Top 10 Fishing Lakes In Minnesota

Fishing may sound difficult for first-time anglers, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With just a little kit, a fishing license, and the details in this guide, you’re going to be able to get on the water and try your hand to catch some fish this weekend. In this article, you will learn about the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota!

Looking to visit any of the Minnesota lakes, but don’t have any idea which one? We have sorted this. We’ve assembled a list of the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota for you.

Top 10 Fishing Lakes In Minnesota

 top 10 fishing lakes in minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has reported that the state is home to 11,842 lakes. Many of these lakes are readily accessible, with plenty of overnight fishing facilities. It also houses different species of fish, whether small or massive. There’s no chance that Minnesota fishing is an adventure you’re going to love with all this stuff!

Minnesota is a year-round destination for fishing. If you’d like to go fishing for the Walleye River or ice fishing, there’s a spot you can explore. No matter whether you’re hoping to catch big-mouth bass, tuna, catfish, rainbow trout, bluegill, or crappie, you won’t run out of places to scope out.

If you’re curious about where to go fishing in Minnesota, read on and let us know all the best spots to find out! Here are the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota!

1. Otter Tail Lake

Otter Tail Lake is a 13,789-acre water body in Otter Tail County. The lake is part of the chain of the Otter Tail River. This is a small bay. In fact, almost 60 percent of the lake is less than 15 feet deep.

This wonderfully scenic lake provides decent fishing on the beach. Also, there are many conveniently accessible boat ramps for anyone who wants to get to the sea. Otter Tail Lake provides decent fishing opportunities during the year. Walleye is the prime target of the angler during the season. You’re going to capture these creatures from the shoreline, river bridges, and ports.

And you should throw a line to the edges of the weeds where the first fall where the fish feed on the shiners. Try the best-success live bait rigs tipped with shiners. There is also outstanding walleye competition during the summer months. So, swim along with the numerous sunken islands on the lake or troll miles of freshwater crankbaits.

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After Labor Day, perch and walleye are the food of the fishermen ‘s choice. And don’t lose out on the winter ice-fishing season when the perch is only starting into the spring. Annual fishing makes this spot one of the top 10 fishing spots in Minnesota. Finally, there are plenty of nice accommodation near Otter Tail Lake to accommodate most budgets.

2. Hay Creek

Hay Creek near Red Wing is one of Minnesota’s best-kept fishing secrets. One of the most common activities in the North Star State is trout fly-fishing. And you can do it on one of the many beautiful, crystal clear streams flowing along the province’s eastern border. Hay Creek is one of those lakes, where the competition starts during the winter trout season.

The season begins at the beginning of January, going through to the end of March. Hay Creek is the perfect place for trout. The stream is spring-fed through the limestone bluff nation, so the creek stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter months. However, fishing for trout in this stocked stream is on a catch-and-release basis only.

Hunt for wild brown and brook trout with a 14 nymph or a scud for the best results. Access to Hay Creek is fine, but some of the best fishing spots are within walking distance of private land. Here you can search the accessibility information. Fly fishing at Hay Creek is what makes it one of the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota.

3. Red Lake

Red Lake is one of Minnesota’s top 10 fishing destinations since it is one of the state’s biggest at 107,800 acres. And this spot is famed for its crappie and ice-fishing. Local anglers often say that they frequently find 40-inch northern pike there. Best of all, there are a lot of resorts along the coast of the bay.

So, you can conveniently find open launch tours, fishing guides, ice houses, campsites, and RV rentals all year round. The species of fish that inhabit this fishery shall include:

Walleye, however, is the most common catch in Red Lake. So aim and roll gold and green spinners in five to eight feet of water on the east coast. Yet leeches, minnows, and nightcrawlers are doing well, too. And local fishermen say that the largest northern pike is migrating to the Tamarac River. Know, medium-sized sucker minnows are effective when attacking giant pike.

top 10 fishing lakes in minnesota

4. Sand Lake 

Sand Lake is a 4,328-acre lake that the Department of Natural Resources of Minnesota routinely stores. The lake has protected bays, tidal waterways, and spectacular habitats of the park. And this scenic range makes this place ideal no matter what fishing strategy you’re using. Often, the temperature of the water varies.

