Navigation Home - AA-Fishing Lakes Fish

Great Fishing In Minnesota

Pick A LakePick A SpeciesPick A State

Guide to fishing in the North Star State

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

  • Big Stone Lake, MN
  • Kabetogama Lake, MN
  • Lake Bemidji, MN
  • Lake Mille Lacs, MN
  • Lake Minnetonka, MN
  • Lake Minnewaska, MN
  • Lake of the Woods, MN
  • Lake Pepin, MN
  • Lake Vermilion, MN
  • Lake Winnibigoshish, MN
  • Leech Lake, MN
  • Otter Tail Lake, MN
  • Pelican Lake, MN
  • Rainy Lake, MN

Minnesota is a fishing paradise, offering a wide variety of fish species across its warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake. Anglers can find an abundance of opportunities to pursue their favorite species and enjoy the thrill of reeling in various fish.

In the warm water fisheries of Minnesota, anglers can target popular species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskie, and a range of panfish including crappie, bluegill, and perch. Lakes like Lake Minnetonka, Lake Vermilion, and Lake Mille Lacs are renowned for their warm water fisheries and provide excellent angling experiences. Anglers can enjoy the excitement of hooking into a trophy-sized bass, the challenge of landing a muskie, or the satisfaction of catching a walleye from these warm water lakes.

Minnesota's cold water fisheries offer a different angling experience, with a focus on species like trout and salmon. Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, provides exceptional opportunities for anglers to target lake trout, steelhead trout, and coho salmon. The inland lakes of the North Shore region, as well as the tributaries and streams, offer excellent trout fishing opportunities. Anglers can enjoy the tranquility of these cold water fisheries while casting their lines for prized trout and salmon.

Aside from the larger lakes, Minnesota is also home to numerous ponds, small lakes, and rivers that offer diverse fishing opportunities. These smaller bodies of water are often less crowded and provide a peaceful setting for anglers. Ponds and small lakes can be abundant with panfish such as bluegill, crappie, and sunfish. Rivers like the Mississippi, St. Croix, and Minnesota Rivers provide opportunities to catch a variety of species, including catfish, walleye, and smallmouth bass.

One of the great aspects of fishing in Minnesota is the vast array of species available to anglers. Whether you prefer pursuing game fish like bass and walleye or enjoy the excitement of catching panfish, Minnesota has something to offer. Anglers can explore the diverse fisheries of warm water lakes, cold water lakes, ponds, and rivers throughout the state, creating endless opportunities for memorable fishing adventures.

With its picturesque landscapes, abundant waters, and diverse fish populations, Minnesota truly is a haven for anglers. Whether you're casting a line in a quiet pond, exploring a pristine river, or venturing onto one of the iconic lakes, Minnesota's fishing scene promises excitement, relaxation, and the chance to reel in your next big catch.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Minnesota

Minnesota is virtually covered with lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. It is said to have 10,000 lakes and most provide some fishing opportunities. We are concentrating here on the larger lake and impoundments.

The state of Minnesota offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities. Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, white bass, yellow perch, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, bowfin, longnose gar, muskie, northern pike, sauger, sturgeon and tiger muskie in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams. Many of these fisheries offer ice fishing in winter.

Major Minnesota Lakes & Species

Minnesota major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major species to be found in each of the lakes or impoundments.

For a detailed list of primary fish species in MN, plus state fish records, see the list below.

Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.

Minnesote Smallmouth bassfishing

Big Stone Lake is a 12,600-acre lake on the western border of the state, at Ortonville.

Cass Lake is a 15,600-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Cass Lake.

Kabetogama Lake is a 25,700-acre lake on the northern border of the state, at Kabetogama.

Lac Qui Parle Lake is a 5,600-acre lake in the southwest part of the state, at Milan.

Lake Bemidji is a 6,100-acre lake in the north-central part of Minnesota at Bemidji.

Lake Mille Lacs is a 132,000-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, at Garrison.

Lake Minnetonka is a 14,000-acre lake in the east-central part of the state, at Minnetonka.

Lake Minnewaska is a 7,100-acre lake in the central part of the state, at Glenwood.

Lake of the Woods is a 950,000-acre lake on the northern border of the state, at Warroad.

Lake Pepin is a 25,000-acre lake on the eastern border of the state, at Lake City.

Lake Traverse is an 11,200-acre lake on the western border in the northwest corner of the state, at Browns Valley.

Lake Vermilion is a 40,500-acre lake in the northeast part of the state, at Tower.

Lake Winnibigoshish is a 58,500-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Bena.

Leech Lake is a 111,000-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Walker.

Lower Red Lake is a 180,000-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Red Lake.

Otter Tail Lake is a 13,700-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Otter Tail.

Pelican Lake is a 4,000-acre lake in the western part of the state, at Clear View. MN.

Rainy Lake is a 220,000-acre lake on the northern border of the state, at International Falls.

Upper Red Lake is a 108,000-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Waskish.

Fish Species & State Records in Minnesota


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 15 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 0 oz


Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 38 lbs 0 oz

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 70 lbs 0 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 52 lbs 8 oz


Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 0 oz

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 15 oz




World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 17 lbs 8 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 2 oz



World record: 15 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 9 lbs 13 oz




World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 13 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.2 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 4 oz

Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid sunfish

World record: N/A

State Record: 1 lbs 12 oz

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 1 lbs 5 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

State Record: 0 lbs 9 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz


Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 6 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 5 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 12 oz

Lake Trout

Lake trout

World record: 72 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 43 lbs 8 oz


Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon

World record: 79 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 12 lbs 13 oz

Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon

World record: 97 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 33 lbs 4 oz

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon

World record: 33 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 10 lbs 6 oz

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee salmon

World record: 9 lbs 10 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 15 oz

Pink Salmon

Pink salmon

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 8 oz

Other species



World record: 21 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 12 lbs 9 oz

Longnose Gar

Longnose gar

World record: 50 lbs 5 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 12 oz


Muskie (Muskellunge)

World record: 69 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 54 lbs 0 oz

Northern Pike

Northern pike

World record: 55 lbs 1 oz

State Record: 45 lbs 12 oz



Estimated world record: 1,100 lbs

State Record: 94 lbs 4 oz

Tiger Muskie

Tiger muskie

World record: 51 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 34 lbs 12 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

State of MN Fishing Information

Click here to obtain a Minnesota fishing license.

Bass fishing book

Fish for big bass

Excellent largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers.


Fishing in all states

AK Fishing AL Fishing AR Fishing AZ Fishing CA Fishing CO Fishing CT Fishing DC Fishing DE Fishing FL Fishing GA Fishing HI Fishing IA Fishing
ID Fishing IL Fishing IN Fishing KS Fishing KY Fishing LA Fishing MA Fishing MD Fishing ME Fishing MI Fishing MN Fishing MO Fishing MS Fishing
MT Fishing NC Fishing ND Fishing NE Fishing NH Fishing NJ Fishing NM Fishing NV Fishing NY Fishing OH Fishing OK Fishing OR Fishing PA Fishing
RI Fishing SC Fishing SD Fishing TN Fishing TX Fishing UT Fishing VA Fishing VT Fishing WA Fishing WI Fishing WV Fishing WY Fishing