a Minnesota tradition that stretches across generations. Perhaps the most famous walleye fishery in the state is Lake Mille Lacs. Because of its close proximity to the Twin Cites metropolitan area it is a very accessible destination for many anglers and has boasted phenomenal walleye populations for years. A bit further to the north are a few other large, popular walleye destinations. Leech Lake draws the attention of many anglers with great trophy fishing opportunities on a lake with a great variety of structure. Even further north are Cass Lake and Winnibigoshish, two excellent fisheries in the heart of the north woods where families come to vacation in typical Minnesota resort destinations. Upper Red Lake, once known for the complete collapse of its walleye population has emerged once again as a walleye factory with a nearly complete recovery. If you wish to venture further east and north into the Canadian shield you will find Lake Vermillion and a bit further to the North and west Lake Kabetogama… two complex lake systems in the prototypical boundary waters wilderness setting. This leaves the farthest northern borders of Minnesota and the famous Rainy Lake to the east and Lake of the Woods to the west encompassed within the well-known northwest angle and one of the most prolific walleye producing bodies of water in the state.

The best kept secret of fishing Minnesota is probably the fact that some of the best walleye fishing in terms of both rate of catch and trophy opportunity can be found in the thousands of smaller lakes that dot the northern reaches of the state.

When asked for advice from anglers looking for information about a particular lake as they plan an extensive trip I like to suggest that they give themselves "options". Let's say you want to make the trek up north to fish Cass Lake. That's a great starting point. But what if you have a particularly windy day, or the bite is less than stellar during your stay? Open up another tab on your browser and fire up Google Maps. Take a look at all of the lakes around Cass. Cass is actually part of a chain of lakes accessible from the main lake itself. In addition, within 15 miles of Cass you have several other potential hot spots… Bemidji, Plantagenet, Big Lake, etc. Each with unique characteristics and the potential for a great walleye bite.

To help you with your decision-making process, there is a great resource provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources called "LakeFinder". After looking at the lakes surrounding your target destination write down a few names and head over to LakeFinder. Just type the name of the lake into the search field and you will be presented with whatever information is available for that particular body of water. You will get a screen that presents a wide variety of data that may be available for any particular lake including; contour maps, lake information (including gill net surveys and stocking data), and even a recreational compass showing you surrounding lakes and recreational opportunities.

If you are looking for current reports one of the more popular forums is the Hotspot Outdoors Minnesota Regional Forums. You can scroll down that section and see some of the most popular lakes/regions in the state. General questions are usually welcome and oftentimes fishing reports are readily available. Look around at the sponsors… some of them local bait shops… and make note of the numbers or contact information. Bait shops in the area are generally more than happy to put you on the hot lake with the right bait.
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