Canoe with Fishing Gear in Minnesota

13 Best Fishing Lakes in Minnesota

I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that fishing lakes are in abundance in Minnesota. The North Star State is famous for its bodies of water, and most of which offer everything an angler could ask for to get the most out of their next fishing trip.

Whether you’re visiting Minnesota in the summer or winter, there’s fish to be caught — from crappie, perch, walleye, bass, and much more! However, you might find it difficult to choose which lake to visit. 

After all, you only have so much time here, so you need to choose wisely. With this in mind, I’ve put together 13 of the best fishing lakes in Minnesota below to help you find the right lake for your next fishing adventure!

Red Lake

Red Lake is one of the largest lakes in the North Star state, sitting at a whopping 107,800 acres. It is well-known for both ice and crappie fishing. In fact, according to the anglers who visit Red Lake on a regular basis, it’s not uncommon to lure in 40-inch long northern pikes here.

Beyond the fishing opportunities, though, you can also enjoy Red Lake’s various resort areas; which offer fun services like open launch trips, ice houses, RV rentals, campsites, and fishing guides (just to name a few). These services are offered year-round and are one of the major highlights of Red Lake aside from the giant lake itself!

Cut Foot Sioux Lake

This is touted by many as one of the best lakes in Minnesota, and is arguably the most visited lake in all of Itasca County. 

From May to early July, anglers often come out to fish in this active lake, which contains several types of fish including slab crappie, muskie, and walleye. Ice fish are also obtained at this lake in December. Needing a boat? No worries, Cut Foot Sioux Lake has easy access to not only boat rentals, but also lodging nearby!

Snelling Lake

Tourists come by the hundreds to this 101-acre lake. With its 9.5 foot depth, the lake offers several shore fishing locations for Anglers to choose from. 

Housing several types of fish including bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed fish, and northern pike, fishermen will not be disappointed. Aside from fishing, canoes and paddle boats are also encouraged to venture on Snelling Lake.

Boy fishing in Minnesota

Rainy Lake

At this lake, expect to catch 15 to 20 inch fishes! Fishermen often report that this lake never disappoints them when they visit. 

The lake is the one of the highest valued destinations in Minnesota. Rainy Lake offers not only several types of fishes not limited to crappie galore, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye, it too has a beautiful display of bays, reefs and islands surrounding the area.

Aside from fishing, you can go on guided fishing tours, rent boats, and lodge at resorts nearby that have more activities for you and the entire family to enjoy on shore.

Otter Tail Lake

Otter Trail Lake is the best walleye fishing location in Minnesota. The mass of acres, 13,725-acres to be exact, is surrounded by beautifully developed shorelines. 

Anglers of all ages and experiences come to this lake throughout the year. They do not leave empty handed after fishing at this lake for a day or weekend, especially from May to the middle of June, the prime season to capture their desired fish at this lake!

Annie Battle Lake

Annie Battle Lake is also known as the “heritage fishery” lake by several fishermen because of its seclusion, serenity, and its abundance of offerings. Located in Glendalough State Park, this lake is home to an array of fish. 

It houses bluegill, northern pike, largemouth bass, and walleye, all attracting fishers to visit throughout the season. Camping and lodging nearby are two staples visitors and fishermen often partake in when visiting this lake. 

Spider Lake

At 1,392-acres Spider Lake has a clear division with its shoreline. Visitors and fishermen note its attraction that the lake offers them due to this clear division between the lake and its shoreline. 

It is the perfect reason to visit, located in the Chippewa National Forest which also offers its own abundance of natural sights. Those who fish for bluegill, crappie, perch, muskie, northern pinke, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass will not be disappointed when they venture out to this lake. 

White Bear Lake

White Bear Lake is known for giving great catches of walleye and muskellunge to fishermen who campu out here. Aside from these two predominant species, fishermen have also iced fished here and captured other types of fish found in this lake such as bass, bluegill, crappie, northern pike, and crappie. Anglers often find their champion fish at this lake!

Lake Andrew

The 918-acre Lake Andrew offers the best day fishing location option for visitors. Although the size of the lake may be small to some, it offers a grave amount of options of fish for fishers such as: bass, black crappie, bluegill, panfish, perch, northern pike, and walleye.

Once the fishing day is concluded and it is time to take a break from the lake, there are several resorts and more attractions located on the shoreline.

Shagawa Lake

In the northeastern region lies Shagawa Lake, a lake filled with forested and unforgettable views. The depth is grave going as far down as 48 feet, offering several types of fish to catch like northern pikes, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and walleys. Shagawa Lake gives fishermen a positively fulfilled fishing experience.

Boats for rent can be found near the lake along with other visitor attractions in Ely also known as the doorway to the Superior National Forest which offers even more attractions aside from the lake itself. The options at this lake and the parts surrounding it are endless.

Sand Lake

Giving water access to other lakes, Sand Lake’s 4,382 forested acres paves the way for Anglers to obtain a different experience from the other lakes. 

At this lake, Anglers note the difference in water temperatures throughout this lake, underwater drops and structures, and the regular stocking from the Department of Natural Resources. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, all types of fishing techniques and experiences are welcomed at this lake! 

Canoe in Minnesota's BWCA

Lake Kabetogama

Meeting the Canadian border, Lake Kabetogama contains a variety of wildlife both in and out of its waters. The lake and its surrounding area has something for everybody. 

It offers not only fishing, but it too offers canoeing, kayaking, motor boating, and more. It is a popular destination not only for fishermen, but for non-fishermen as well, attributing its success to the on and offshore views surrounding the Voyageurs National Park.

Lake Vermilion

Lake Vermilion has numbers that any fishermen would love. It comes in at a grand total of 1,200 miles of shoreline, 40,000 acres of water, and 635 islands! 

This lake in Minnesota is the lake that captures not only the eyes, but the heart, and fishing soul in full. Fishermen have caught bass, black crappie, brown bullhead, bluegill, golden shiner, pumpkinseed, white sucker, and more. This is the lake to see as it is a popular destination amongst fishermen! The outdoors has to be seen to be believed.

Go Fishing!

I hope you get the opportunity to check out some of the best fishing lakes in Minnesota. For more comprehensive guides, tips, and recommendations to help you enjoy the North Star State, be sure to keep up to date with the Life in Minnesota blog!

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