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Panfish, Perch & Sunfish Fishing In Minnesota

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Guide to fishing for sunfish in MN lakes and ponds.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers


Throughout the state you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, white bass and yellow perch. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about panfish fishing and identify popular sunfish fishing waters in the state. Ice fishing for perch is popular throughout the state in winter.

Bluegill Fishing Basics Video

The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.

Minnesota is a haven for panfish enthusiasts, offering a variety of species that provide exciting and enjoyable fishing experiences. Among the popular panfish species in Minnesota are sunfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, green sunfish, and perch. These fish are abundant in the state's lakes, rivers, and ponds, making them a great target for anglers of all ages, including youth.

Sunfish, particularly bluegill, are one of the most common panfish species in Minnesota. These fish can be found in numerous lakes and provide excellent fishing opportunities for young anglers. Bluegill are known for their scrappy fights and can be caught using simple tackle and bait. They are often found near submerged structures, such as docks, fallen trees, or weed beds.

Redear sunfish, also known as shellcrackers, are another sought-after panfish species in Minnesota. While less common than bluegill, they offer a unique angling experience. Redear sunfish are known for their fondness for snails and other aquatic invertebrates. They can be found in lakes with sandy or rocky bottoms and are often caught using small jigs or live bait.

Green sunfish, with their vibrant colors, are a lesser-known but equally exciting panfish species. They can be found in various lakes and rivers, particularly in areas with weedy cover or rocky structures. Green sunfish are known for their aggressive nature and can provide fast-paced fishing action for young anglers.

Perch, while not exclusively considered panfish, are often included in this category due to their similar size and fishing techniques. Yellow perch, in particular, are abundant in many Minnesota waters. They can be found in both lakes and rivers, often near vegetation or drop-offs. Perch fishing provides a fun and rewarding experience for young anglers, as they are relatively easy to catch and offer a tasty meal.

Minnesota's panfish fishing provides a perfect opportunity for youth fishing. These species are often willing biters, making it easier for young anglers to experience success and build their fishing skills. Additionally, their manageable size and accessible locations make panfish fishing a great starting point for young anglers to develop a love for the sport.

Whether it's the thrill of reeling in a feisty bluegill, the challenge of catching a redear sunfish, or the excitement of hooking a perch, panfish fishing in Minnesota offers endless enjoyment for youth anglers. With the state's abundant waters and diverse panfish species, young anglers can create lasting memories while learning about fishing, conservation, and the wonders of the natural world.

Sunfish Fishing Lakes

Minnesota is the land of ten-thousand lakes and you can be sure a high percentage of them have one or species of panfish as residents. State records typically come from small lakes and private ponds that receive little fishing pressure. The larger, more consistent schools of panfish come from some of the major lakes in this state including Big Stone Lake, Cass Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Lac Qui Parle Lake, Lake Bemidji, Lake Mille Lacs, Lake Minnetonka, Lake Minnewaska, Lake of the Woods, Lake Pepin, Lake Traverse, Lake Vermilion, Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, Lower Red Lake, Otter Tail Lake, Pelican Lake, Rainy Lake, Upper Red Lake and many others.

Top Producing Panfish Lures & Bait

Check out the top producing lures and bait for bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass and warmouth, as well as other smaller sunfish. Click here for the best lures for white bass, yellow bass, white perch and yellow perch.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Minnesota

In-state panfish, sunfish and perch



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

Click the images and links above for species details.

Minnesota State Record Sunfish

The state record bluegill was caught from Alice Lake.

The state record green sunfish came from North Arbor Lake.

The state record hybrid sunfish came from the Middle Fork Zumbro River.

The state record pumpkinseed sunfish came out of Leech Lake.

The state record rock bass tie, one was caught in Lake Winnibigoshish, one was caught from Lake Osakis.

The state record warmouth came out of Pool 6 Bartlet Lake.

The state record white bass came from Vadnais Lake.

The state record yellow perch was caught from Lake Plantaganette.

One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Minnesota, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.

The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.


Sunfish information in other states.

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