Minnesota fishing resport

MN walleye

Blackduck Lake has a lot of walleye schooling up and are biting even though the wind has been roaring for the last week. White Birch resort has some great pre-winter deals for that last open water fishing trip. Check out www.whitebirchresort.net

[Northeast] [Northwest] [Twin Cities] [Central] [Southern]

Northeast Minnesota

International Falls – Rainy Lake & the Rainy River

The return of warm and sunny weather brought more anglers out on the Rainy River. The walleye fishing has been excellent around the Ron Hall access at International Falls. The walleye are near the rocky structure below the dam with anglers also taking some smallmouth bass. 800-325-5766; www.rainylake.org

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

Stream fishing is going well with anglers working the at most bends in the rivers. Steelhead action has been good for anglers using float indicators with an X pattern, with some anglers still having success casting small spinners. Flat fish are also being taken occasionally. The St. Louis River is giving up a few nice walleye and crappies. A jig and minnow has been good when targeting areas near structure or channel turns. Pitching the shorelines with heavy vegetation is also working. Muskie anglers report lots of follows – expect action to improve as water temperatures drop. The inland lakes are producing good numbers of various species, especially largemouth bass. Wacky worm rigs and other plastics are working well when pitched to the weed cover and docks. Lots of homeowners have already removed their summer docks so resident fish that use the docks for cover have relocated. Panfish can be found in 10 to 15 feet of water when using 1/16 ounce jigs, ice jigs or slip bobber rigs. Some anglers report great crappie catches as well. 800-438-5884; www.visitduluth.com

Grand Rapids

Walleye fishing has been very good for anglers using jigs and minnows. The crappies and bluegill are beginning to set up in areas where they will remain until early winter. After your last trip out this fall, make sure that your batteries and engines are prepped for the winter. www.visitgrandrapids.com

Northwest Minnesota

Baudette – Lake of the Woods & the Rainy River

The walleye bite remains strong. Walleye are staged in front of Pine Island, Graceton Beach and Zippel Bay in 18 to 30 feet of water. Most anglers are having success when anchored and jigging with a shiner. Hot colors include pink, pink/white and gold. The reefs are holding fish as well. Rainy River anglers are doing well up and down the river when schools of shiners enter into river. When they do, the walleye are close behind. For the most action, try vertical jigging with a shiner. Some anglers are also having success when trolling crankbaits. Anglers are also reporting good smallmouth bass, northern pike and crappie action. Up at the Northwest Angle, fishing has been exceptional. Walleye anglers are taking good numbers when using an orange or chartreuse jig with a minnow. Large northern pike are coming in on the same presentation. Water temperatures are slowly falling, with surface temps in the high 40s early in the day, rising to the low 50s in the afternoon. With water temperatures falling and the new moon looming, expect to see a greater number of large predator fish this week! 800-382-FISH; www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com

Bemidji

Water temperatures continue to slowly fall and surface water temperatures in some area lakes are now in the upper 40s. The walleye bite continues to be good for anglers using jigs and minnows, jigs and plastics, and jigging raps. The 12 to 14 foot weedlines, mid-lake humps and bars are producing the most fish. Northern pike are hitting just about anything thrown at them including jigs and minnows, spinner baits, crank baits, and live bait rigs. Hit the deep weed edges for plenty of action. Bass fishing remains good for anglers using plastics and throwing rattle traps in 3 to 12 feet of water at the green cabbage. Crappies continue to be caught along the green cabbage in 8 to 12 feet, but most of the crappies are now coming out of the deep holes on jigs and minnows. Crappies found deep are generally suspended so using your electronics to locate them is key. Enjoy the remaining few weeks of open water fishing and please remember to practice selective harvesting — by doing so we will continue to have great fishing for years to come! 800-458-2223; www.visitbemidji.com

