Minnesota trout lakes a cool summer alternative

By C.B. Bylander

Jun 11, 2018

Minnesota offers some of the best lake trout fishing in the country and also offers put-and-take stream trout fishing in many lakes, including lakes in the Twin Cities area. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has many resources to select your next fishing spot.

A cool thing to do as summer heats up is to find and explore a Minnesota trout lake.

You will find most of these cold clean waters nestled in the forests of the far northeast yet they exist in other regions of the state, too, including the Twin Cities. They are ideal destinations for anyone who admires trout for their beauty, fight and taste. An added bonus is that many trout lakes are located in some of the most scenic settings in the state.   

There are two types of trout lakes. Lake trout lakes contains mostly lake trout. Stream trout lakes contain mostly rainbow, brook, brown and splake. The splake is a hybrid of a lake trout and a brook trout. Minnesota has about 180 stream trout lakes. You can find their location, size, depth, stocking data and other information by visiting trout lake list on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. You may be closer to one than you know..


If your goal is to catch a lake trout your best bet is to fish the waters of the far north, especially those close to Canada. That’s where the state’s naturally reproducing lake trout populations are most common. Trout in these 100-plus lakes average one to three pounds though lake trout topping 25 pounds are seen each year in DNR survey nets. Lake trout lake information is also available on the MNDNR’s website..

Though Minnesota has 35 “heritage” trout lakes that have never been stocked you are most likely to catch hatchery-raised trout because all stream trout lakes are stocked regularly. In fact, upwards of 600,000 catchable-size trout are stocked each year. The majority are brook trout..

Part of the fun of fishing trout in lakes is finding and exploring these waters since they represent only a small portion of the state’s 5,400 fishing lakes. If you would like to try trout fishing in the metro area check out Cenaiko Lake, which is a designated stream trout lake in the Twin Cities’ Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. Other options include Courthouse Lake in Chaska and Quarry Lake in Shakopee. Children under age 18 and adults who are 65 or older do not need a $10 trout and salmon stamp to fish for trout. Anglers fishing with a 24-hour or 72-hour license are exempt, too. 

Learn more about fishing and boating in Minnesota, and don't forget to get your fishing license before your next fishing trip. 

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.