And the underwater buildings are the perfect habitat for fish. Fishing variety is what makes it one of the top 10 fishing destinations in Minnesota.

Go fish from the sea if you want to get to the water to reach eight other lakes and rivers. Check out the deeper drop-off places where the walleye targets the minnows early in the season. Jig and Minnow Combinations are going well. And they may attract the aggressive, robust northern pike as well.

But if you’re hunting for walleye, stop the pike’s focus by fishing the weedy flats’ inner edges. Using a slip bobber rigged with a fun leech and a little jig. And in the plant beds in the shallow waters, you can find crappie. But watch for drop-off edges all summer and fall.

You can also encounter giant bluegill, which you can capture with little jigs tipped with plastic tongues, little worms, or nightcrawler bits. Look for a good perch in the hard-bottomed areas near the good weed beds. Finally, if you want to spend more than a day, you can find some nice accommodation near Sand Lake.

5. Snelling Lake

Snelling Lake is situated in Fort Snelling State Park, Hennepin County. The park is one of the state’s main tourism destinations, offering both recreation and fishing. Snelling Lake occupies a 101-acre area, making it one of Minnesota’s smallest top 10 fishing spots.

Importantly, they do not allow gas-powered boats on the lake. You can use paddle boats and canoes, too. And if you choose wade-cod or dryland trout, there is a range of readily accessible coastal fishing areas. Both access to water, both parking, is outstanding.

There are also showers, picnic areas, walking trails, and a swimming pool. Camping is not accessible in the park, although there is a lot of accommodation in the area.

6. Cut Foot Sioux Lake

Cut Foot Sioux Lake is a very famous fishing lake in Itasca County. It’s here, and the competition ramps up from May to the first week of July. This is when anglers come in search of a catch to hunt. Fishermen come to capture fish in abundance across the ice in the winter.

The shoreline fishing is fine, and you can rent a boat if you want to fish out of the sea. There’s a marina, the cabins, and the campsite. You can also visit a bait store and fish cleaners spa. Shops, hotels, golf courses, and historic sites can be located within an hour’s drive. And whether you’re looking for a break from fishing, hiking, or riding in the forests or a trip to the U.S. Forest Service Visitor Center.

top 10 fishing lakes in minnesota

7. Leech Lake

Leech Lake is a popular location for small-mouth and large-mouth bass fishing. This 102,947-lake extends through Beltrami, Hubbard, and Itasca counties. Thanks to its size, Leech Lake is one of Minnesota’s best fishing spots a mile away.

Leech Lake is also particularly popular with the bass fishermen. Yes, during the summer months, you can scope out the bays and the coves where the foliage is dense with the huge mouths. In reality, the shallow inlets of the Benedict, Steamboat, Boy, and Shingobee Rivers are prime large-mouth habitat.

And for your pick of the little ones, go to the rugged reefs in the deepwater areas and to some of Leech’s numerous islets and islands. It’s a perfect spot for anglers who choose to try motorboats, but also other approaches such as shore fishing, dock fishing, or kayaking.

Walleye is able to take live bait rigs and crawlers on the big water flats in 10 to 14 feet of water. During low-light times, trolling crankbaits and anchoring leeks and slippers on breaks and flats in Walker Bay are lucrative. And during the summer, you’ll find muskies hidden in the weedy, rocky areas along the beach.

Finally, to expand your fishing trip to Leech Lake, plenty of well-equipped campgrounds will be enjoyed.

8. Lake Winnibigoshish

Lake Winnibigoshish is a 56,471-acre lake between the counties of Cass and Itasca. And it’s one of the best walleye fishing spots in the county. There are many public boat ramps spread across Lake Winnie, as locals call it. Often, there’s a lot of decent access to the beach.

