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Bass Fishing In Minnesota

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Guide to fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass in MN.

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

Minnesota Bass Fishing

Bass fishing in Minnesota is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Largemouth Bass Fishing In Minnesota

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in Minnesota. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in Minnesota. The state record largemouth bass is over 8 pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

The sprawling Lake Minnetonka is renowned for its largemouth bass population, with its submerged vegetation, docks, and rocky structures providing ideal habitat for these fish. Anglers can target largemouth bass using a variety of techniques such as flipping jigs, soft plastics, or topwater lures.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing In Minnesota

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is over 8 pounds.

Minnesota fishing lake in Fall.

The state boasts numerous lakes and rivers that provide excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities. The St. Croix River, with its rocky shorelines and clear waters, is a favorite smallmouth bass destination. Anglers can target smallmouth bass by casting with crankbaits, jigs, or soft plastics along rocky points, drop-offs, or submerged structures.

The best time to fish for bass in Minnesota varies depending on the species and location. Largemouth bass are typically more active during the warmer months, particularly late spring and early summer when they spawn and feed aggressively. Smallmouth bass, on the other hand, tend to be more active in the spring and fall when water temperatures are cooler. However, both species can be caught throughout the fishing season, and angling techniques may need to be adjusted to match the prevailing conditions.

Bass fishing basics video.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Minnesota

Bigger lakes including Big Stone Lake, Cass Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Lac Qui Parle Lake, Lake Bemidji, Lake Mille Lacs, Lake Minnetonka, Lake Minnewaska, Lake of the Woods, Lake Pepin, Lake Traverse, Lake Vermilion, Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech Lake, Lower Red Lake, Otter Tail Lake, Pelican Lake, Rainy Lake and Upper Red Lake all contain bass.

Minnesota's lakes and rivers provide anglers with diverse opportunities for bass fishing. Whether it's the thrill of landing a trophy-sized largemouth bass or the excitement of battling a feisty smallmouth, Minnesota offers a wealth of angling adventures for bass enthusiasts. With its scenic beauty and excellent fishing prospects, Minnesota is a must-visit destination for bass anglers seeking memorable experiences on the water.

Fishing Boats For Rent In Minnesota

Bass In Minnesota

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 15 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 0 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for Minnesota this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and stickbaits are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

Minnesota State Record Bass

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Auburn Lake.

The state record smallmouth bass came from West Battle Lake.

This nice bass was caught at Thunder Lake out of Remer, Minnesota by Paul Martinez.

Bass Lakes In MN

If you like to fish for bass, especially smallmouth bass, Minnesota is your kind of place. Thousands of lakes and the vast majority have healthy populations of bass.

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the North Star State.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!


Bass fishing information by state.

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