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Where to Go Fishing in Minnesota This Week

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Fall fishing from a dock at Loons Landing Resort   / Visit Grand Rapids

Weekly Fishing Update - Oct. 22, 2021

Few reports are available as anglers put away their boats and wait for the upcoming ice fishing season. It won't be long until open water gives way to hard water. Enjoy the open water season while you can!

The bite remains great in waters throughout the state. Jigs and rigs tipped with minnows are key to catching walleye, along with other species of fish. Anglers continue to have success with walleye and crappies at the greenest weeds. Muskie and pike are also eager to bite, especially at the outside weed edges where it's easy to ambush smaller fish.

Happy fishing!

Before You Head Out

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, please check with event organizers for potential event alterations. Prior to making travel plans, please visit Explore Minnesota's COVID-19 Information page.  

Before dropping a line, be sure to learn and abide by Minnesota's rules, regulations and other helpful information for fishing.


Quick links

Northeast  |  Northwest  |  Central  |  Minneapolis-St. Paul  |  Southern

Fishing boats at sunrise on Lake Superior near Duluth

Fishing boats at sunrise on Lake Superior near Duluth / Deborah Moe

Fishing Conditions in Northeast Minnesota

Cook County: Lutsen-Tofte, Grand Marais, Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage area waters

According to local charter captains, the fishing on Lake Superior has been good, especially for salmon along the mouths of rivers. The best presentations are jigs and flies. On the inland lakes, fishing has also been good. The smallmouth bass are responding well to a variety of presentations in slightly deeper waters. The walleye are hitting minnows and jigs in the mornings and evenings. Anglers report an uptick in northern pike activity. 

Contact Visit Cook County for more information.

Duluth - Lake Superior, St. Louis River and inland waters

A few anglers continue to venture out onto Lake Superior in the Twin Ports vicinity. Most are fishing for salmon and brown trout using common trolling techniques. This time of year, many of these fish have moved closer to the mainland, so areas near shore will be good spots to target. 

On the St. Louis River, angling has been good to walleye anglers. Many tactics are working well, but it's hard to beat a simple jig or hook tipped with a minnow. Another great way to catch walleye is to trigger a reactionary bite by running a 1/8-ounce jig and soft plastic about 1 to 2 feet off the bottom. Trolling and casting stick baits should also turn some fish. Smallmouth bass remain easy targets when fishing the fast, skinny waters. Northern pike and muskie are also being taken. 

As mentioned last week, the inland waters are mostly quiet. Minnow rigs fished along the outside perimeter of the vegetation remains best for walleye, however, don't overlook the shallow soft-bottom mud basins. Northern pike and bass are responding well to spinner baits cast towards the shorelines and areas where docks have been removed. Consider doing some open water scouting before the lakes freeze over. Many times fishing the early ice spots really pay off. Exploring different areas now can lead to lots of success once the ice forms. 

Contact Visit Duluth for more information. 

Grand Rapids

The beautiful fall weather is giving way to cooler temperatures, reminding us that our open water fishing days are numbered. Water temperatures are cooling off and are now in the mid-50s. Walleye fishing remains good despite the changes. Anglers having the most success are using jig and minnow combinations during morning and evening hours. Preferred minnow options are shiners, chubs and rainbows. Lakes to consider over the next few weeks are Big Cutfoot, Big Winnibigoshish, Splithand, Wabana, Trout, and Moose. 

Crappies are starting to show up in the soft bottom bays in depths of 20-30 feet. Use your electronics to locate schools of crappies then anchor and jig with small minnows or plastics on 1/16th- to 1/8th-ounce jigs. Keep your bait slightly above the school of crappies since they, and several other species, feed upward. Jig colors to try are glow pink, black, and glow chartreuse. Excellent lakes for late season crappie action are Big and Little Splithand, Cutfoot, Bowstring, Jessie and Little Turtle. 

Northern pike and muskies are becoming more aggressive. Many trophy pike and muskie anglers bring large sucker minnows so when a large fish is spotted, they can drop a minnow right in front of it. Quick strike rigs can also be used to ensure hook-ups and easy release. Some of the lakes to check out, especially for trophy muskie, are Deer, Moose, Big Cutfoot and North Star, along with the Blandin Reservoir. Get out and enjoy the last weeks of open water fishing — it’s beautiful out there! 

Contact Visit Grand Rapids for more information. 

Fishing from shore in Thief River Falls

Fishing from shore in Thief River Falls  / Visit Thief River Falls

Fishing Conditions in Northwest Minnesota

Baudette - Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

Anglers are enjoying an excellent week of fall walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods. Catches include lots of large and eating-size fish, along with quite a few smaller walleye. Expect to do a lot of sorting since there are large numbers of smaller walleye in the system which bodes well for health of the fishery in the future. The best approach for large and eating-size walleye is to anchor and jig a fathead or emerald shiner. Most fish can be found near the bottom, however, some anglers continue to take fish when using spinners with a minnow or trolled crank baits. The best reports are coming from 17-27 feet of water in areas such as Pine Island, Morris Point, Zippel Bay, Graceton Beach, Long Point and Rocky Point, with lots of schools being reported. In addition to walleye and sauger, anglers are taking northern pike, jumbo perch, sturgeon and even a few crappies. Check out the many webcams located throughout Lake of the Woods.

