By far the most popular catch in Minnesota is the walleye, the state fish. The walleye is available for catching across Minnesota, but if you really want to increase your chances of bringing in a big haul, head for the larger lakes in the northern parts of the state, especially the ones in the central part of northern Minnesota. The cooler waters in these lakes make for ideal walleye fishing.
While the walleye get most of the attention, Minnesota is almost as equally famous for its variety of bass, including largemouth bass in the center of the state and smallmouth bass in the northeast corner. You also have a good chance of reeling in pike, muskie and crappie.
Fly fishing in Minnesota inevitably means bringing home some trout. More than 2,000 miles of streams contain a vast populace of trout with the most plentiful being brown trout. Not far behind the brown variety is the always-popular rainbow trout and the brookie. The best places for fly fishing are in the southeastern part of the state and around the North Shore area.
Ice fishing is an integral part of the state's fishing culture, but it can be dangerous. Tourists should never venture out onto ice unless some locals are already there. Pay attention to their advice on choosing a spot because every year brings new stories of ice cracking beneath anglers or their transportation.
No matter how well-prepared you think you are for the cold, always assume that you need more protection. The Minnesota winter is about as harsh as it gets beneath Canada, and unless you are used to it, ice fishing can lead quickly to frostbite or hypothermia.
Rules and Regulations
Anybody over the age of 16 must get a license before fishing in Minnesota. A violation of this rule can be surprisingly tough, including jail time. Also, if you are fishing without a license while you are in a boat that is owned by a state resident, it can result in the confiscation of the vessel. Fishing fees are about twice as much for nonresidents as for residents, but inquire about discounts for seniors, those who are disabled and even for married couples. Some lakes require trout and salmon stamps.