Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes with it being one of the most popular fishing states in the U.S. Minnesota fishing lakes contribute a huge amount towards the more than $2 billion spent on fishing across the state. In these states, there are plentiful walleye, bass, and trout that will allow you to enjoy any trip to the Northern States to fish for a range of different species.
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Lake of the Woods
The Lake of the Woods is one of the best fishing lakes in Minnesota with around one-third of the lake located in the state. The lake is part of the Rainy River and moves north to drain into Hudson Bay meaning this lake has a large number of abundant fish species to be found within its borders. Among the fish you will find in this lake are the walleye, northern pike, sturgeon, and the perch which are all commonly found within its waters. This 951,337-acre lake is a popular spot for ice fishing from mid-December to March in what is commonly known as an abundant Walleye-filled body of water.
Upper Red Lake
Located in Beltrami County, Upper Red Lake is the largest inland lake in Minnesota with 119,295 acres of water surface. One of the most difficult aspects of the lake to get to grips with is around 60 percent of it being located on the lands of an Indian Reservation meaning it can only be fished with the aid of a guide.
The lake does have a huge Walleye population along with northern pike, largemouth bass, lake sturgeon, and many more species. Upper Red Lake is an impressive size, but its shallow average depth of 15 feet means it has developed a reputation for being one of the first lakes to freeze in the Midwest each year. By mid-November, the ice is usually thick enough to allow you to access the lake with the water remaining frozen through March most years.
White Bear Lake
If you are traveling into Minnesota by plane, White Bear Lake is a great option for starting your fishing journey across the state. The town of White Bear Lake is located just 20 miles from the Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport to provide easy access to the region and the fishing options.
When you head out onto the waters of White Bear Lake you will have 5,542-acres to use to catch a range of fish from the abundant Northern Pike to the Walleye that is abundant in many of the lakes of Minnesota. You can also fish for Muskellunge and Largemouth Bass, among other species on offer. You can also find yourself taking part in some of the most popular ice fishing in the region with the season tending to run from Mid-December to March with its shallow maximum depth of 24 feet keeping the ice in place for the majority of years.
The abundant Walleye population is what keeps fishermen coming back to Lake Kabetogama year after year. With 25,000-acres of water with the shoreline largely undeveloped, Kabetogama offers a few resorts on the shoreline where boats can be put in to start your fishing vacation on the lake. This is among the best fishing lakes in Minnesota because of the huge numbers of Walleye, Largemouth Bass, and yellow perch that can be found in the water.
Lake Kabatogama sits in the middle of a state park, which means it has a different feel to most lakes when the Winter arrives and the ice covers the water. Instead of huge ice rigs and powerful trucks moving you on and off the ice in the relative comfort of your chosen vehicle, the ice fishing at Lake Kabetogama is more rustic. State park rules prohibit the creation of roads and trails, meaning you can either work with a tour guide or simply walk out onto a safe area of ice and make your fishing hole.
Annie Battle Lake
There is much to enjoy about setting out on a fishing vacation at Annie Battle Lake in the heart of Glendalough State Park and remains one of the most important Minnesota fishing lakes. The park refers to the experience of fishing this isolated and undeveloped lake as heritage fishing. This means the modern amenities you are used to are not available on this quiet lake that is just 354-acres in size and is just 51 feet at its deepest point.
The fact Annie Battle Lake is off the beaten path is one of its most important benefits with this well-stocked lake something of a hidden gem for most locals. The small and shallow nature of Annie Battle Lake means it will often freeze early in the Winter with the fishing for Walleye, Crappie, Largemouth Bass, and Northern Pike all fished for on this beautiful and quiet lake.
Few fishermen in Minnesota have mot spent some time on Rainy Lake trying to catch a range of species, including the abundant Walleye, Northern Pike, and Smallmouth Bass. This large lake of 230,030-acres is located in Koochiching County close tot he borders with Canada with much of the acreage of the body of water located in the Canadian region of Ontario.
Rainy Lake is a varied region to visit during the winter ice fishing season with some areas in Minnesota being home to various resorts and populated areas. Other parts of Rainy Lake are remote enough to offer an isolated experience with snowmobiles required to access the shoreline. The isolated nature of Rainy Lake means you can find ice fishing opportunities available from parts of November through to March each year.
This lake is a 918-acre body of water that is stocked with perch, bass, and panfish. Located in Douglas County, the lake has benefitted from a range of resorts being developed along the shore leaving a lot of isolated areas around the shore of the lake to be fished for the plentiful Perch and other fish found in the lake. Walleye have benefitted from a range of efforts to restock the lake in the last few years. The fact there are numerous cabins located around Lake Andrew makes it a perfect spot for a weekend ice fishing getaway.
Best Ice Fishing Lakes in Minnesota
With the cold climate during the winter and proximity to Lake Superior, Minnesota is known as one of the best places for ice fishing. Here are some of the best lakes for ice fishing in Minnesota:
- Lake of the Woods (for walleye)
- Lake Winnibigoshish in Chippewa National Forest
- Gull Lake
- Lake Harriet
- Lake Superior (for lake trout)
- Upper Red Lake
- Lake Phalen
- Mille Lacs Lake