BlogOctober 2021

3 Species for Fall Fishing in Minnesota

3 Species for Fall Fishing in Minnesota

By Andy Whitcomb

Oct 04, 2021

Many fish will bite all year,but fall fishing in Minnesota can be outstanding for three specific species. Learn more about what makes fall fishing in Minnesota so great!

For many anglers, the best time of the year to fish Minnesota is fall. Many fish will bite all year such as catfish, crappie, and sunfish but there are predictable fish transitions which can help you know how to fish this lake-laden state, as well as many other northern states for that matter. Here are some Minnesota fall fishing tips to keep in mind.

Where are fish biting in Minnesota?

Fall fishing in Minnesota locations often are more shallow than summer. As the temperature cools, fish that may have been avoiding heat of the summer in deeper sections commonly start moving closer to shore, often entering creeks. This traditional movement also coincides with fall shad spawning. A standard fall bass fishing Minnesota pattern will include shad imitating swimbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures. These fish often congregate in “wolf packs” this time of year so when you find one, there may be others around. According to the Minnesota DNR, you may want to start casting in overlooked streams in east-central part of the state.

Best Walleye Fishing in Minnesota

Who can think of fall fishing in Minnesota without thinking of walleye? The best walleye fishing in Minnesota can be during these cooling months. If looking to put fillets in the freezer, a daily limit is 6 but only one can be over 20”, to help protect the large spawning adults. The fall shallow walleye bite often occurs at night, when these usually deeper oriented fish can be caught from shore with jerkbaits and minnow lures in less than 5 feet of water. Good populations of walleye are in many lakes; for example, the Minnesota DNR sampled Little Rock Lake in 2020 and found “plenty” of good sized walleye.

Minnesota Fall Fishing Tips

Minnesota fall fishing tips generally include an increased activity of other toothy fish: pike and muskies. Pike (and most other species too) will be trying to put on weight before their metabolism drops in the cold winter months. If you are in weedy, shallow areas, it would be a good idea to have a wire leader if you ever want to see your lure again. I caught my first pike in Minnesota. Even though it was small, I immediately became a huge fan of this species, when instead of darting off upon release, it whirled around, ready for another fight. One of the many lakes to try might be Lake Minnetonka, where the DNR also reports pike are “very abundant.”

For efficiency, you might want to look into hiring a Minnesota fishing guide. There are thousands of lakes available for fall fishing in Minnesota and a guide will be able to put you on the current hot bite and may share additional tips too. However, if you do some online research or when you pick up a fishing license and read the MN regulations (which can vary from lake to lake), discovering fish on your own can be even more satisfying.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.