Ultimate Guide To Walleye Fishing In The Minnesota River, MN: Tips, Techniques, And Hotspots

Minnesota River MN PIC


Are you an avid walleye angler seeking the ultimate victory over the elusive fish in Minnesota River, MN? Known as a premier hotspot for walleye fishing, this river presents unique challenges and opportunities.

This comprehensive guide is going to furnish you with proven tips, techniques, and hotspots aimed at reeling in a gargantuan walleye. Ready to unlock your potential as a professional-grade angler? Let’s cast out!

Key Takeaways

  • The best times to fish for walleye in the Minnesota River are spring and mid-summer, with low-light periods offering ideal conditions. Post-spawn fish are also a valuable target during this time.
  • Walleye can be found near areas with firm bottoms like sand or gravel, stretches adjacent to dams, changes from deep to shallow waters, and tributaries such as the Mississippi River.
  • Special techniques for walleye fishing in the Minnesota River include casting along rocky banks, vertical jigging using lead head jigs, trolling with crankbaits or worm harnesses, and live-bait rigging and bottom bouncing methods.
  • Mastering various casting tactics, optimizing your presentation while vertical jigging, varying trolling speeds and depths, and selecting the right bait are key factors for successful walleye fishing in the Minnesota River.

Understanding Walleye Fishing in the Minnesota River

To successfully fish for walleye in the Minnesota River, it is important to know the best times to fish, where to find them, and specific techniques that work well in this particular river.

Best times to fish for walleye

Timing plays a crucial role in walleye fishing on the Minnesota River. The prime period begins with springextending into mid-summer when these elusive creatures are more likely to take your bait.

Predominantly, low-light periods such as late evening and early morning hours offer ideal conditions for nabbing a walleye, particularly during summer months. As an angler venturing out in this timeframe you’ll find increased activity – especially 30 minutes before and after sunrise or sunset.

Notably, post-spawn fish add another valuable target during this same window of opportunity. Engaging in a little pre-fishing season planning by understanding the seasonal movements of walleye can markedly boost your success rate once you hit the waterways.

Where to find walleye in the Minnesota River

Finding walleye in the Minnesota River can feel like a thrilling treasure hunt, enriched by having the right knowledge about their habits and habitats. Walleyes are typically drawn to areas with firm bottoms such as sand or gravel, making those your best bet for locating these elusive fish.

Key locations include stretches adjacent to dams, due to alterations in water flow that often attract schools of baitfish – prime dining for hungry walleye. Additionally, changes from deep to shallow waters, which create natural feeding zones known as break lines or underwater structures are also popular hangouts for walleye.

Local anglers often report successful catches near tributaries like the Mississippi river where deeper holes can house large populations of hungry fish awaiting prey carried downstream by currents.

Furthermore, smaller lakes scattered across Minnesota are hidden gems offering excellent opportunities for nabbing a great walleye catch.

Walleye fishing techniques specific to the Minnesota River

Fishing for walleye in the Minnesota River calls for special techniques and strategies that take into account the unique environmental conditions and habits of this popular game fish.

  1. Master the art of casting along rocky banks, as walleye are often found lurking near these areas, especially on the edges of weed beds. Use live bait, jigs, or crankbaits to attract them.
  2. Experiment with vertical jigging techniques. This involves bouncing a jig off the river bottom in a way that mimics the small fish and crustaceans walleye feed on.
  3. Try trolling strategies if you’re fishing from a boat. Trolling slow and steady along drop-offs where deep water meets shallow water can entice walleyes out of their hiding spots.
  4. Utilize live – bait rigging and bottom bouncing methods which can be particularly effective in the current of a river like Minnesota River.
  5. Familiarize yourself with seasonal patterns of walleye movement to determine their likely locations at different times of year – keep in mind that June is considered one of the best months for catching aggressive walleyes.
  6. Be patient and diligent when fishing around boats or other structures where walleyes may be hiding.
  7. Observe local regulations as set forth by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), ensuring your fishing activities are within legal bounds.
  8. Consider using specific baits that are known to attract Minnesota River’s walleyes – such as leeches, nightcrawlers, and minnows.

Essential Tips and Techniques for Successful Walleye Fishing

Mastering various casting tactics for walleye is crucial. Whether using live bait, jigs, or crankbaits, precision and accuracy with your casts can significantly increase your chances of landing a trophy fish.

Casting tactics for walleye

Casting is a popular and effective technique for catching walleye in the Minnesota River. When casting for walleye, it’s important to target areas with structure, such as rocky banks and weed beds.

These areas provide cover and food sources that attract walleye. To increase your chances of success, consider using live bait, jigs, or crankbaits when casting. Casting along the shoreline and retrieving your bait slowly can entice walleye to strike.

Remember to vary your retrieval speed and experiment with different colors and sizes of baits until you find what works best on any given day. By mastering these casting tactics, you’ll be well on your way to reeling in some trophy-sized walleyes in the Minnesota River!

