The infamous Minnesota winter is enough to scare people away and keep them inside during the winter months, but not for the avid ice fishing enthusiast who bare the weather in search of the perfect walleye and northern pike. With well over 10,000 lakes, it is no wonder why ice fishing is one of Minnesota’s biggest winter activities. The question is what are the best lakes to go ice fishing in the winter?
Upper Red Lake
Stretching over 288,000 acres, Red Lake is made up of the “Upper” and “Lower” region which is located in Northern Minnesota’s Beltrami County. If you are in search of world class caliber walleye, Upper Red Lake is the place to go. With plenty of access points spread out on the eastern shore, this lake is known for its walleye, northern pike, and crappie.
Lake Mille Lacs
Located north of St. Paul, Lake Mill Lacs spans more than 132,000 acres and stretches across Mill Lacs, Aitkin and Crow Wing counties to be recorded as the second largest lake in the state. The lake is known for their walleye, rock bass, northern pike, jumbo perch, muskie, smallmouth bass, and tullibee. Mill Lacs offers plenty of access along their 74-mile shoreline and has become a popular tourist destination offering plenty of fishing resorts and tour companies in the area.
Lake Vermilion is 40,500 acres of beautiful scenery and has become a famous tourist destination known for its muskie, northern pike, crappie, perch, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. Visit lakevermilion.com for information on peak activity and the best ice fishing hours for each of the winter months.
The host of North America’s largest ice fishing event - the Ice Fishing Extravaganza - Gull Lake is 9,418 acres and is the most popular fishing lake in the Brainerd Lake Region. Gull is host to the largest walleye, northern pike, and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass, rock bass and crappie population and offers access to ice fishing tour guides, ice house rentals, and ice fishing equipment.
Lake of the Woods
Named one of the most scenic lakes in the country by Minnesota Lakes website, Lake of the woods has over 14,000 islands and stretches over 950,000 acres through Minnesota, Ontario, and Manitoba. Lake of the Woods has over 45 resorts that offer all-inclusive ice fishing tours and specialize in walleye, northern pike, sauger, muskie, rock bass, largemouth bass, lake trout and sturgeon.