Trout Streams of Minnesota

By C.B. Bylander

Apr 16, 2018

Minnesota has many unique opportunities for trout fishing throughout the year and across the state. Many Minnesota streams are the best in the Midwest for trout fishing. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has many resources to select your next fishing spot.

Trout anglers who are drawn to the sights and sounds of flowing water have plenty of fishing opportunities In Minnesota.

The state is home to more than 3,800 miles of trout stream. About a fifth of these waters are located in the extreme southeast corner of the state, an area of forested hills, shaded valleys and picturesque farmlands.trout-fishing-in-minesota640x400.jpgThe statewide stream trout season opens in April and continues through September. In eight southeast counties – Houston, Fillmore, Mower, Dodge, Olmsted, Winona, Wabasha and Goodhue – catch-and-release fishing is open Jan through April. Things to know:

  • Southeast Minnesota is the state’s premier trout fishing destination. The region’s many streams are among the best in the Midwest. They hold brook, brown and rainbow trout.
  • Northeast Minnesota, home to Lake Superior and pristine lakes near the Canadian border, is the state’s primary destination for lake trout fishing. Streams along the North Shore hold steelhead and brook trout. The Knife River is the state’s top steelhead stream.
  • The Twin Cities metro area has excellent trout fishing. The Vermillion River is a popular destination as hook-ups with brown trout 20 inches or longer are not uncommon.  Cenaiko Lake in Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is a family-friendly destination that is stocked in spring and fall.
  • Central Minnesota offers a trout fishing rarity: mine pit fishing. These deep lakes were formed when former iron ore excavation sites filled with water, thereby creating exceptionally clear and cool conditions for trout and other species. Mine pits are usually stocked with rainbow trout.
  • The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a variety of on-line resources to help you find a place to fish. These include detailed trout-stream-maps of the most popular destinations in the southeast, northeast and central Minnesota. Maps for select streams are available.
  • Minnesota’s trout streams are unlike the big waters of Montana and Wyoming where drift boats are used. Here, the streams are much smaller. Anglers tend to enter streams at bridge crossings and wade. Access isn’t an issue as more than 1,700 miles of trout stream flow through public lands or private property that allows public use through an angling easement.
  • Popular trout fishing camping destinations in Minnesota State Parks include Whitewater, Beaver Creek Valley and Forestville state parks in southeastern Minnesota, and Tettegouche, George H. Crosby-Manitou and Cascade River state parks in northeast Minnesota.

For further season and license information view the Minnesota fishing regulations.

C.B. Bylander
C.B. Bylander
C.B. Bylander is a long-time Minnesota angler who has extensive fishing experience throughout the state. He is a former outdoor magazine field editor, daily newspaper outdoor editor and Department of Natural Resources fisheries communication specialist.