Minnesota Walleye Lakes: Discover The Best Fishing Spots

Minnesota Walleye Lakes PIC


Are you seeking the ultimate walleye fishing adventure in Minnesota? Known as the land of ten thousand lakes, Minnesota is a paradise for angling enthusiasts especially those targeting walleyes.

Our comprehensive guide will lead you to some of the top-rated walleye destinations in this beautiful state, laying out everything from hotspots on each lake to effective bait techniques ensuring your trip yields impressive catches.

Let’s dive into these uncharted waters together!

Key Takeaways

  • Minnesota is home to some of the best walleye fishing lakes in the country, including Leech Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs Lake, Rainy Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish.
  • Each lake offers unique opportunities for anglers to target walleyes as well as other species like muskie, northern pike, perch, and more.
  • Fishing regulations are enforced diligently on these lakes to ensure sustainability for future generations.of anglers. It’s important to stay up-to-date with current regulations before planning your fishing trip.
  • Use a variety of baits and techniques such as casting jigs with minnows or leeches, trolling live bait along the bottom, casting or trolling hard plastic lures like crankbaits and jerkbaits, and fishing with a bobber for maximum success when targeting walleye in Minnesota.

Top Walleye Fishing Lakes in Minnesota

Minnesota boasts some of the best walleye fishing lakes in the country, including Leech Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs Lake, Rainy Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish.

Leech Lake

Renowned as one of the top walleye fishing lakesLeech Lake in Walker, Minnesota is an angler’s paradise. It ranks third among the largest lakes in Minnesota, stretching over 111,527 acres.

Its vast size accommodates around a dozen bays, each offering distinctive fishing opportunities for species like muskie and northern pike alongside walleye. The lake’s fertile waters contribute significantly to its abundant fish population that draws fishermen year-round.

Whether it’s summer or winter ice fishing you’re after, Leech Lake has something for everyone. With increased fishing pressure witnessed over time and the lake’s place among the top five walleye spots in Minnesota solidified; there is no doubt about its appeal to both local and visiting anglers.

Lake of the Woods

Known as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” Lake of the Woods in Minnesota is a paradise for anglers. Renowned for its substantial population of walleyes, it also attracts many seeking to target other species such as northern pike, perch, sauger and lake sturgeon.

Depth varies across this expansive water body, with some areas delving feet deep while others offer shallower hideouts perfect for ambush predator tactics.

Popular fishing spots include the Northwest Angle and South Shore along with Kenora, Witch Bay and Franz Jevne State Park. Casting your line into Clearwater Bay may yield an impressive catch too! The summer season turns Lake of the Woods into a bustling hub where eager fishermen ply their skills armed with jigs baited with minnows or leeches.

Just don’t forget to check out local DNR regulations and pick up your angling license before you set sail on these fish-filled waters!

Mille Lacs Lake

Renowned as a “walleye factory”, Mille Lacs Lake ranks among the top Minnesota walleye lakes. Covering an impressive area of more than 132,500 acres, its vast waters nurture thriving populations of walleyes and serve as a prime spawning ground.

Aspiring anglers and seasoned pros travel from all corners to experience the exceptional walleye fishing this lake offers. Apart from abundant walleyes, you’ll also find crappie and trophy-worthy smallmouth bass that add variety to your angling adventures.

Although Minnesota’s harsh winters freeze over most lakes, they transform Mille Lacs into an ice-fishing paradise aglow with thousands of luminescent fish houses. To keep these bountiful waters sustainable for future generations of anglers, strict DNR regulations are enforced diligently on Mille Lacs Lake.

So whether it’s casting a jig baited with a lively minnow in spring or drilling through thick ice in December’s frigid temperatures — chasing after the elusive walleyes here is sure to reel you in.

Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake is a walleye fishing paradise and one of the best lakes in Minnesota for anglers seeking nonstop action. Located partially in Voyageur’s National Park, this scenic lake offers breathtaking views while providing ample opportunities to catch walleyes.

Springtime is especially promising, as walleyes are in peak form during this season. In fact, rainbows can be found around Pine Island and the Gap area, making them popular hot spots for fishing enthusiasts.

Covering an impressive 360 square miles and serving as the headwaters of the Rainy River on the Minnesota-Ontario line, Rainy Lake attracts fishermen from both regions. If you’re planning a trip here, be sure to grab a fishing map that provides valuable information on where to find these elusive fish and tips to maximize your success rate.

Lake Winnibigoshish

One of the top walleye fishing lakes in Minnesota is Lake Winnibigoshish. Covering approximately 57,000 surface acres in Cass and Itasca counties, this expansive lake offers excellent opportunities for anglers to target walleye and yellow perch.

Known for its abundant yellow perch population, which serves as a vital food source for walleye, Lake Winnibigoshish attracts a significant amount of angler pressure and contributes to a substantial portion of the annual walleye harvest in the state.

With specific fishing regulations governed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), including slot limits for walleyes and limits on perch, it’s important to stay up-to-date with current regulations when planning your fishing trip.