There is, however, an 18-inch to 23-inch slot cap in order to protect this ability. So, mind, you should only have one fish over 23-inch in your regular bag cap. You may hope to find the following animals at Lake Winnie:

Between spring and fall, scope out the sandy, rocky flats for the perch, the pike, and the walleye where they search for the minnow crop. You should grab them with a jig and a minnow and a gentle approach.

But the beginning of July is the time that fish tend to migrate into deeper water, so you’re going to want something that will help you locate fish in deeper areas and use the right fishing gear, like the Lindy rigs, which are your best display at this time of the season.

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Use a nightcrawler or Leech, particularly around the mid-lake base, bars, and humps where you can find Northern pike, perch, and walleye. In addition, depth finders and fish finders may be of benefit at this time of year because the fish can be elusive. You can also remain at the Winnie Campground on the lake’s western side in the middle of the Chippewa National Forest.

You can still stroll or cycle around the 141-mile shoreline of the lake. And they’ve got a boat ramp and a dock next to the campground, as well as a picnic spot. But go to the small town of Cass Lake for restaurants, shops, a store, a movie theater, and a museum. It’s about 25 miles west of the campground. With too much to come, Lake Winnie is one of the top ten fishing destinations in Minnesota.

9. Mille Lacs

Mille Lacs is a 132,516-acre lake covering Aitkin, Mille Lacs, and Crow Wing Counties. The species of fish that call the lake their home include:

The small-mouth bass season opens on Saturday before Memorial Day. You’ll find fish in deeper water up to 10 feet underwater at this time. Efficient lures include lipless crankbaits, stick baits, tube jigs, small worms, and spinnerbaits. And during the summer months from June to August, the famed bug hatches of the Mille Lacs took place, impacting the snap.

With such an excess of food, the fish can be hesitant to take lures. Super-slow fishing, though, will also achieve results. However, after the bug hatch is done, the operation of the tiny mouth heats up. So watch for the marker buoys and hunt the shallow rock reefs around the lake using the top-water lure. Often, the perfect time to fish the top of the lake is early and late in the day while the sun is poor.

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If you’re hunting for walleye, try fishing in shallow water around 10 to 25 feet. Here you’re going to have to use intense cranking and good jigs. But the fish locator is the secret to the location of your prey. You can see yellow perch migrating to the deeper and weedy areas in the colder months of the fall. You will also capture the tiny mouth, musk, and northern pike that comes to the shallower waters to search for a quick meal.

Spinnerbaits, shallow swimbaits, and jig ‘n’ worms are the popular lure for active local anglers. Wintertime sees the lake come alive with ice-fishing, where fat perch is the prime catch. And ultimately, Mille Lacs is one of Minnesota’s top ten fishing sites with its excellent all-season fishing.

top 10 fishing lakes in minnesota

10. Rainy Lake 

Rainy Lake is a 227,604-acre water body in Koochiching County. Yet Rainy Bay is more like an underwater sea than a bay. And this is because the water levels fluctuate with local rainfall and the International Falls dam. But with its beaches, rock-clad shorelines, and coral reefs, Rainy Lake is the dream small-mouth fishery.   

So, swim in deeper waters during June and September. In the summer, move into deeper regions.

Interestingly, Rainy Lake is one of the last lakes to be thawed, making it one of Minnesota’s top ten fishing spots. Also, in springtime, most species, particularly walleye, can be fished. And after a long winter, the walleye is ready for a feast. 

But spring walleye fishing is the most effective if you fish in 6 to 18 feet of water. So at night, consider fishing off the pier or off the beach. Often, consider the places where there is a river or a rocky coast with weed lines.

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Often, keep to the coastline of the coast rather than the leeward. In addition, use Lindy’s live bait rigs, particularly minnows. Know, walleyes are the schooling of fish, because where there’s one, there’s several. Importantly, they promote catch-and-release in order to guarantee the sustainability of fisheries.

