Go with the Flow: Fish on a Minnesota River
By Explore Minnesota
Minnesota’s rivers, lakes and streams are open for business – fishing business, that is!
Over the weekend, more than half a million anglers celebrated the opening of fishing season at the Governor’s Fishing Opener on the Mississippi River in St. Cloud. Traditionally held on a lake, Minnesotans casted a line on a river, shining a light on one of the state’s top pastimes.
With more than 6,500 natural rivers and streams comprising more than 69,000 miles, there are plenty of fishing adventures to be had. And for a change of pace from your boat deck, fish like a Minnesotan from the shoreline, a paddleboard, canoe or fishing kayak. There are even rental options for canoes, kayaks and more statewide. Thinking of trying one of Minnesota’s many rivers as a new locale for reeling in the big one? Hot spots include:
- Cannon River: Surrounded by rolling hills, high bluffs, farmland and woods before opening up to a broad gorge below Cannon Falls in southeastern Minnesota, anglers can reel in smallmouth bass, northern pike, pike, black crappies and catfish on this river.
- Minnesota River: This Mississippi River tributary flows more than 300 miles from Fort Snelling in St. Paul to Mankato and west to Big Stone Lake at Ortonville. Catfish, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and sauger are possible catches.
- Mississippi River: Starting in the northwest at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River offers some of the most diverse fishing conditions anywhere, harboring more than 260 species of fish including walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike and more.
- Red River: Anglers will find smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye, northern pike, sauger and lake sturgeon in this north-flowing river that runs from Breckenridge in northwestern Minnesota to Lake Winnipeg in Canada.
- Root River: Smallmouth bass, catfish, rock bass and brown trout are all possible catches on the Root River in southeastern Minnesota. Passing through many quaint towns with historical sites, services and hospitality, this river is perfect for a family fishing trip.
- Croix River: Once vital to the state’s logging operations, much of this river creates the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Nestled along beautiful bluff, islands and wooded banks, the St. Croix River’s 60-plus species of fish include smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye, sauger and lake sturgeon.
- Louis River: The largest river to flow into Lake Superior also harbors the only river whitewater rafting opportunities in the state. Located in northeastern Minnesota, experienced paddlers can expect to find smallmouth and largemouth bass, sturgeon, walleye and northern pike here.
Minnesota fishing licenses start as low as $10 – so it’s a great option for anglers this spring and summer looking to try someplace new. For more information about fishing in Minnesota or for other ideas on what to do during your stay, visit exploreminnesota.com/fishing.