Park Rapids

What a gorgeous week to be in the northwoods! The water temperatures have dropped into the upper 40s to mid-50s. These temperatures are considered to be best for fantastic fall fishing for everything from panfish to muskies. Look for the large perch to be cruising the shallows along with some of the largest northern pike. For the most action, troll 12 to 18 inch suckers on a quick strike rig for huge pike or muskie. Work the weed edges in 10 to 15 feet of water at the drop-offs near deep water (45 feet or more). Walleye can be found in the deep holes and at the dying deep weedlines. With the current warm temperatures, the weedlines should see a spark of activity. A rainbow chub roughly 3 inches long on a jig will do the job. The largemouth bass are gorging along the deep weedlines. For the most action, use a Stanley jig tipped with a small Berkley gulp grub — black and brown are the best colors. A standard Texas-rigged black plastic or a jig worm combination will also work. Smallmouth bass are schooled heavily on the steep breaks that have rocks and some weeds. Most fish are suspended. If the wind is blowing into a rocky/gravel shoreline, toss out a sucker minnow on a live bait rig for incredible action! 800-247-0054; www.parkrapids.com

Detroit Lakes

Water temperatures in the Detroit Lakes area continue to hover in the mid-50 degree range. The current high winds should result in lake turnover on some lakes. The bite can be a challenge on lakes that have turned over, so shop lakes to make sure you aren’t trying to fish in these conditions. Shallow basin lakes of less than 25 feet generally do not turn over, only the deeper lakes such as Detroit, Cormorant, Pelican, Lida, the Pines and Ottertail lakes. Walleye have been deep on most area lakes, but remain shallow on some, especially during high winds. If you are not graphing them on the edges or deep shoreline breaks and extended points, move shallow. Bass have been aggressively slamming jigs pitched to the shallow weeds in the 5 to 12 feet of water. Muskie anglers are doing well when casting baits or trolling large suckers on Big Detroit and Pelican lakes, with many large fish measuring 48 to 52 inches being reported. 800-542-3992; www.visitdetroitlakes.com

Central Region

Brainerd Area Lakes

Area lakes continue to produce good numbers of large and eating sized walleye. Last weekend, the water temperature on Gull Lake was 59 degrees, and the fish were scattered at depths from 13 to 35 feet depending on the weedlines. It was clear, however, that the fish were starting to stage near the tullibee spawning areas. Use your electronics at the steep breaks and look for groups of suspended fish which are likely tullibee. Once located, work this area for good numbers of fish. Smallmouth bass were extremely active on Lake Alexander. Many fish, some measuring roughly 21 inches, were pulled from the rocks in 25 to 32 feet of water. Rigs with a 4 inch minnow worked well. Northern pike were active on Lake Edwards, hitting long-lined 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with a sucker minnow. The pike were at the weeds in 10 to 17 feet of water. Crappies were pulled from the basin holes, with bluegills at their early ice locations. 800-450-7247; www.visitbrainerd.com

Isle/Onamia – Lake Mille Lacs

As of late last week, muskie anglers were hitting more frequently due to the drop in water temperature – the surface temperature was running in the mid-50s. While it remains too warm for the tullibees to begin their spawn (temperatures in the mid-40s are best), there were reports of good numbers and large fish. Anglers having the most success were using double buck tails, Bulldawgs and huge live suckers. Fewer smallmouth anglers were heading out, but those who did either had lots of success or only took a few. This bite will taper off as the water temperature continues to drop. The docks were still in at the public accesses. 888-350-2692; www.millelacs.com

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

White Bear Area Lakes

White Bear Lake is giving up lots of northern pike, with pike also coming from Lake Jane. Walleye anglers are having the most success on the St. Croix River. For panfish, hit Silver and Powers lakes. Bass anglers are doing well on Powers and Demontreville lakes. 651-653-5122; www.explorewhitebear.org

Southern Minnesota

Lanesboro – Southeast Bluff Country trout streams

As of Oct. 19, fisheries staff report that all branches of the Whitewater Stream are clear with a normal water flow. No current information is available on other area streams and rivers. New signs are posted for the Town and State Parks Catch-and-Release season running from Oct. 16 to Dec. 31, 2017. 800-944-2670; www.lanesboro.com

Anglers may obtain fishing licenses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by dialing 1-888-665-4236, or accessing DNR License Sales.

