There was a day when a kid wanted to fish, he could dig up some worms in a tin can, put a bamboo pole on his shoulder, walk to the lake and catch all the panfish he could carry home. Fortunately, it is still that easy to find fish in this Land of 10,000 Lakes. Here are five best places in Minnesota to go fishing.
Best Game Fish
Lake of the Woods
930 Main St. E.
Baudette, MN 56623
This mighty lake packs a lot of fish. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, also known as the DNR, found big Muskies and Northern Pike and more walleye than in any other lake when it set out netting to survey the lake in 2013. Muskies weighed in at an average of 10.38 pounds; there were and a good number of Northerns over 30 inches and they netted 909 walleye. Rainy Lake only produced 219 walleye in a similar survey, while well-known walleye Lake Vermilion produced only 24 walleye in a 2010 survey.
Related: Top 10 Walleye Lakes In Minnesota
Largest Northern Pike
Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River
Northern Pike in Pepin are whoppers, according to Minnesota DNR’s 2012 survey. The 4.6-pound average weight of Northerns netted is well above the statewide range of 2.4 to 4.3 pounds. Almost three of every 10 Pike netted by the DNR were over 30 inches. Walleye in this lake came in small, at only 1.54 pounds on average.
Gitche Gumee produces record salmon. The largest Coho in state records was caught in 1970 and weighed 10 pounds, six ounces. A Chinook, or King Salmon, caught in 1989 measured over 42 inches and weighed over 33 pounds, tying it with another caught in the Poplar River off the north shore. Whitefish are easier to catch and are not bad eating, either. The Minnesota DNR stocks a healthy quantity of this large game fish every year.
Most Public Landings
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources lists 18 public launches and most provide plenty of parking. It stands to reason that there are a lot of landings because the Minnetonka has more than 100 miles of shoreline. In addition to the public landings are numerous boat rentals and charter services, as well as lakeside restaurants with convenient docking facilities. The lake offers a good variety, with quiet bays for bass and panfish. A good fisher can also find Northerns throughout the lake. The DNR caught a lot of this voracious hunter in its survey nets.
Best Landing in Minnesota—Mille Lacs Lake
32390 Fisher Road
Aitkin, MN 56342
There is something for everyone at Fishers. Boaters can launch three at a time in two separate harbors any time of the day or night. Shore fishers have two protected bays to cast for walleyes when the lake is rough. Travel light and take one of the launches leaving three times a day. Groups up to six can charter an exclusive fishing event in a 27-foot Sportcraft with all equipment provided. Campers have use of shower, RV dump station, swimming beach, volleyball, playground and laundry facilities. Lodgers can choose from eleven cabins on the lake. One important feature of this Mille Lacs destination is its location on the lake with no highway dividing you from the lake. These may be some of the reasons why WCCO viewers chose Fisher as Minnesota’s Best Fishing Launch.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.