Crappies are popular among anglers for their tasty white meat. Apart from the various fishing methods for crappies, you also need to consider the location as well. In Minnesota, you can find them in many ponds, rivers, and small lakes. However, you have a better chance of catching more crappies on larger lakes.
Minnesota is known for its 10,000 Lakes, and these lakes are stocked with various species of freshwater lake fish. For both novice and professional anglers, we have compiled a list of some of the best crappie lakes in Minnesota to help you save time and increase your chances of a good catch.
1. Sand Lake
Sand Lake is first on the list of the best crappie lakes in Minnesota. Located in Cass County, it’s 4,328 acres in size, which makes it an ideal spot for fishing. It is part of the bowstring chain of lakes, including Boston Lake, Little Boston Lake, Bird’s Eye Lake, Portage Lake, Dora, Lake Forest Lake, and Sand Lake. The bowstring river connects these lakes and leads into a Big Fork River.
Sand Lake boasts exquisite forested surroundings, shallow waters, and protected bays. It also has underwater structures, different water temperatures, and access to other lakes and rivers. These conditions make the crappie population in Sand Lake thrive. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stocks and legs open with various species, including crappie, bass, northern pike, jumbo perch, and panfish.
2. Lake Andrew
Lake Andrew is 1918 Acres Lake in Douglas County that is excellent for angling and recreational activities like swimming. It has beautiful scenery because half of the Lake’s shoreline features secluded wilderness. The other half of the lake has attractions and resorts. Crappies prefer the cover of the secluded wilderness, which helps to increase their population in Lake Andrew.
This is an excellent location for anglers looking for black crappie, northern pike, panfish, perch, walleye, and black crappie.
The lake has an average depth of 39 feet, a maximum depth of 83 feet, and a shoreline that stretches for 5:46 miles. It is a spring-fed lake, so its primary water source is groundwater from inside and outside the surface.
3. Red Lake
Red Lake is one of the largest lakes in Minnesota, with an area of 107,800 acres. The lake is in Beltrami County and has a vast supply of crappy. It’s also popular for ice fishing. As a result, people have built resorts along the shore to offer ice houses for visiting anglers. You may get open launch trips, fishing guides, RV rentals, and campsites throughout the year.
The lake used to have a large walleye population before it collapsed back in the 1990s.
Red Lake has a large crappie population because they filled in the void left by the walleyes. Later the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources restocked millions of walleyes over seven years. You may also find species like largemouth bass, bluegill, lake sturgeon, and more. Red Lake is open throughout the year.
4. Steiger Lake
Steiger Lake is a small lake in Carver County. It sits within Three Rivers Park (Carver Park Reserve). The Lake has an area of 165 acres and a maximum depth of 37 feet. It has a 2.3 miles shoreline that features boat ramp access. Crappies do well in the deep and clear waters like the ones on Steiger Lake.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources implemented catch-and-release regulations for Northern pike and largemouth bass in 1988. Therefore, there is an abundance of these two species and more.
You are also likely to catch some black crappie on Steiger lake. Anglers on Steiger Lake also catch crappie, yellow bullhead, blue Gill, muscular yellow perch, black bullhead, pumpkinseed, and muskie.
5. Spider Lake
Spider Lake in Itasca County makes an excellent fishing getaway thanks to its natural beauty and the species available. It is known as spider lake because its outline branches like a spider. The lake has an area of 1392 acres and a maximum depth of 36 feet. About half of the lake has a depth of below 15 feet.
Its shoreline stretches for about four miles. Spider Lake has beautiful scenery that features protected base secluded inlets, and miles of unspoiled Burch and Pines along the shoreline. These features help the crappie population on Spider Lake to thrive. Apart from crappy, you will find various other species, including bluegill, walleye, Northern Pike, muskie, perch, smallmouth, and largemouth bass.