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Minnesota Fall Fishing Report

Minnesota Fish Tales Fishing Report
The Most In-Depth Statewide Fishing Report in Minnesota! http://www.outdoorsweekly.com/fishtales.html

BATTLE LAKE
– Ben’s Bait & Tackle
Bennet or Craig Stich, Junction of Hwy 78 and 210 (218-864-5596)
Sunfish: Anglers are fishing in the 8-15 foot weedlines using worms and waxworms on small hair jigs. Lakes to try are Battle Lake, Clitherall, Rush, Silver. Crappie: fish in the15-20 foot weeds using small jigs. Try West Battle, Clitherall, Rush, Fish. Northerns: Troll with daredevils or minnows with jigs in 15-20 feet water. Lakes to try are Fiske, Clitherall, Ottertail, Donald. Walleyes: Use jigs and minnows in 10-25 feet or troll Rapalas towards dark in 4-7 feet. Try Ottertail, West Battle Lake, Rush, Pickeral. Muskies: Cast Jake’s or double cow girls in 20 feet of water.

LAKE BENTON
– Veire’s Mini-Mart
Dave, 117 E Benton St, corner of Hwy 75 and 14 (507-368-4204)
Please call Dave for a fishing report!

BLACKDUCK AREA whitebirchresort.net
– Timberline Sport & Tackle
Carl Adams, Junction of Hwy 71 and Blackduck Lake Rd. (218-835-4636)
Blackduck and Island Lake walleyes are biting on jigs and minnows in 10-14 feet. Panfish are hitting on Pimushe, Gilstead, Rabideau and Gull. Stop in for details!

BRAINERD AREA
– Leisure Outdoor Adventures – www.leisureoutdooradventures.com
Jason Freed, Toby Kvalevog, Jeff Andersen (1-855-LOA-HOOK or 1-855-562-4665)
Well we are getting to the tale end of things this fall, but there is still alot of open water fishing left. Here is quick report from Leisure Outdoor Adventures.
Walleye fishing has been really up and down of late. The cooler temps and stable weather should push the water temps down into the upper 50s and that is usually when fall fishing takes off. A jig and minnow is often the ticket. An 1/8th oz jig tipped with a golden shiner or rainbow is a great presentation on Leech Lake. Cadence and colors often times change day to day, so pay close attention to details. Look to wind blown shorelines and points that have had wind blowing into them for a couple days to produce. If it is a strong wind look in 5-8feet of water and on lighter blow days move out into 10-12 feet of water. The obvious areas should hold fish such as Pine Point, Stoney, Little Stony, Ottertail, Two Points, Sandy Beach, and the Flats around Goose Island. When working the flats pay close attention to where you are seeing bait and also subtle contour lines. Flats can be intimidating to fish, so the best thing to do is cover ground and work a large area until you connect with fish and then work that area over.
Have a Great Fall! Leisure Outdoor Adventures

CENTRAL MINNESOTA
– Minnesota Fishing Guide Service
www.minnesotaguideservice.com – www.minnesotaicefishhouserental.com
Capt Josh Hagemeister (320-291-0708)
Hello everyone, Fall fishing is here! Between the awesome grouse hunting and fishing throughout the area, I’m not sure what to do. I do know that when I’m catching crappies bigger than a bucket I’m in 30 ft of water fishing an 1/8 oz jig tipped with a Berkley Gulp white 2” grub. And occasionally, a bonus walleye or nice pike. The bigger pike are lurking nearby chowing on the crappies so fish the edges of the crappie schools with a large chub on a large bait rig. The easy walleyes to catch are in or near the deepest holes in the lake. Concentrate on the 45-60 ft range using minnows on just about any type of live bait presentation. Lotsa Fish! Lotsa Fun!

CHISAGO CITY
– Frankie’s Live Bait and Marine – www.frankies.net
Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77 (651-257-6334)
On Chisago, crappies and sunfish are biting in 10-15 feet at the weedlines. North and South Lindstrom also report a good panfish bite. Green and North Center are best for walleyes in 12-14 feet.

DULUTH
– Marine General – www.marinegeneral.com
1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833)
Walleyes are biting on Fish Lake in 10 feet of water. Crappies also reported there. For muskies, try Island Lake using sucker minnows in 10 feet of water. Walleyes are biting in 15 feet of water on Island as well.