And make use of release approaches that do not inflict internal harm to the fish. Stop using hooks or upsetting fish, if possible, by dragging them out of deep water. You’ll find seasonal RV parks with new facilities across the lake. But if you choose, isolated water campgrounds are deep inside the National Park of Voyageurs.

You’ll find seasonal RV parks with new facilities across the lake. And eventually, you can select a remote water campground deep within the Voyageurs National Park.

Reasons To Fish In Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the best fishing destinations in North America, and fine people have identified the main reasons why you should take a pole and schedule your trip today.

10,000 Lakes

According to the Department of Natural Resources of Minnesota, the state is actually home to 11,842 lakes with a total area of at least 10 acres. And we’re talking about famous fishing destinations such as Mille Lacs, Lake Minnetonka, Leech Lake, and many others. Regardless of the exact number, Minnesota provides a variety of spots for anglers to wet their lines.

You’ve certainly heard of Minnesota’s famous walleye fishing, but the state is just as great for big-mouth and small-mouth bass fishing, northern pike, musk, sauger, crappy, bluegill, perch, sturgeon, catfish, lake trout, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, splake, salmon, burbot and whitefish, just to name a few.

Huge fish

A simple look at the Minnesota state record list of fish is evidence of the state trophy’s ability. Exceptional captures include a 45-pound-12-pound northern pike, a 54-pound musk, a 3-pound-4-pound perch, a 38-pound catfish path, a 70-pound flat-headed catfish, a 43-pound-8-pound lake trout, and a 17-pound-8-pound walleye.


Minnesota provides numerous fishing opportunities, many of which are of equal nature to fly-in destinations in northern Canada. Minnesota’s DNR also operates a significant number of public hard-surface ramp entry sites to allow the launch and boarding of big ships a breeze.


There are currently 155 fishing guides and charters listed in the Minnesota Explore database. These people earn their money by supplying fishermen with a healthy, convenient, and pleasant Minnesota fishing experience, and they do a fantastic job at it. Check it out.

Ice fishing

Catch doesn’t hibernate in the winter, but why the anglers? With all of the high-tech devices and creature comforts available today for ice fishing, there is no excuse not to plunge into one of Minnesota’s endless frozen rivers in the winter. Try it once, and you will agree; it’s easy to get hooked on Minnesota ice fishing!

Fishing Tournaments

Minnesota hosts hundreds of fishing tournaments every year. These competitions range from small-scale area fishing derbies all the way to elite walleye touring and bass circuits. With so many opportunities, a professional angler can’t go wrong.

Fishing Variety

Minnesota is more than 400 miles north and south. As a result, one person will ride a prize laker and a pike on a remote shield lake while another is concurrently fighting a giant catfish on the Mississippi.

A good getaway

If your vision of getting away entails a multi-day excursion to the Boundary Waters or a fishing trip near the Twin Cities, Minnesota has protected you. Get out there for some R&R drag-screaming.

The hospitality of the north

Ever used the word “Nice Minnesota,” If not, Google would be able to help clear it up a little. But the best way to really figure out what it takes to be good to Minnesota is to witness it firsthand. Go ahead and start preparing your fishing trip today at the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota!

Lake Fishing For Beginners

There are a lot of lakes in the country, including the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota. They are also home to several various species of fish. We’ve assembled a complete guide of lake fishing tips for you to help you catch more trout! One of the most popular is bass. Lower fishing in lakes is potentially one of the main attractions for lake fishing.

When you go fishing but don’t have a lot of practice, lake fishing is a good place to learn and develop your skills. Bank fishing, also known as shore fishing, is a decent place to practice before you move from offshore fishing or boat fishing.

Choosing The Lake Rod System And The Reel Configuration

At that point, you need to start by collecting a rod and a reel that is convenient enough to stow in your vehicle and a backpack to hold your lures and tools in.

When choosing the rod and the reel as a beginner, the reel is more critical than the rod. You should go pick up a cheap spinning rod and support you well on your first trips.

