Are you looking to create unforgettable memories at the best northern pike lakes in Minnesota?
Sure, the best part about fishing is reeling in the catch of a lifetime, but it’s also about creating memories that will last. Whether you are exploring the wild solo or you’re taking the family out with you, fishing in any of these 15 lakes is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Here’s the insider scoop on the best northern pike lakes in Minnesota.
1. Lake Minnetonka
First on our list of best northern pike lakes in Minnesota is arguably one of the best fishing lakes in North America. Lake Minnetonka offers amazing fishing and is incredibly easy to get to. This is the ideal fishing lake if you’re bringing the whole family with you.
What makes Lake Minnetonka so special? Not only will you be able to reel in northern pike to your heart’s content, but you and the family will be a stone’s throw away from the Twin Cities. This means you can make your trip as rugged as you like or cut loose and enjoy all the splendors that the big city has to offer. That includes some of the best pizza in Minnesota.
Lake Minnetonka offers a fantastic blend between fishing for northern pike and having access to all the excitement of a big city.
2. Basswood Lake
Are you ready to head up north?
Basswood Lake is definitely a choice for the more adventurous of us out there. This lake is located on the Boundary Waters. These are Northern Minnesota’s waterways that share a border with Canada. While some of these waterways are known for their family fun resorts, Basswood Lake is widely recognized as the outdoorsman’s fishing paradise.
You’ll have to be ready to take a serious trek to get to this lake. You’ll be able to find cabins and resorts nearby, but don’t expect to find a five-star hotel with a built-in theme park.
You can find pike in this Lake all year round. Just make sure to stick to the weedy shallows as the weather starts to get cold.
3. Leech Lake
Right in the middle between Fargo and Duluth, you’ll find the third largest lake in Minnesota‘s borders.
Leech Lake offers a little something for everyone which places it on our list of best northern pike lakes in Minnesota. No matter what kind of fisherman you are, you’ll be able to find accommodation for your style at Leech Lake. This lake is a paradise for trollers, casters, and everyone in between. You’ll be able to load up your favorite spinnerbait and explore a lifetime’s worth of undergrowth and vegetation looking for a legendary northern pike in this lake.
Leech Lake is also home to every type of accommodation. You’ll be able to find minimalist fishing boat docks all the way up to family fun resorts.
4. Lake Winnibigoshish
Lake Winnibigoshish comes from an old Ojibwe word “Wiinibiigoonzhish” which roughly translates to “filthy water.” However, don’t let that name fool you! This lake hides some serious northern pike fishing.
The “filthy” actually refers to the brackish qualities of Lake Winnibigoshish. Northern pike are very adaptable fish and are able to live in the waters of Lake Winnibigoshish. You can find them in the reefs, flats, and points throughout this lake.
Here’s a pro tip for fishing northern pike in Lake Winnibigoshish, stick to the “filthy” waters. The northern pike in this lake are known to be a little shy and will try to stay to the cloudy, brackish waves when they can.
5. Crooked Lake
Here’s an option for fishermen looking for something a little bit more intense that you can do during the winter.
People often skip fishing for pike when the lakes start to freeze over, but this is when you can get some of the biggest pike out there. Crooked Lake is located in The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As the name suggests, there are only two ways to get to Crooked Lake.
You can canoe to Crooked Lake during the warmer months and take a dog sled team here during the colder months. Crooked Lake is hard to get to which makes it difficult for fishermen to overfish. This makes the northern pike here seriously huge.
If you come here during the winter, you’ll have access to some of the biggest northern pike around.
6. White Iron Lake
Does all this talk of fishing The Boundary Waters get your heart pounding, but you’re not quite ready to explore the untamed border between the United States and Canada? White Iron Lake gives you the environment of fishing for northern pike in The Boundary Waters, but with plenty of the amenities of home.
White Iron Lake is home to the White Iron Lake Beach Resort. This resort gives you access to the rugged fishing of White Iron Lake, but lets you come home to modern cabins even equipped with Wi-Fi.
7. Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woods may call itself “The Walleye Capital Of The World,” but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better lake for fishing Northern Pike in Minnesota. This is also one of the most beautiful lakes to enjoy during the summer.
One of the best parts about Lake of the Woods is that you’re going to find plenty of places to stay. There are over fifty motels and resorts on Lake of the Woods and its connected rivers. Many of these resorts offer activities for the whole family when you, or the kids, need to take a break from reeling in northern pike.
Lake of the Woods is also one of Northern Minnesota’s most beautiful natural locations and shares an international border with Ontario, Canada.