ELY
– Babe’s Bait and Tackle – BabesBaitEly.com
500 Kawishiwi Trail, Ely, MN, first business on the left as you are entering town of Ely from the west on Hwy 169 (218-365-6930)
Fishing report 9/25/17
Just when you think you have the walleyes figured out, they change things up. Some anglers were reporting that the walleyes had gone deep, as that’s where they were catching them. Lately though, they have been getting caught all throughout the water depths. Some in thirty feet of water, some in seven feet. Go figure. The best advice right now is to keep watching your sonar till you mark some fish and then go after them. Most are still using crawler harnesses, but a good number of fish are being caught using crank baits fished just above the bottom. Jig and minnow combos should start to produce once again as they had done in the Spring.
Crappie anglers are beginning to converge on Birch Lake as the action there is beginning to heat up. We still don’t have the big schools bunching up, as the water temps are still a bit high at sixty four or five degrees, but this is soon to change as evening temperatures begin to fall. Crappie minnows are still the bait of choice, but safety pin spinners with a jig and soft tail make a good search tool as you slow troll to find the concentrations of fish. Watch for marks that are suspended mid-way in the water column, as this quite often represents the presence of crappies.
Many folks are chasing pike too at this time of year. The biggest fish of the season seem to get active at the onset of cooler weather. Big suckers fished right on the bottom will fool them time and again, but this can also be the time to dig out your biggest crank baits and work over the deeper weed edges and rockpiles to bring some giants to the net. This action should continue right up till ice begins to form.

HACKENSACK
Swanson’s Bait & Tackle www.swansonsbait.com
Caleb Garoutte, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack (218-675-6176)
9-27-Water temps are still fairly high despite the cooler weather we have been getting. Walleye fishing has remained in that late summer/early fall pattern where crawlers are still working and minnows are starting to; lake to lake you will see the pattern change. Guys are primarily finding fish in 20-24 feet of water. Covering ground over larger flats has been good, but guys are starting to find fish off long edges and breaks. We should start to see fish stacking up on structure as the water cools, and the bite should switch over to more minnows as well.
Smallmouth bass on many of the area lakes have been going very well. Stony, Portage, Baby, and Ten Mile have all been producing great smallmouth action. Get the swim baits out or suspending/sinking stick baits to target them on the first break on rocky structure. They seem to be really putting the feed bags on right now, and an aggressive approach has been most successful so far. If you get on a tough bite, let the suspending action on the stick baits do the work near the bottom – drop shot rigs can work very well in this situation, but be sure to find where the fish are holding before switching over.
Leaves have really been falling hard with the rain we’ve been getting this last week so the woods are starting to open up for the grouse/deer hunters. It has been much easier seeing flushed birds now, and the deer are starting to focus on more obvious food sources instead of just hammering acorns. After the first week of season the grouse hunters are having trouble finding good numbers, but that could likely be due to the poor visibility and abundance of food. We should start seeing birds focus on good cover and food.

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN
– Gateway Store kabfishingreport.com – gatewaygeneral.com
Jason and Robyn Cooper, US Hwy 53 & Co Rd 122, 30 miles south of Int’l Falls-Canadian border (218-875-2121)
As angler numbers dwindle fishing still remains consistent, grouse hunters finding better success
As we pass peak fall colors, cooler temps have water temperatures down in the 50’s. Fishing has been consistent and grouse hunters are finding better success as leaves continue to fall which is providing better hunting conditions. Some local and migrating ducks are flocking up and can be seen going to and from feeding areas around the lake. Bear have been sighted with more frequency, just another sure sign fall is here.
Walleye fishing has been consistent throughout Kabetogama. With limited fishing pressure and a wide variety of depths producing, reports are few and far. Anglers are still catching walleye and sauger using a jig and minnow but better success has been had trolling crankbaits to cover more water. Trolling weed lines and using lead core over deeper water has been producing fish.
Smallmouth bass are still being found on the reefs with regularity. A jig and minnow is the way to go. Start on top of and then work your way along reef edges to find active fish. When found, they can be in big numbers. It’s a great time to practice catch, photo and release with these strong fighters as many trophy fish can be caught in a single trip.
Perch fishing has been picking up over deeper water using a jig and minnow. Look for depths in the 30’ range off island points.
Waterfowl hunting has been fair at best. With the lack of migrating birds in the area, scouting is the key. Most success has been had scouting the beaver ponds off the main lakes with hunters taking mallards, teal, wood ducks and ring neck ducks. A few redhead and pintail have also been reported.
The park service is in the process of pulling rock and channel markers. Having a GPS and map in hand is recommended when venturing out. With the continued mild weather forecast for the foreseeable future, you can’t beat a day on the lake right now. With bugs at a minimum and leaves opening the woods up, take the opportunity to hike one of the park trails as well. Not only will you most likely have the trail to yourself, you never what you are going to see this time of year as animals are preparing for the long cold months ahead.
As always, we all hope to see you soon…..
Jason and Robyn
Cooper’s Gateway General Store

