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Fishing doesn’t stop in winter; in fact, it’s a great adventure! You can choose to cozy up in a warm resort sleeper fish house or bring your own gear and set up on your favorite lake. There are fun ice fishing events and activities celebrating winter in every corner of Minnesota.
Ice fishing is a fun activity, but just as with all water (even frozen water)-related adventures, be sure to know and understand the conditions on the lake. Find more information on ice fishing and things to know from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
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People dream about fishing legendary waters like those found in Minnesota’s great northwest region. The area is home to some of the state’s largest lakes, including Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnie and Leech Lake. These lakes provide exceptional fishing opportunities year-round.
But it doesn’t stop there; you can find crystal clear lakes surrounded by pine forests in this north woods region, and famous river fishing on the Mississippi and Red Lake rivers.
Lake of the Woods, known by some as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” is a bucket list destination for many anglers. Fishing for walleye and sauger is the main attraction, but don’t miss exploring for other species, like muskie, northern pike, sturgeon and crappie.
Sportsman’s Lodges offer three distinct locations for year-round fishing on Lake of the Woods: a full-service resort along the Rainy River; and secluded island lodges and private vacation homes at the Northwest Angle.
Arnesen’s Resort on the south shore has a large protected harbor with nearby rock reefs where the walleye hang out. Lake of the Woods offers full-service charter boat and guide services at many of the resorts.
If you have never experienced the Northwest Angle and islands on Lake of the Woods, consider planning your island adventure now. Sunset Lodge, located on famous Oak Island along the Canadian border, is a full-service resort with everything you need to enjoy a Lake of the Woods island adventure.
The Red Lake River, accessible from Thief River Falls, is home to walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and crappies. Accessing the river is easy with two public accesses within the city limits. When you need a break from fishing, lodging, dining and other fun activities can be found in the area.
Rock your boat reeling in bass, walleye and muskie on Bemidji area lakes. Bemidji is a northern Minnesota regional hub that maintains its “up north” charm. Expert fishing guides can help find the “right spots” for those new to the area. Along the Lake Bemidji shoreline, Paul Bunyan and Babe watch over the action.
Just northeast of Bemidji, you’ll find Minnesota’s Lake Winnie (Winnibigoshish) in the Chippewa National Forest. Lake Winnie is comprised of 67,000 acres of clear, pristine water and a favorite location for a memorable fishing getaway or family vacation. The area is home to resorts, campgrounds, restaurants, and a hub for many year-round activities.
Along the west shore of Lake Winnie, you will find Becker’s Resort & Campground. Families enjoy the spacious resort, which features a number of great amenities including a heated pool, playground, lodge, and their famous hand-dipped ice cream cones. And don’t forget, it's a great fishing location for your whole family!
Leech Lake offers multispecies fishing, so there’s always something waiting to bite your hook. Midsummer, go on the ultimate fish hunt for some very active muskie. The lake also provides the opportunity to bring some great walleye and other species into your boat. You’ll find fishing and family resorts, and full-service everything-you-want lodging. Don’t miss downtown Walker, with its great restaurants and fun gift shops. Leave time to explore one of Minnesota’s most well-known sporting goods stores.
The Park Rapids Lakes Area is home to more than 400 pristine lakes where fishing can be a daily activity. Walleye, muskie, bass and panfish abound. The area is a great place to bring your family and catch some memories. Visit downtown Park Rapids for some shopping, dining and great community events. The famed Mississippi River begins its journey at Itasca State Park, just north of Park Rapids.
On Big Pelican Lake, near the town of Detroit Lakes, Fair Hills Resort is a family vacation destination with great fishing opportunities. Muskie, walleye and northern pike are favorites. The resort also has a variety of things to do for every member of the family. Many consider their time at Fair Hills as an annual family tradition.