6. Rainy Lake
Rainy Lake is a narrow freshwater lake on the Canadian-US border between the Rainy River District of Northwestern Ontario, Canada, and Koochiching County in Minnesota, USA. The lake is about 50 miles long, and 35 miles are part of the international border.
Rainy Lake covers 260 square miles, with a maximum width of 27 miles and an average of 5 miles. It has deeply indented and irregular Shores and over 500 Islands. It drains westwards into the lake of Woods through the rainy river, which is 85 miles long. The Islands and vegetation provide ample cover for Rainy Lake’s crappie population and help it grow as a suitable provider.
The Rainy Lake region has several Indian reservations. It is also popular for fishing, canoeing, and hunting. You can get guided fishing tours, resort lodgings, boat rentals, and other services from local anglers. While fishing, you’re likely to find some crappie, walleye, smallmouth bass, and Northern pike.
7. Bowstring Lake
Bowstring lake in Itasca county is part of the Bowstring Chain of Lakes. It’s on 9,500 acres and has four different public access areas for anglers. The lake’s shoreline is within the Chippewa National Forest. It also has access to nearby campsites, resorts, and plenty of outdoor space for other activities.
The primary species in Bowstring Lake is walleye because the color of the water in this lake is a little dark which helps them thrive. The underwater structure makes it suitable for crappies to survive as secondary fish. In Bowstring Lake, you will also get northern pike, panfish, perch, perch, and bass.
8. Cut Foot Sioux Lake
Cut foot Sioux lake is one of the most popular lakes in Itasca County, thanks to its active crappie, walleye, and muskie population. The lake got its name from warring Indian tribes in 1750 AD. Ojibwa Soldiers were hunting Sioux soldiers after the battle. They came across a Sioux soldier who had lost his legs due to frostbite by the lake.
Cut Foot Sioux Lake is a natural Lake with a large surface area because Lake Winnie Dam traps water in the Mississippi River. It measures about 2,768 acres and connects to Lake Winnibigoshish on the southwest side. The lake has a maximum depth of about 78 feet, and the water is clear for up to 9 feet.
The deep, clear waters and ample vegetation cover provide a suitable habitat for crappies. Walleyes are the primary fish in this location, but you can also catch plenty of crappies, bluegill, bass, sunfish, jumbo perch, muskies, and northern pike.
9. White Bear Lake
White Bear Lake in Ramsey County is open all year, including the winter, for ice fishing. Walleyes are the primary fish in this location as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources stocks them annually.
Ice anglers mainly look for northern pike, walleye, and panfish. However, the northern pike in White Bear Lake are usually small and measure about 18 to 22 inches. People fish for the rest of the year for yellow perch, crappies, bass, walleyes, and bluegills. The lake also has some invasive species, including Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussel.
White Bear Lake facilitates both shore fishing and boat access. It also measures 2,427 a shore length of about 14 miles, a mean depth of 20 feet, and a maximum of 83 feet. The shoreline cover and depth create a habitat that crappies can thrive in and increases your chances of catching some.
10. Annie Battle Lake
Annie Battle Lake is in Glendalough State Park in Otter Tail County and is open for fishing throughout the year. The location offers anglers a serene and isolated fishing experience. Annie Battle Lake is only 354 acres in area, 51 feet in depth, and has a shoreline that stretches for 2.8 miles.
You will find a good population of crappies and fish like walleye, yellow perch, yellow bullhead, northern pike, muskie, largemouth bass, rock bass, brown bullhead, black bullhead, bluegill, carp, pumpkinseed, and more. The crappies in Annie Battle Lake thrive thanks to the isolated fishing, vegetation cover, and depth of the lake.
Annie Battle Lake features many trails, which makes it suitable for hiking too. The lake also features canoe-in campsites and cart-in campgrounds. However, the lake does not have boat ramp access. You can still use a canoe or kayak to explore and fish.