LAKE OF THE WOODS
– Lake of the Woods Area Tourism Bureau – www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com
near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, (1-800-382-FISH)
The walleye bite remains strong! Report is very similar to last weeks. Walleyes are staged in front of Pine Island, Graceton Beach and Zippel Bay in 18-30′. Anglers sorting through a few small fish for every keeper. Most anchored up with jig and shiner. Pink, pink/white and gold have been the best colors. Reefs holding fish as well.

Rainy River anglers finding success up and down the river. Schools of shiners coming into river randomly right now. When they do, the walleyes are close behind. Some days excellent, some days catching fish but not a slam dunk based on whether shiners are moving through. Vertical jigging tipped with a shiner while anchored is the go to method. Some anglers trolling crankbaits with success as well. Smallmouth bass, pike and crappies showing up.

Up at the Northwest Angle, in MN waters walleyes are crushing jig and shiners. Orange and chartreuse were the hot colors this week. Big pike being caught trolling minnow baits. In Ontario waters, minnow/shiner have been effective off of points at depth of 18-26′ while anchored or trolling. In addition to walleyes, crappies on fire and jumbo perch active! Some muskies being caught trolling. Lodging, charters and guides are available at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com/Lodging.

LEECH LAKE
– Anderson’s Resorts – www.andersonsleech-lake.com
Tim, (1-800-516-0077) (1-800-516-0077)
Fall on Leech lake is a wonderful place to be! Beautiful colors warm days and cool nights and the fish seem to feel the need to feed. Muskie action has been great, hitting almost anything but if you’re looking for MR. BIG, then a 12 to 16 sucker minnow might be the right combo! I have friends who put one out and the others cast lures it’s amazing how they will attract the fish and then they will bite the live minnow! Walleye action is getting better with the cooler water temp, all the points will be great! Perch action is also going strong, shallow bays and lots of minnows are the key! Grouse numbers are up! Come sneak a fall trip in! Winter will be here shortly! Come enjoy all that the Leech Lake area has to offer!

MILLE LACS
– Chris Kuduk’s Guide Service – (320-630-1761)
Bassmaster tourney was a success on Mille Lacs. Smallie bite is doing well while pitching jigs/tubes. Reports of muskies and pike biting on Mille Lacs. Walleye season is closed. Panfish are biting on smaller area lakes such as Sullivan, Anne, Shakopee, Knife. Work the weedlines, as pike and walleyes are also mixed in. Aitkin Lake has been producing some big crappies and walleyes. Deer are being registered in the area and we are looking forward to a great pheasant season with many birds in the area.Call Chris for up-to-the-minute fishing reports or to book a launch trip or a small boat trip! We are still going out on fall guided trips! Listen to Chris and Stan live from 5-6 pm Saturdays on Outdoor Adventures on www.twincitiesnewstalk.com (iheart Radio)! Or listen to the podcast!

LAKE MINNETONKA
– Wayzata Bait & Tackle
Tim or Bob, half mile west off I-494 on Hwy 12 (952-473-2227)
Minnetonka walleyes are biting on nightcrawlers at the weedlines and in the bays. Try crankbaits or minnows after dark in the channels. Independence has also been producing walleyes in 18-20 feet. Crappies are biting on Independence, Minnetonka and Medicine as well.