Emerald shiners continue to run in the Rainy River, drawing even more walleye into the river system. Jigging with a frozen or live shiner is the best method, and emerald shiners are tough to beat. Walley anglers are also having success trolling crank baits. This presentation is a great way to locate walleye, especially when fish are scattered. Sturgeon activity remains good for those using a bunch of crawlers and/or frozen shiners on a sturgeon rig (18-inch leader made of 60-pound test line, a circle hook and a 2- to 3-ounce no-roll sinker). The catch-and-release season continues through April 23, 2022. Learn more at Fall Fishing on the Rainy River

Up at the Northwest Angle, fall fishing remains excellent. Most walleye anglers are having success using a jig tipped with a minnow or plastic. In some areas, the walleye are stacked; once located, good numbers of fish are being caught. Please remember that no live, frozen or dead bait can be transported over the border from the U.S. into Canada. Consequently, anglers boating into Ontario waters are using plastics on their jigs and spinners, and these presentations are reported to working very well. Areas of structure, such as points, reefs and sandy areas in neck-down areas, continue to hold lots of fish. Depths of 12 - 26 feet are giving up the most fish. Large crappies are responding to jigs and minnows worked in 24-30 feet of water around structure. Muskie action has been very good, with fish hitting large baits either jigged, casted or trolled. 

Contact Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau for more information. 

Detroit Lakes

Water temperatures in the Detroit Lakes area have dropped considerably, and are now hovering in the the mid- to high 50s. Walleye are starting to gather in larger pods. Most fish can be found in depths of 14-24 feet of water on the deeper, clearer lakes; in the shallow basin lakes with stained water, most are holding in 9-15 feet of water. Others continue to relate to the outside edge of green weeds close to sharp shoreline breaks. A nearly foolproof method of catching walleye remains a jig or rig with a minnow. Darting baits like rapalas are also working at times. Crappies have transitioned to areas with deeper, soft bottoms where they can be found suspended. Northern pike and bass are extremely active on the weed flats. Docks have been pulled from Becker County lakes and some Otter Tail County lakes. Water levels are still low so plan ahead for launching and loading your boat. 

Contact the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce for more information. 

Fall fishing in McGregor

Fall fishing in McGregor / McGregor Chamber of Commerce

Fishing Conditions in Central Minnesota

Alexandria Area Lakes

As of late last week, good fall walleye action was reported at the “walleye structure" such as the points, turns, sunken humps and islands. Areas where green, living weeds dropped to deep water were key locations. A 1/8-ounce brightly colored jig tipped with a big fathead minnow worked well. Pitching small swim baits to shallow walleye was recommended to cover water when searching for fish.

Contact Explore Alexandria Tourism for more information. 

Isle/Onamia - Lake Mille Lacs

Lake Mille Lac anglers are having success with the smallmouth bass when casting plastics to the rocks in 6-14 feet of water. A few walleye are coming in on crank baits run through depths of 12-14 feet. 

New regulations have gone into effect on Lake Mille Lacs. Anglers may possess one walleye measuring 21- to 23- inches, or one walleye longer than 28-inches through Nov. 30. All other walleye must be immediately released. Also, fishing will be allowed until midnight through Nov. 30. This is exciting news for anglers that want to take advantage of the great fall fishing Lake Mille Lacs has to offer.

Learn more about fishing regulations on Lake Mille Lacs. And check out the the Mille Lacs Web Cam webpage for current conditions.

Contact the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council for more information. 

Sturgeon fishing on the Mississippi River

Sturgeon fishing on the Mississippi River / Korbey Sellen Photography

Fishing Conditions in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Stillwater - St. Croix & Mississippi Rivers

The St. Croix River is known for having lots of fish including large trophy-size and nice eating-size fish. Anglers enjoy the fact that they can catch good numbers, along with the lunkers. Jigging raps, nightcrawlers, plastics, minnows and crank baits are all turning walleye and sauger. Anglers are having success with the channel cats, and large flatheads are active in the day. Smallmouth bass are biting in a wide range of depths. White bass can be found suspended over deep water.

Contact Discover Stillwater for more information. 

Twin Cities Trout Unlimited

Attend the Twin Cities Trout Unlimited Wild & Scenic Film Festival and Celebration will be held entirely online beginning Saturday, Oct. 23. The films show ordinary people doing extraordinary things to protect the environment and restore cold water habitats. It is a great event for the entire family, including non-anglers! Participants will receive a link to watch the films anytime between Oct. 24-30. The silent action helps raise funds for youth education. Learn more here.

Contact Twin Cities Trout Unlimited for more information. 

Minnesota DNR

Anyone interested in hunting, fishing and the outdoors can learn about activities like how to hunt pheasants, catch bass in the fall or get ready for deer seasons by joining webinars hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. On Nov. 24, learn about the health benefits of getting outdoors in parks, forests and other natural settings during Nature Rx.

Contact the Minnesota DNR for more information.

Fall fishing on Lake Winona

Fall fishing on Lake Winona  / Visit Winona

Fishing Conditions in Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro/Preston - Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

On Oct. 18, the stream Flow Report showed that most southeastern Minnesota streams and rivers had a normal water flow. Waters running through areas just north and west, however, had a minimal flow. 

Please note that most streams close for angling today, Oct. 15. The catch-and-release season does remain open through April 15, 2022 within these state parks: Beaver Creek Valley (East Beaver Creek); Forestville (Forestville Creek, Canfield Creek, South Branch Root River) and Whitewater (Middle Branch Whitewater River, Trout Run Creek). They also remain open within the city boundaries of Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston, Rushford and Spring Valley.

Trout anglers will want to pick up the Trout Angling Opportunities booklet at Whitewater State Park, Forestville State Park and Beaver Creek Valley State Park. Also, the DNR offers a  StreamFinder Tool to help anglers locate nearby streams and rivers. Additional information is available at Trout Fishing in Minnesota.

Contact Lanesboro Area Visitor Center for more information. 

Ortonville - Big Stone Lake

Big Stone Lake continues to kick out good numbers of perch. According to local biologists, the quality and quantity of vegetation on Big Stone Lake is ideal for the vast and healthy population of perch.

Contact Big Stone Lake Area Chamber for more information.

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