Vertical jigging techniques

Vertical jigging is a highly effective technique for targeting walleye in the Minnesota River. Here are some key techniques to master for successful vertical jigging:

  1. Choose the right jig: Select a lead head jig that matches the depth and current of the river. Use lighter jigs for shallow areas and heavier ones for deeper waters.
  2. Optimize your presentation: Position yourself upstream from where you believe walleye are holding, allowing your lure to drift naturally towards them. Keep your line vertical, maintaining contact with the jig at all times.
  3. Vary your jigging motion: Experiment with different cadences and movements to trigger bites. Try short, quick hops or longer sweeps to imitate injured baitfish.
  4. Use color to your advantage: Different colors work better in specific conditions, so have a variety of jigs in your tackle box. Bright colors like chartreuse and orange can be effective in murkier water, while natural tones like green and brown are suitable for clearer conditions.
  5. Pay attention to depth and structure: Vertical jigging is most productive near drop-offs, submerged structures, or areas with varying depths that attract walleye. Move around until you locate their preferred feeding zones.
  6. Stay patient and persistent: Walleye can be finicky, so don’t give up if you’re not getting immediate bites. Adjust your presentation, move along the riverbank, or try different spots until you find active fish.
  7. Fish during prime times: Early morning, evening hours, and overcast days tend to be more productive as walleye are often more active during lower light conditions.
  8. Be mindful of fishing regulations: Check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for any size limits or seasonal restrictions on walleye fishing in the Minnesota River.

Trolling strategies

Trolling is a highly effective technique that can greatly increase your chances of catching walleye in the Minnesota River, MN. Here are some key trolling strategies to keep in mind:

  1. Vary your speed: Experiment with different trolling speeds to find what works best for the walleye in the Minnesota River. Start with a slow to medium speed and adjust accordingly based on their response.
  2. Use crankbaits: Crankbaits are a popular choice for trolling as they mimic the movements of injured baitfish, which is an irresistible attraction for hungry walleye.
  3. Try worm harnesses: Worm harnesses are another effective option for trolling. The combination of a lively worm and enticing spinner blades can entice even the most finicky walleye.
  4. Utilize bottom-bouncer rigs: Bottom-bouncers allow you to keep your lure close to the riverbed while trolling, which is where walleye often lurk. This rig also helps prevent snagging on rocks or vegetation.
  5. Pay attention to depth: Walleye often prefer specific depths, so it’s important to vary the depth at which you’re trolling until you find the sweet spot. Adjust your equipment as needed to reach these depths.
  6. Target drop-offs and structure: Focus your trolling efforts near drop-offs, points, or other underwater structures where walleye tend to congregate. These areas provide cover and ambush points for feeding walleye.
  7. Keep an eye on your electronics: Use fish finders or sonar devices to identify schools of baitfish or suspended walleye while you’re trolling. This information can help you adjust your tactics and target active fish.
  8. Change up colors and sizes: If you’re not getting bites, don’t be afraid to switch up the color or size of your lures until you find what triggers the walleye in the Minnesota River.

Live-bait rigging and bottom bouncing

Live-bait rigging and bottom bouncing are two highly effective techniques for catching walleye in the Minnesota River, MN. These methods have been proven to attract walleye and increase the chances of a successful catch. Here’s what you need to know about live-bait rigging and bottom bouncing:

  1. Live-bait rigging: This traditional and popular method among walleye anglers involves using live bait, such as minnows, to entice the fish. To rig live bait, start by threading a hook through the lips or back of the minnow, ensuring it stays secure. Use a Medium Light power rod for optimal control and sensitivity.
  2. Bottom bouncing: This technique involves using a specialized weight called a bottom bouncer that is attached to your fishing line above your hook. The weighted wire arm on the bottom bouncer allows your bait to bounce along the riverbed as you retrieve it. This movement mimics natural prey and can trigger strikes from walleye.
  3. Walker rig: The walker rig is commonly used for live-bait rigging in river fishing. It features a weighted wire arm that bounces on the bottom while keeping your bait off the riverbed and in sight of walleye. This setup allows you to cover more water effectively.
  4. Selecting the right bait: Choosing the right bait is crucial for successful walleye fishing. Different types of bait work best for different seasons and fishing conditions in the Minnesota River. Experiment with options such as minnows, leeches, or nightcrawlers to find what works best during your fishing trips.
  5. Recommended gear: When using live-bait rigging or bottom bouncing techniques, it’s essential to use appropriate gear like Medium Light power rods with sensitive tips and reels with smooth drag systems. This will help you feel even subtle bites and ensure a smooth fight when reeling in walleye.

Recommended baits for walleye fishing in the Minnesota River

To maximize your chances of reeling in a trophy walleye in the Minnesota River, it’s crucial to choose the right bait. The following are recommended baits for successful walleye fishing:

  1. Spot-Tail Shiner Minnows: These minnows are known to be an excellent bait choice on lakes with good populations of spot-tail shiners. Walleye are naturally drawn to these minnows, making them a go-to option for anglers.
  2. Fathead Minnows: If you’re fishing in small, shallow waters, fathead minnows can work wonders for attracting walleye. Their lively movements and scent make them irresistible to these freshwater predators.
  3. Jigs with Live Bait: One highly effective technique for catching walleye is using jigs combined with live bait such as minnows or leeches. Cast your jig near the bottom and retrieve it slowly to mimic a natural swimming motion that entices walleye to strike.
  4. Nightcrawlers: Another tried-and-true bait for walleye fishing in the Minnesota River is nightcrawlers. These large worms emit vibrations that attract hungry walleye, so threading them onto a hook can be a game-changer.
  5. Artificial Soft Plastics: In addition to live bait options, artificial soft plastics can also yield great results when targeting walleye in the Minnesota River. Choose soft plastics that resemble smaller fish or insects that walleye commonly feed on.