Other Notable Walleye Fishing Spots in Minnesota

Minnesota is home to several other notable walleye fishing spots, including Red Lake, Lake Vermilion, Kabetogama Lake, Cass Lake, and Lake Pepin.

Red Lake

Red Lake, located in northwestern Minnesota, is a renowned walleye fishing spot that every angler should consider. With its crystal-clear waters and abundant fish populations, Red Lake offers an exciting and fruitful fishing experience.

This lake, known for its trophy-sized walleyes, also holds other sought-after species like northern pike and crappie. It’s not just the size of the fish that makes Red Lake special; it’s also the scenic beauty surrounding this expansive lake.

So pack your gear, head to Red Lake, and get ready for an unforgettable walleye fishing adventure!

Lake Vermilion

Lake Vermilion in Minnesota is a walleye fisherman’s paradise. As the fifth-largest lake in the state, spanning about 40 miles, Lake Vermilion offers ample room for anglers to explore and cast their lines.

It is renowned as one of the top fishing spots not just for walleyes but also muskellunge, northern pike, and bass. In fact, it consistently ranks among the 100 best fishing spots in all of America.

What sets Lake Vermilion apart from others is its abundant population of walleye, making it ideal for those seeking thrilling walleye-fishing adventures. The lake warms up slowly during spring, with shallow bays like Black Bay and Norwegian Bay being hotspot locations for catching walleye during this time.

For exceptional Minnesota walleye fishing opportunities on Lake Vermilion, head to Everett Bay Lodge where you’ll find the highest catch count per acre compared to other large lakes in the state.

Kabetogama Lake

Kabetogama Lake, located within Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, is a walleye fisherman’s dream come true. Spanning over 24,000 acres, this stunning lake offers some of the best walleye fishing in the state.

With its healthy population of walleye and other fish species like sauger, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch, anglers have plenty of opportunities to reel in their catch of the day.

Whether you’re casting your line from the shore or exploring the crystal-clear waters by boat, Kabetogama Lake promises an unforgettable fishing experience. And don’t forget to take a moment to soak in the natural beauty that surrounds you – all part of what makes this scenic spot one of Minnesota’s top walleye lakes.

Cass Lake

Cass Lake in Minnesota is a paradise for walleye fishing enthusiasts. As part of the Upper Mississippi River system, Cass Lake offers an incredible experience with its “Big Water” territory.

Spanning over 15,000 acres and boasting 26.9 miles of forested shoreline, this lake is not only vast but also stunningly beautiful. With a maximum depth of 120 feet, it provides the perfect habitat for walleye and other fish species like musky, perch, northern pike, and muskellunge.

Known as one of the best walleye lakes in Minnesota, Cass Lake attracts anglers from far and wide who are eager to reel in their prized catch. It’s not just about walleye here though; Cass Lake offers excellent opportunities for catching northern pike and perch as well.

The sandy beaches add to its appeal by providing an ideal spot for relaxation between casts.

If you’re planning a fishing trip to Minnesota, don’t miss out on the remarkable angling experience that Cass Lake has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, this lake will provide ample opportunities for a successful day on the water.

Lake Pepin

Lake Pepin, one of the notable walleye fishing spots in Minnesota, offers an excellent opportunity for anglers to reel in some impressive catches. Located on the Mississippi River, this scenic lake is known for its abundance of walleye and sauger.

Point No Point, Long, Central, and City points on the Minnesota side of Lake Pepin are popular hotspots during the spring and summer months. While walleye fishing takes center stage here, don’t overlook the bass fishing opportunities that can be found as well.

With its diverse fish population and beautiful surroundings, Lake Pepin is a must-visit destination for any walleye enthusiast.

Tips for Successful Walleye Fishing in Minnesota

To maximize your chances of success when fishing for walleye in Minnesota, use a variety of baits and techniques, familiarize yourself with fishing regulations and licensing requirements, choose the right equipment for the job, and gain an understanding of walleye behavior.

Best baits and techniques

When it comes to walleye fishing in Minnesota, using the right baits and techniques can make all the difference in your success on the water. Here are some of the best baits and techniques to consider:

  1. Casting a jig-and-minnow: This timeless technique is highly effective for targeting walleye. Cast out your jig and let it sink to the desired depth before imparting a subtle jigging motion. Vary your retrieve speed until you find what works best.
  2. Trolling live bait: Trolling with live bait such as a leech, minnow, or nightcrawler can be incredibly productive. Use a live-bait rig and troll slowly along the bottom, keeping an eye on your rod tip for any signs of a bite.
  3. Casting or trolling hard plastic lures: Hard plastic lures like crankbaits and jerkbaits are great for covering water and triggering aggressive strikes from walleye. Experiment with different colors, sizes, and diving depths to find what they’re biting on that day.
  4. Fishing with a bobber: When walleye are holding close to structure or suspended in deeper water, fishing with a bobber can be an effective method. Use a slip bobber rig with a small jig tipped with live bait. Let the wind or current drift your presentation naturally.
  5. Using spinners and spoons for trolling: Spinners and spoons can mimic injured baitfish and trigger reactive strikes from walleye when trolled at varying speeds. Experiment with different colors and sizes to find what they prefer.