8. Spider Lake
Don’t let the spooky name fool you, Spider Lake is a beautiful lake with perfect northern pike fishing.
Spider Lake has some truly beautiful features. Spider Lake has a virtually untouched coast that remains rugged and wild. There are one or two local resorts that will give you access to this lake, but you can expect to be mostly left alone while out fishing.
The pike in Spider Lake range from medium to large owing to the challenging location.
Oh, and don’t worry. There are only the usual amount of spiders here. The lake gets its name for branching out like a spider’s web.
9. Clearwater Lake
Are you looking for a fishing trip that is specifically designed to challenge your skills as an angler?
Clearwater Lake offers a challenging fishing experience for beginners and seasoned fishermen alike. This lake has rapidly changing deaths. You could be in 5-foot shallows and then quickly find yourself in the depths of this lake which go deeper than 70 feet in their normal water levels. This means you’re going to have to quickly change up your fishing strategies to get the best experience.
Once you’ve mastered the oddities of Clearwater Lake, you’ll be able to reel in northern pike that range from 10 to 15 pounds.
10. Robinson Lake
Robinson Lake is one of the greatest hidden gems of the best northern pike lakes in Minnesota. Located just a short drive outside of Wabasha, Robinson lake is where you go fishing for giants.
There are two secrets to finding monstrous northern pike. You want to find a water system with plenty of vegetation and you also need to find a location that has very little fishing. Robinson Lake combines the best of both of these.
Robinson Lake might lack some of the amenities and over-the-top excitement of a big lakeside resort, but it will offer that quiet rustic fishing that so many of us look for.
11. Medicine Lake
Medicine Lake is going to throw some curveballs your way, but the northern pike here are something else.
The average size of a northern pike in Medicine Lake is just shy of 25 inches. That’s pretty impressive for a lake that’s on the edge of Minneapolis. Just like a few other lakes on this list, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the amenities of a big city wall fishing for an equally big northern pike.
Here’s a tip for fishing for northern pike on Medicine Lake. The shallows in this lake drop off quickly which limits the amount of vegetation that northern pike can hide in. Try sticking to spinnerbait and fishing in the shallows for your best chance of landing a pike.
12. Rainy Lake
Sometimes to get the best fishing experience you need to hire the best fishing guide.
Rainy Lake is known throughout the state of Minnesota for its fishing guides. You could find a guide who’s willing to show you all of the ins and outs of fishing for northern pike or a guide who just wants to rent you a fishing boat and point you towards a hotspot. This could be a great opportunity for beginner and intermediate pike fishermen who are looking for some expert guidance.
Rainy Lake also has several resorts which makes it a great choice for families looking for a rustic getaway.
13. Lake Louise
Lake Louise is just 26 feet deep, but that’s an ideal depth for finding northern pike in the best northern pike lakes in Minnesota.
Lake Louise is also a naturalist’s paradise. You and the family will be able to spot whitetail deer, butterflies, turtles, and all of the other wildlife Minnesota has to offer at this lake. You can also find campsites equipped with electricity and other amenities.
Lake Louise is a great middle-ground between roughing it and looking for a five-star resort.
14. Lake Vermillion
Lake Vermilion is located in the northern reaches of the state and features some truly impressive Wilderness. This lake sits on thousands of acres of water and offers you endless exploration when it comes to sailing these waves and fishing for northern pike.
You can also find great hiking in Minnesota near this lake.
The rugged environment is also something you’re not going to see anywhere else in the world. On Lake Vermillion, even the most modestly successful northern pike fishing expeditions are going to end with memories that will last a lifetime.
15. Big Marine Lake
One thing that makes fishing for Northern Pike in Minnesota so fantastic is that you have a wide selection of lakes to choose from. If you make the Twin Cities your base of operations, you’ll have access to a countless variety of northern pike lakes.
Big Marine Lake is unlike any other on this list. It has near crystal clear water which forces the northern pike down to greater depths. This means you’re going to have to focus on your skills as a troller if you’re looking to catch pike in this lake.
Wrapping Up The Best Northern Pike Lakes in Minnesota
Which of the best northern pike fishing lakes in Minnesota are you heading to first? Is it going to be one of the rugged options in the Boundary Waters or something a little bit closer to a major city? Be sure to let us know where you find that 40-inch fish!
Check out our other articles below to explore everything that the state of Minnesota has to offer. You can also comment with your favorite beer-battered fish fingers recipe!
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!
- About the Author
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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.