5 Popular State Parks in Minnesota to go fishing


Wanna know where you can fish without a license, and the conservation officer won’t care? 
The answer is most Minnesota state parks. Find more information about MN Fishing and Boating.

Yes, Minnesota residents can fish without a fishing license in dozens of state parks, including parks on Mille Lacs Lake, Lake of the Woods and other famed fishing waters. 

The Department of Natural Resources fish-without-a-license regulation was implemented several years ago as yet another innovative way to recruit, retain and reactivate anglers. The regulation is also an incentive for families to participate in state park “I Can Fish” educational programs. 

I share this information so you can share it with others. This time of year many Minnesotans are looking for a fun and easy outdoor experiences, and a little fishing, hiking, camping or exploring in a state park is a great option. Many parks even have fishing tackle you can borrow.

Though you can fish without a license in most state parks there are some exceptions. For example, you will need a license if you are fishing in a lake, stream or river in a park that requires a trout stamp. Also, do know that you don’t need a license if you are fishing from a boat or a float or through the ice on a lake that is completely encompassed within a Minnesota state park. However, if the lake abuts the park then you can only fish from shore or while wading in water within the state park.

Where to go? Here are a few popular options:

  1. Bear Head Lake State Park:  Abundant walleye, bass, crappies and trout.
  2. Father Hennepin State Park:  Bass, northern pike and walleye make their home in Mille Lacs Lake.
  3. Fort Snelling State Park: There is great fishing in this state park just minutes from the metro area.
  4. Glendalough State Park: Large sunfish and crappies for the frying pan, and bass for the camera.
  5. Zippel Bay State Park: Catch walleye, sauger, bass, perch and muskie in Lake of the Woods.
Check MN park names and locations and information about the loaner program information in the states parks.

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.