Hotspots for Walleye Fishing in the Minnesota River

Discover the prime locations teeming with walleye in the Minnesota River, along with expert tips for maximizing your success in these specific areas.

Identified locations with high walleye populations

Anglers seeking walleye fare well in the Minnesota River, but there are several other spots in Minnesota known for having a high population of this coveted fish.

Minnesota RiverOne of the top walleye fishing locations with a variety of fishing techniques available to catch walleye, including ice fishing.
Leech LakeFamous for its walleye fishing, and it’s home to several walleye tournaments throughout the year.
Lake of the WoodsKnown as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” this lake offers exceptional walleye fishing opportunities year-round.
Rainy River & Rainy LakeFamous for their spring walleye runs, these locations are a favorite among local and visiting anglers.
Mille Lacs LakeDespite recent regulation changes, Mille Lacs remains a top destination for walleye anglers.
Red LakeOne of Minnesota’s best walleye lakes, especially for ice fishing.
Lake WinnibigoshishKnown for its large walleye population, it’s a favorite among anglers seeking larger walleye.

Each of these locations has its unique features and quirks when it comes to walleye fishing, but they are all well-known for their abundant walleye populations. Always check the local regulations before heading out on your fishing adventure.

Tips for fishing in specific areas of the Minnesota River

  1. Focus on fishing near dams and other structures along the Minnesota River, as these areas tend to attract walleye due to the abundance of food and shelter.
  2. Look for areas with deeper water, as walleye tend to stay in deeper pools and channels during certain times of the year.
  3. Pay attention to areas where the river widens or narrows, as changes in current can create productive spots for walleye feeding.
  4. Target shallow rocky areas or gravel bars, especially during low light periods such as early morning or late evening, as these are prime feeding spots for walleye.
  5. Keep an eye out for submerged vegetation or fallen trees, as these provide hiding places for baitfish that walleye like to prey on.
  6. Experiment with different depths and presentation speeds until you find what works best for the particular area of the Minnesota River you’re fishing in.
  7. Consider using a bottom bouncer rig when targeting deeper sections of the river, as this will keep your bait close to where walleye are likely to be.
  8. Use natural colored baits and lures that mimic the fish’s natural prey, such as minnows or leeches, as this will increase your chances of attracting a bite.
  9. Don’t be afraid to cover a lot of water when searching for active walleye, especially if you’re not getting any bites in your current location.
  10. Stay informed about current fishing conditions and local reports from fellow anglers or resources like the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website to increase your chances of success.

Keep these tips in mind when targeting specific areas of the Minnesota River for walleye fishing, and remember that patience and persistence are key traits of successful anglers!


In conclusion, the Minnesota River offers a fantastic walleye fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels. By understanding the best times to fishwhere to find these elusive fish, and using the right techniques, you can increase your chances of success.

With an abundance of hotspots along the river, there is always a new adventure waiting for you. So grab your gear and get ready to reel in some trophy walleye in the beautiful Minnesota River!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Minnesota River?

The Minnesota River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River in the state of Minnesota. It is approximately 335 miles long and flows through several cities, including Granite Falls, St. Peter, and Mankato.

2. Can I catch walleye in the Minnesota River?

Yes, the Minnesota River is known for its walleye population. Walleye fishing is popular among anglers in this river.

3. Are there other fish species in the Minnesota River?

Apart from walleye, you can also find other fish species in the Minnesota River, including channel catfish, smallmouth bass, northern pike, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum.

4. Where can I find the best walleye fishing spots in the Minnesota River?

Some popular walleye fishing spots in the Minnesota River include the stretch downstream from the Granite Falls Dam, pool 2 on the Mississippi River, and backwater areas near St. Peter. These areas offer good opportunities for catching walleye.

5. Are there any specific techniques for walleye fishing in the Minnesota River?

When fishing for walleye in the Minnesota River, anglers often use techniques such as trolling with crankbaits, jigging with live bait, and casting with swimbaits. Experimenting with different techniques is key to finding what works best in this river.

6. Do I need a fishing license to fish in the Minnesota River?

Yes, a fishing license issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is required for all anglers aged 16 and older to fish in the Minnesota River or any other freshwater body in Minnesota.

7. Can I fish for walleye in the Minnesota River during the winter?

Yes, walleye fishing is also popular during the winter months in the Minnesota River. Ice fishing is a common technique used by anglers to catch walleye when the river freezes over.

8. Are there any fishing reports or resources available for the Minnesota River?

Absolutely! You can find fishing reports, tips, and other helpful resources about fishing in the Minnesota River on websites such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website and local fishing forums


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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