This is why Minnesota is a top muskie destination

By C.B. Bylander

May 17, 2018

Minnesota has many unique opportunities for muskellunge fishing throughout the state. Many Minnesota lakes and rivers are the best in the Midwest for muskie fishing. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has many resources to select your next fishing spot.

Minnesota’s muskellunge season opens in June, and if you’ve never tried to catch this top predator you should. These are Two reasons to fish in Minnesota.


Minnesota offers the best Muskie Fishing in U.S.

One, you won’t find better muskie fishing anywhere in America. Minnesota is a best bet for catching muskies that measure 50 inches or more. Two, muskies can produce an adrenaline rush like few other fish. Imagine a four-footer smacking your lure as you prepare to lift it from the water. That’s a rod-bending tale you’ll tell the rest of your life.

Great muskie fishing exists throughout the state. In fact, several excellent muskie lakes are located within the highly urbanized Minneapolis-St. Paul area.  Chief among them is sprawling Lake Minnetonka, which covers some 14,000 acres on the metro area’s western edge. White Bear and Bald Eagle lakes are other popular urban muskie destinations.

Statewide, Minnesota is home to about 100 muskie waters. This number represents only 2 percent of the waters managed for fishing yet accounts for 22 percent of the surface area. Most lakes contain large-growing natural strain muskie though 11 lakes in the Twin Cities area contain the smaller-growing tiger muskie, a hybrid created by having a male northern pike fertilize the eggs of a female muskie.


Minnesota offers Many places to fish 

Options are many because over the past 30-plus years the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has increased opportunities by stocking muskies at low densities in waters where they are expected to do well but not harm other fish populations. Among the larger and most popular muskie lakes in this category are Mille Lacs (130,000 acres), Vermillion (39,277 acres), Bemidji (6,596 acres), Detroit (3,067 acres) and Alexander (2,709 acres). Popular natural muskie lakes in north central Minnesota include Leech (102,948 acres), Winnibigoshish (56,470 acres) and Cass (15,958 acres). The Mississippi, St. Croix and St. Louis rivers also hold muskies.

Though the muskie season opens in early June the best fishing tends to heat up in summer and autumn. Hitting the water with a guide or veteran muskie angler is smart way to go as this type of fish typically involves specialized equipment – heavy rods, fast-retrieving bait-casting reels, a big net or cradle and large bucktail, jerkbait, spinner or soft plastic lures with long, tantalizing tales.

Before you head out and go fishing, get your MN Fishing license online. You can find muskie season information in the 2018 MN 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.