As far as the reel is concerned, we personally recommend that you buy a fairly good bass spinning reel that can and can stand up to the larger bass in the lake you’re hitting.

The Lake Fishing Lure

Second, you need to look at the lure. There are multiple ways to place various lures in the water to capture a lot of fish.

As far as live bait is concerned, if you’re fishing for bass with minnows, a decent medium size minnow or shade would be perfectly appropriate on a bobber rig. You can use a baitholder line through the lips of the baitfish with a 12-inch baitfish cut. Finish off with a cabbage about three feet from the baitfish.

Only put it out to the cover piece (ie: brush pile, weed bed, bridge.) and wait. You’ll see the Bobber floating about in the water, and that’s all right, so you want the fish to swim in the open water under the shield.

When the Bobber starts spinning fast, you know the Bass or Crappie is following your lure. If the snorkel goes under the water, set the hook, you know you’ve got a fish on the deck.

But there is also a multitude of strategies for capturing Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie (white or black), and Pickrel with artificial bait.

Lake Fishing with Artificial Lures

There are several options for attracting fish that perform well on the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota. For a beginner, any of the hard bait is not worth the amount of money they pay, so you’re pretty much sure to lose it by snagging it in a bush or placing it between rocks.

So flexible plastics are the way to go. If you manage to have one snagged, what you lose is a little bit of terminal and fuzzy plastic, not a $7.00 plus incentive that you had to tell your significant other you had to get and then lose your first set.

The easiest thing to do when selecting soft plastics as a beginner is the numerous multitudes of plastic worms that line up the favorite dock shop shelves.

How to Catch Artificial Worm

Here’s a perfect lake fishing trick to get the finicky bass to suck. Get your bait dropping steadily with enough movement to attract even the finest bass to hit even though it’s out of interest.

When you throw your wacky wired worm outcast it right next to the cover plate, let it fall with a slackline. If you see your line move or start running sideways, set the hook because you’ve got a catch. If they don’t touch the bait at the beginning of the fall, you need to twitch your rod’s tip 3-4 times and let the bait fall through the slackline again.

Mind to still end the throwing, do not only roll the lure back in after the initial dropping or after two-three twitchings.

Fishing Tips And Tricks For Lake Fishing

Lake fishing is categorized into several different fishing forms based on the kind of fish you’re seeking. We’re going to name this lake fishing 101 at the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota.


You can fish for bass, in which case you’ll be going pretty frequently and tossing through different forms of cover, assuming your lure doesn’t know what it is.

Often it’s fun to get out into the water and swim hard to hit the place.

This convinces the bass to take the lure, whether it’s big mouth, tiny mouth, or white bass. It could be either from desire, a reflex hit, or you could just make the fish mad from repeated castings, and it would hit out of anger.

Still Fishing

You should do what’s called still fishing, too, which is targeted at a very different kind of fish from catfish, gar, white sturgeon, and basically all sorts of carnivorous fish. In order to be able to fish successfully, it requires 3-4 if not more rods with lines on the bottom or floating. Even with a bobber in various directions, hoping for a fish to come up to the hook and take the lure.


There are also several fishing approaches that are not permitted in certain lakes. However, where this is permitted, it can be a very effective way of capturing fish that are schooling. Also, the reaction to watching the crankbait fly past the position of the animal is okay. This is a really good way to catch striped bass, big-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, and crappie (which will school in classes of up to 50 fish, so if you see one crappie, there is likely to be more in that location).

Final Words

You’re not going to run out of options if you choose to try Minnesota fishing. It’s the land of 10,000 lakes, after all. If you’re a beginner or a seasoned angler, there are countless options to put your fishing rods and reels or even your net! With so many lakes in one place, keeping your finger on the right one to visit can be difficult. It’s much more tricky as most of them deliver breathtaking scenery and fun events.

However, with our list of the top 10 fishing lakes in Minnesota, you have a chance to enjoy the pleasure and beauty of the best lakes in the state. Look no further if you want real and accurate facts.