Spring Fishing in Minnesota, Mike Comstock

March 28, 2022

Like many living in the north central part of the country, I look forward to getting on the water to fish. It’s a great resource to be enjoyed by the whole family. Here is a little guide to fishing possibilities around the metro and outstate Minnesota.

If you have kids and want them to enjoy fishing for a lifetime, buy them a $10 single-piece rod of their favorite cartoon character to use as the ice goes out. Crappies are typically what we go fishing for until the walleye season opens Mid-May. These bountiful fish can be caught with minnows, leeches, plastic baits or even corn, but the best bait in most lakes is a small jig with a crappie minnow. If you have a boat, look for bays with shallow water that warms faster, typically on the north side of the lake. Crappies will start to spawn when the water temperature gets close to 60°F. (Hint: Lilacs bloom around the same time.)

Fishing photo

Minneapolis Area Lakes

Lake Minnetonka – The lake is known for largemouth bass but has a lot of walleyes that can be caught in the spring and fall when boat traffic is down. There are a lot of bays and shallow areas to target that will warm up earlier. For crappie in these areas, try a light line-bobber and small jig (add minnow). The lake is also known for BIG muskies in the 50”+ range in the fall, if you want to up the challenge and reward possibilities.

White Bear Lake – Water levels here have fluctuated over the years but have recently stabilized. Largemouth bass are a favorite with panfish and muskies being the next sought-after fish. Start in the bays for crappie, but find the weed lines near the drop-offs.

Prior Lake – In early spring the crappies can be found in the shallows near the deeper water in the bays and near the bridge. Walleyes can be caught in the deeper areas of the lake where there is structure late afternoon.

Northern Minnesota Lakes

Mille Lacs Lake – Crappies can be caught in back bays and channels in spring as the water warms. Walleye and smallmouth bass can be caught along the rocky points and reefs early and late in the year. Minnows, plastics and crank baits work in spring and fall. Summer brings walleye deeper to the mud flats. Leaches and night crawlers are the most common bait options for success. This lake also offers the opportunity of big muskies in fall.

Pokegama Lake (Grand Rapids) – Crappies are abundant, but it’s a matter of finding the right bay where they are spawning and watching water temperatures. There are a lot of big walleyes due to the smelt in the lake. They can be caught along the weed lines & sunken islands with minnows, leaches or night crawlers.

Lake Vermilion – Crappies can be found along the north shore of bays and inlets. Look for some vegetation or cover. Walleyes are usually a primary focus here and can be caught shallow in the spring but will move out deeper as the water warms.

I hope this gives you a good start to enjoying a lifelong activity that can lead to many friendships and valuable life experiences.

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