Minnesota state parks are great places for beginning anglers to try a hand at catching fish. And because summer is on the way, it means there will be plenty of people racing to enjoy the outdoors and warmer weather with some fishing. Some of the best fishing lakes can be found within the boundaries of the Minnesota state parks. Each location is either a little over an hour to a two-hour drive away from the city, making it convenient to get away from it all. Not only can beginning anglers fish for free and without a license in many of these lakes, but many of the parks have free fishing equipment for loan as well. Check out some of these free locations around the state of 10,000 lakes.
Lake Louise State Park
21071 County 118
Preston, MN 55965
Lake Louise is great for those hoping to catch largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, sunfish and channel catfish. In fact, a total of 47 species have been found in the lake. Fish come into the lake from the Upper Iowa and Little Iowa rivers, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The lake, which is located near the Minnesota-Iowa border, sits aside an 1,147-acre state park and is only available for shore fishing.
Fort Snelling State Park
101 Snelling Lake Road
St. Paul, MN 55111
Fort Snelling Lake is equipped with a wooden fishing dock, which is located on the north side of the lake. Here, fishers can cast for northern pike, sunfish, crappie and carp. The lake is spring fed and the dock is handicapped accessible. The lake also is equipped with a drive-in and carry-in boat launch, according to the park website.
Glendalough State Park
25287 Whitetail Lane Battle Lake, MN 56515 (218) 864-0110
Located in northern Minnesota, Annie Battle Lake is considered to be one of the best fishing locations in the state. The 355-acre lake is home to sunfish, crappie, walleye and bass. The lake is a non-motorized lake and is referred to as a “heritage fishery,” according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The population of panfish is closely regulated in the lake, and as a result, the fishing is almost always good.
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William O’Brien State Park
16821 O’Brien Trail N.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047
The St. Croix River and its channels provide a great place for fishers to catch northern pike, walleye, bass and trout. Like many of the other state parks on the list, William O’Brien State Park has free rental fishing equipment available. Fishers are allowed to cast from the shore in many areas, according to the state park website. The park is located northeast of St. Paul on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
Sibley State Park
800 Sibley Park Road N.E.
New London, MN 56273
Located in Sibley State Park, Lake Andrew is full of crappie. Though less common, walleye and northern pike can also be found in the lake. The 918-square-foot lake does not have boat access so anglers should expect to fish from the shore only. Free rental equipment is available.
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Kristyn Gansen is a freelance writer covering all things Minneapolis. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.