Fishing In Minnesota
To say that fishing is a popular activity in Minnesota would be an understatement. While the population of the state is roughly 5.4 million people, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that it sold approximately 1.4 million fishing licenses in 2015. That’s a lot of anglers! And there are plenty of places for all those anglers to pursue their quarry. The fact is that the state with the nickname “Land of 10,000 Lakes” actually has over 21,000 lakes and 92,000 mile of rivers and streams. And even though not all that all of that water is fishable, the DNR states that there are 5,400 fishable lakes and over 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams. So no matter how you keep score, there are a lot of places to fish in Minnesota.
So what kind of fish will you find in all those the lakes and rivers? Well, there are actually 162 species of fish in Minnesota, although not every kind of fish lives everywhere. When it comes to sport fishing however, there are a few fish that make up the list of “usual suspects” – the ones that anglers pursue the most. You’ll find them listed below along with tips on how and where to catch them during the year.
The bluegill, Minnesota’s largest and most popular sunfish, is found in about 65 percent of the state’s lakes and many of its slow streams, including the backwaters of the Mississippi.
Crappie are some of Minnesota’s most popular fish. In many an angler’s catch, the black crappie probably ranks second behind the bluegill.
Yellow perch are good to eat and – unlike its larger cousin, the walleye – they eagerly bite. One of the most commonly caught fish in Minnesota, the trick is finding perch large enough to fillet.
The walleye is the most sought-after fish in Minnesota. Its thick, white fillets, handsome shape and coloring, and elusive nature make it the ultimate prize among anglers.
The northern pike – a voracious predator – is common throughout Minnesota and one of the easiest fish to catch because it so willingly bites lures or bait.
The largemouth bass is considered by some to be the king of game fish. Legendary for its powerful strikes and acrobatic leaps, it is an exciting fish to catch.
The muskellunge – one of the largest and most elusive fish that swims in Minnesota, muskellunge or “musky” as they are usually referred to, wait in weed beds before lunging forward to clamp onto their prey.
The tiger muskellunge or “tiger musky” – this predator is a sterile hybrid of the northern pike and the muskellunge, is stocked in several heavily fish lakes in the Twin Cities. Like the muskellunge, this fish has dark markings on a light background but has rounded tail fins.