11. Cedar Lake
Cedar Lake is a 700-acre lake in Morrison County. It is a small and deep lake with a depth of 88 feet. The lake also has a shoreline length of 3 miles. It is an excellent place to catch both black and white crappies. You will also find fish species like Yellow Perch, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Bluegill, Cisco, and Walleye.
The crappie population on this lake is high thanks to the vegetation cover and connection with the Lake of isles and Brownies Lake. This location also features a cross-country ski trail, fishing pier, biking path, walking path, grill, and pay parking lot. Cedar Lake is small and deep. Therefore, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources classified the lake as Sentinel Lake. Sentinel Lakes are the ones the department is monitoring the ecosystem closely.
12. Lac Qui Parle
Lac Qui Parle is a 6,000-acre lake in Lac Qui Par County. It is a reservoir that was created when the Minnesota River was dammed in 1939. The lake is well known for both fishing and waterfowl hunting. Some of the waterfowl present in the lake are Canadian Geese.
The maximum depth of the lake is 15 feet. You will find a healthy population of crappies, walleyes, bluegills, smallmouth bass, lake sturgeon, northern pike, and channel catfish. You can get both black and white crappies with an average weight of about half a pound. Crappies thrive on Lac Qui Parle thanks to the ample diet and structural cover, such as vegetation. The lake also offers access to the Lac Qui Parle State Park on the southern end. Lac Qui Parle It also has a boat ramp access.
13. Lake Vermilion
Lake Vermillion in Saint Louis Country is one of Minnesota’s most popular fishing locations because of its picturesque views. It has a water surface of about 40,000 acres, over 365 islands, and a shoreline of about 1,200 miles, making it excellent for an outdoor experience. It has a maximum depth of about 76 feet.
You have a high chance of getting crappies thanks to the cover that comes from all the islands and a reliable food source. The lake is home to many black crappies, bluegill, brown bullhead, bass, pumpkinseed, white sucker, and golden shiner. You will also have access to many lodging and camping choices. Lake Vermillion is open throughout the year. It usually freezes from mid-November to April or May. Superior National Forest entirely surrounds the lake.
14. Artichoke Lake
Artichoke Lake is in Bigstone and Swift Counties. It has an area of about 2,000 acres and a maximum depth of 15 feet. Islands, bays, flats, and narrows surround Artichoke Lake.
It is home to various fish species, including black crappies, northern pike, common carp, yellow perch, black bullhead, walleye, and fathead minnows.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources classifies the lake as a sentinel lake because it has a high phosphorus concentration. It has a phosphorus concentration because of the surrounding vegetation. The lake also has low aquatic plant growth, which has reduced the number of migrating waterfowl visiting. However, the surrounding vegetation provides ample cover and food for the crappies.
15. Leech Lake
Last but not least on our list of best crappie lakes in Minnesota is Leech Lake. Leech Lake in Cass County is an ideal spot to catch some black crappie. It has 102,000 acres, a maximum depth of 156 feet, and a shoreline that stretches for 195 miles. The lake also features 11 islands, golf courses, recreational swimming, restaurants, and access to some beautiful wilderness.
Crappies do well on Leech lake thanks to its depth and abundant source of food for the fish. Apart from the crappies, you will also find species like bluegill, catfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, white sucker, yellow bullhead, muskellunge, rock bass, and more. Anglers usually take home fish with a weight ranging from 30 to 50 pounds.
Crappie Lakes in Minnesota
You can fish for crappies in Minnesota any day of the year. You need to get a yearly license to fish in Minnesota if you are 16 years old and above. Crappies are in abundance in these lakes and others. However, it is essential to exercise control to preserve the supply for another expedition. The state of Minnesota only allows each angler to keep ten crappies.
Once you have completed your fishing adventures, let us know which of the best crappie lakes in Minnesota you caught the most.
Want to learn more about fishing, discover more fishing spots, and or read up on the best fishing gear? Then continue your fishing adventure with our comprehensive guides, info posts, and more!
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.