Root River Fly Fishing with a fish visible under the water

10 Reasons to Go Fishing in Minnesota

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Fly Fishing in Root River, Spring Valley / Ryan Taylor
Fishing // List

10 Reasons to Go Fishing in Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the top fishing destinations in North America, and the fine folks at Fishidy have identified the main reasons you should grab a pole and plan your trip today.

  1. 10,000 Lakes
    Loon Lake family fishing

    Father and daughter fishing on Loon Lake / Micah Kvidt

    10,000 Lakes

    According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the state is actually home to 11,842 lakes with a surface area of at least 10 acres. And we’re talking legendary fishing destinations such as Mille Lacs, Lake Minnetonka, Leech Lake and many others. Regardless of the exact number, Minnesota offers lots of places for anglers to wet their lines.

  2. Many Species
    Freshly caught fish on Lake of the Woods during winter

    Freshly caught fish on Lake of the Woods during winter

    Many Species

    You've probably heard about Minnesota's legendary walleye fishing, but the state is just as incredible for fishing largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskie, sauger, crappie, bluegill, perch, sturgeon, catfish, lake trout, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, splake, salmon, burbot and whitefish, just to name a few.

  3. Big Fish
    Big Fish

    A quick glance at the list of Minnesota state record fish is proof of the state’s trophy potential. Some exceptional catches include a 45-pound-12-ounce northern pike, a 54-pound muskie, a 3-pound-4-ounce perch, a 38-pound channel catfish, a 70-pound flathead catfish, a 43-pound-8-ounce lake trout, and a 17-pound-8-ounce walleye.

  4. Ease of Access
    Fishing Explorer Camp at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park

    Fishing Explorer Camp at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park  / Three Rivers Park District

    Ease of Access

    Minnesota offers an abundance of shore fishing opportunities in lakes, rivers, state and regional parks. In Staples, wet a line along its 612-foot fishing pier into Dower Lake or participate in one of the I Can Fish programs the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers throughout the year.

    Minnesota also boasts countless drive-to fishing ops, many with quality comparable to fly-in destinations in northern Canada. And the DNR maintains an extensive number of public access sites with hard-surface ramps to make launching and loading large boats a breeze.

  5. Experienced Guides
    Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitter Ely fishing map

    Fishing guide looks over an area map with a customer / Lucy Hawthorne

    Experienced Guides

    There are currently 155 fishing guides and charters listed in the Explore Minnesota database. These people make their living by providing anglers with a safe, comfortable and enjoyable Minnesota fishing experience, and they do a great job at it. Check them out.

  6. Ice Fishing
    Ice Fishing

    Fish don’t hibernate in the winter, so why should anglers? With all of the high-tech equipment and creature comforts available for ice fishing today, there’s no reason to not head out on one of Minnesota’s countless frozen waterways in winter. Try it once and you'll agree; it's easy to get hooked on Minnesota ice fishing!

  7. Tournaments
    Seth Fieder, Bassmaster Tournament, Mille Lacs

    Seth Fieder at Mille Lacs' Bassmaster Tournament  / B.A.S.S.


    Minnesota plays host to hundreds of fishing tournaments every year. These events range from small-scale local fishing derbies all the way up to professional touring walleye and bass circuits. With that many options, a competitive angler can’t go wrong.

  8. Fishing Diversity
    Kayak bass fishing on Mississippi River Saint Cloud

    Bass fishing from a kayak on the Mississippi River  / CW Outfitters

    Fishing Diversity

    Minnesota spans more than 400 miles north to south. The result is that one person can be hauling in trophy lakers and pike on a remote shield lake while another is simultaneously battling monster catfish on the Mississippi.

  9. Getting Away From It All
    Getting Away From It All

    Whether your idea of getting away involves a multi-day excursion to the Boundary Waters or an after-work fishing outing near the Twin Cities, Minnesota has you covered. Get out there for some drag-screaming R&R.

  10. Northern Hospitality
    Lake of the Woods holding stringer of fish on dock Sportsman's Oak Island Resort

    Headed home with a nice stringer of walleye

    Northern Hospitality

    Ever hear the term “Minnesota Nice”? If not, Google might help clear things up a bit. But the only way to truly find out what it means to be Minnesota nice is to experience it firsthand. Go ahead, start planning your fishing trip today!

    Learn more about fishing in Minnesota and find lots more places to cast a line.