PARK RAPIDS
– Smokey Hills Outdoor Store, Josh Severtson, www.smokeyhills.com
19143 US HWY 71 N, Park Rapids, MN (218-237-5099)
Park Rapids area fishing report 8/31/2017
Bass- Most of the fish and size has been up shallow around a lot of standing structure. Mostly looking for very shady areas on these hot, calm, sunny days! Like Lilly pads, docks and cabbage weeds! A surface bait has proven to outshine any other lures. Tie on either a Scum frog “Trophy Series” or Terminator “Walking Frog” for your best chances on catching that 5lb pig!
Walleye– Found out schooling deeper waters between 20’ and 28’. Pulling Crawler harness spinner rigs paired with crawlers or redtails at a slow speed have been out fishing most other baits. And sometimes stripping the rigs of their beads and blades for more of a plain appearance also proving positive as well!.
Crappie/Sunfish– Sunfish have been between 6’-12’ around the tall standing vegetation and structure. Crappies swimming between 15’-20’ suspended or around deeper growing weeds. Either casting/jigging a small Rapala “Ultra Lite rippin rap” or tying on a VMC “Hot Skirt” jig tipped with either a crappie minnow or worm for best luck! Smokey Hills

LAKE TRAVERSE
– Steve’s Bait www.wheatonservice.com
Neighbor Steve, 912 Broadway, Wheaton, MN (320-563-1400, 320-563-1400)
The Fishing on Lake Traverse has been HOT!! From walleye to catfish, They are all hungry. As we move further into September, the bite will only get better, right up to freeze up!! Our Wheaton Service bait shop will be relocating to Hwy 75 here in Wheaton, and will operate under the name STEVE’S BAIT! As always, Steve’s Bait will offer everything you need to be successful on Lake Traverse!! From the hot jig or plug, to the Best LIVE BAIT to be had within 75 miles!!! Pop, water and snacks will also be available Lodging is also available at our Fishin’ Hole Lodge, along with ice fishin packages. Good luck on the water!! Take a Kid Fishin! You can also check us out on Facebook!

WACONIA
Mase’s In Towne Marine – www.intownemarina.com
Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096)
We are changing our hours starting Tuesday, 9/5/17. Monday thru Friday, we will be open from 11:30 am to Sunset. Saturday and Sunday we will be open 8 am to Sunset. We close for the Summer Season after Saturday, September 30th.
The month of August, while cooler than normal for the pleasure-boaters was a good one for fishermen. Water temps stayed much cooler than normal (hovering around 70 degrees lately), which made fishing better. We had one of the best months of Northern Pike fishing in years, and that has continued into September. They were actively biting in many different depth ranges and on many varieties of lures and baits. Typical areas to target included Anderson’s Reef, Cemetery Reef, and Center Reef among others. If using live bait, sucker minnows were a popular choice.
Sunfish, Crappies, and Bass continued to be active as well. Fishing the weedlines in 11 to 13 feet of water was common for success. Some days crappies were found deeper off reefs such as Kegs and North Reefs in 15 to 18 feet of water. Sunfish could be found in 6 to 8 feet of water as well. Waxies or crawlers were used to catch some nice ones. The bass, while bigger off the deeper weed edges were also good in the shallow water reeds, the Rock Dock or near the Carp Trap (Peterson’s Creek on the NW side of the lake).
Walleyes should get nothing but better as we get into the Fall. This summer’s walleye bite was good, but as the season progressed, it was important to target them during the early morning or late evening hours for best success. Kegs Reef, Reds Reef, and Cemetery Reefs were all areas that produced some nice walleyes. Fathead minnows were commonly the best bait.
Muskie action picked up in August as well and should continue well into September and October. Bucktails and big topwater baits worked well for some. Areas like North Reef, Kegs Reef and Center Reef have all been muskie territory. However, it never hurts to target weedlines like those in Waconia Bay and out from the south shoreline from Lola’s toward the beach.
Our Fishing Boat and Pontoon Rental season is coming to a close shortly. This time of year, we highly recommend calling for reservations. We for sure will be renting thru next weekend (the 9th and 10th). After that, we will likely be prepping them for winter storage. However, if you call us and we still have a boat or pontoon available, we will be happy to rent!