Fishing regulations and licensing

When it comes to walleye fishing in Minnesota, understanding and adhering to the local fishing regulations is crucial. Also, whether you’re a resident or a non-resident, you must have a valid fishing license.

Below is a brief overview of the key points to note:

Walleye Size RestrictionsWalleye measuring from 19.5 inches to 28 inches must be immediately released, as per Minnesota walleye fishing regulations.
Changes in RegulationsUpper Red Lake has a new regulation in place that increases the possession limit for walleye.
Fishing License RequirementAll residents of Minnesota aged between 16 and 89 must have a current fishing license, unless exempted. Non-residents also need a license.
Validity of LicenseA fishing license for the current 2023-24 license year remains effective until February 29, 2024.

Remember to always check for any changes to the fishing regulations before you start your fishing journey. Happy fishing!

Choosing the right equipment

To increase your chances of a successful walleye fishing trip in Minnesota, it is crucial to choose the right equipment. Start with a medium-light to medium-action spinning rod that is around 6 to 7 feet long.

This will provide you with the necessary sensitivity and flexibility for detecting those subtle walleye bites. Pair your rod with a quality reel, preferably one with a smooth drag system.

For fishing line, opt for monofilament or fluorocarbon in the range of 6-10-pound test. These lines offer good visibility and strength while maintaining stealthiness in the water. If you prefer using braided line as your mainline, make sure to attach a fluorocarbon leader for added invisibility.

When it comes to choosing lures, jigs are undoubtedly an angler favorite for targeting walleyes in Minnesota lakes. Pack an assortment of jig sizes and colors (such as orange, chartreuse, and white) to cater to different light conditions and water clarity.

Walleyes have been known to have a preference for certain colors on any given day.

Understanding walleye behavior

Walleye behavior is a crucial factor in determining fishing success. These fish have distinct habits that change throughout the year, so it’s essential to understand their movements.

In the spring, walleye tend to be shallow or semi-shallow near shore, making them easier to catch for anglers who know where to look. Cloudy days and choppy water conditions can also increase your chances of hooking a walleye.

Vertical jigging with live bait and retrieving jerkbaits at a slow, steady pace are effective techniques. As summer approaches, walleyes start inhabiting main lake structures, providing another opportunity for successful angling.


In conclusion, Minnesota is truly a walleye fisherman’s paradise. With its abundance of top-rated lakes like Leech LakeLake of the WoodsMille Lacs LakeRainy Lake, and Lake Winnibigoshish, anglers have no shortage of incredible fishing spots to explore.

Whether you’re chasing trophy-sized walleyes or simply looking for a relaxing day on the water, Minnesota has it all. So grab your rod and reel and head to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for an unforgettable walleye fishing adventure!


1. What are some popular Minnesota walleye lakes?

Some popular Minnesota walleye lakes include Mille Lacs, Leech, Lake of the Woods, Upper Red, Vermilion, and Winnibigoshish.

2. How can I find the best fishing spots for walleye?

To find the best fishing spots for walleye, you can consult fishing guides, check with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), or research online resources that provide information on walleye populations in Minnesota lakes.

3. What are some recommended techniques for walleye fishing?

Some recommended techniques for walleye fishing include using jigs, fishing with minnows as bait, trolling with shad raps, and slip-bobber fishing in clear water.

4. Can you ice fish for walleye in Minnesota?

Yes, ice fishing for walleye is a popular activity in Minnesota. Lakes like Mille Lacs and Leech Lake offer excellent opportunities for ice fishing walleye.

5. Are there any specific regulations or licensing requirements for walleye fishing in Minnesota?

Yes, walleye fishing in Minnesota is regulated by the DNR. Anglers are required to have a valid fishing license and adhere to specific size and bag limits for walleye.

6. Is it better to fish for walleye in summer or winter?

Walleye can be caught both in summer and winter. Summer walleye fishing often involves trolling or casting near weed lines or rocky structures, while ice fishing for walleye typically requires drilling holes and using tip-ups or fishing rods.

7. Canoeing be done in walleye lakes?

Yes, you can go canoeing in walleye lakes. It’s a great way to explore the scenic beauty of Minnesota’s lakes while enjoying a day of fishing.

8. Where can I find information on the stocking of walleye in Minnesota lakes?

The DNR provides information on the stocking of walleye in Minnesota lakes. You can visit their website or contact them directly for detailed information.


Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m the author of walleyemania. I’ve been fishing for Walleye since I was a kid and I love sharing my tips, tricks, and stories with other anglers. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll find something useful and entertaining on my site. I cover everything from the best gear, baits, and techniques to the best spots, seasons, and recipes for Walleye fishing. Join me on my journey to catch more and bigger Walleye!

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