With more than 10,000 lakes and 15,000 miles of fishable streams, Minnesota provides an angler with a huge number of places to throw a bobber. According to Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the state boasts over 158 fish species, many of which are popular to harvest. Even with over 158 species, it is no fun just to try and catch a normal sized fish. The joy comes from catching the big record setting lunker. Accomplishing this feat requires heading out to the lakes where a lucky angler caught a record fish.
Auburn Lake in Carver County produced an 8lbs. 15oz. largemouth bass. Imagine reeling in this 23-inch monster--that is exactly what happened in October of 2005. Carver Lake itself spans more than 284 acres and descends to its deepest spot of 84 feet. Although catching a record fish may be rare, enjoying the lake's large population of bass, crappie and big northern pike is not.
Getting to Basswood Lake, just outside of Ely, may be a chore. Prospective anglers must tackle the long portages, but the rewards keep them coming back. Since 1929, Basswood has held the state record for the largest northern pike. This little guy weighed in at over 45 lbs., and he was caught somewhere in the lakes 22,722 acres. Anglers should watch out though, because with over 10 foot of clarity the fish may see them coming. Besides northerns, Basswood offers excellent walleye fishing. During the DNR's 2005 survey, they caught north pike ranging from 15 to 30-plus inches and walleye ranging up to 29 inches.
In 1989, someone pulled a 33 lb. king salmon out of the Poplar River near Lutsen. This fish measured over 44 inches long. In the fall, usually late in September, the salmon run up the Poplar River to spawn, and heading up the north shore during these runs usually results in a creel full of big fish. If the salmon are not biting, the flats of the Poplar River, just above the ski hill, offers great brook trout fishing.
Finding the best fishing in Minnesota couldn't be fulfilled without heading to the place where the state record walleye got caught. At over 17 lbs. and 35 inches, he only was beat by 5 lbs. by the world record walleye. An angler caught the record walleye on the Seagull River in Cook County. The river runs more as a series of rapids than a river as it flows from Seagull Lake to Saganaga Lake. The U.S. Forest Service offers a boat landing at the End of the Trail Campground at the end of the Gunflint Trail. The nearby pools downstream of the rapids offer the best walleye fishing.