WINNIBIGOSHISH
– Walleye Visions – www.mnfishingconnections.com
Tom Neustrom, 21622 Airport Rd, Grand Rapids, tom@mnfishingconnections.com, (218-327-2312)
Look for walleyes to hang shallow before heading off shore. All the points from Sugar, Ravens, Mallard, to Stony Point are great spots to try. Depths of 6-12 best. VMC mooneye jigs and a shiner have been productive or with a slip sinker rig with a shiner.

River Fishing the Land of 10,000 Lakes

St. Cloud 2 CW_Outfitters_TheEuls_5637.jpg

Photo by Chelsea & Eric Eul, courtesy of Clear Waters Outfitting

On a blue-sky summer day, the Mississippi River curves and flows around St. Cloud’s Beaver Islands, where anglers easily find solitude along this scenic stretch in a boat, canoe, fishing kayak, or simply casting from parks along the shore.

“This stretch [of the Mississippi from St. Cloud to Anoka] has become one of the top river smallmouth bass fisheries in the country,” says Dan Meer, owner of Clear Waters Outfitting Co. “Smallmouth bass are known to be the best fighting fish per pound,” which makes them a fun challenge to catch.

The famed Mississippi originates humbly at Itasca State Park and journeys more than 600 miles through Minnesota, including its 1.7-mile-wide Lake Pepin. Commercial boat traffic can go as far as Minneapolis, but even the busier, southern stretches of Mississippi appeal to paddlers and anglers who find the bluff country’s quiet backwaters rich in wildlife and a variety of fish including northern pike, walleye, muskie, largemouth bass, crappies and catfish.

Fly fishing Root River in PrestonMinnesota boasts more than 6,500 natural rivers and streams comprising more than 69,000 miles. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers fishing classes, maintains more than 30 state water trails, and numerous state parks where you can check out free rods and reels and tackle boxes. Check the DNR fishing page for where to go and updates on access points, fishing piers, river landscapes and wildlife, rapids and water levels, fish consumption advisories and outfitters that can provide shuttles, watercraft and maps.

River anglers also can join organizations such as Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association or team up with someone who can leave a vehicle at the final pullout destination so you can go with the flow on your river of choice. Kayaks generally maneuver shallow waters better than boats, and can be easier to get onto the water. Newer designs include hands-free propulsion and modern electronics for locating fish.

Beyond the Mississippi, here’s a sampling of Minnesota’s better-known rivers:

CANNON RIVER

Flowing through the rolling hills and woods south of the Twin Cities, this rural river yields northern pike, black crappies, catfish and smallmouth bass.

MINNESOTA RIVER

Boat on Minnesota River in Bloomington fallFrom its confluence with the Mississippi River below historic Fort Snelling in St. Paul, this placid river flows 370 miles south to Mankato and west to Big Stone Lake at Ortonville. Known for channel and flathead catfish (including a 50-pounder), it’s also possible to reel in walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and sauger. Big Stone LakeLac qui Parle and Upper Sioux Agency state parks all offer fishing kits to borrow.

RED RIVER

Flowing north along Minnesota’s northwest border, this warm, muddy river harbors channel catfish, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, sauger and lake sturgeon. Campsites can be found along the shore at East Grand Forks’ Red River State Recreation Area.

ROOT RIVER

Smallmouth bass, catfish, rock bass and more can be found in this gentle to moderate flowing river through southeast Minnesota. Some spots may harbor brown trout, which thrives in the region’s smaller streams.

ST. CROIX RIVER

St Croix River at William O'Brian State ParkWith the Dalles rocky bluffs and glacial potholes at Interstate State Park, this river dividing northern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota delivers dramatic scenery along with smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye, sauger and lake sturgeon among its 60-plus species of fish. Other state parks along its shores: AftonSt. Croixand Wild River.

ST. LOUIS RIVER

This Iron Range river known for dramatic rapids sought by expert paddlers joins Lake Superior at Duluth, where its 12,000-acre sprawl makes it North America’s largest freshwater estuary. Restoration efforts are underway to reclaim the estuary from former industries and improve access for anglers seeking walleye, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and sturgeon.