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Minnesota Panfish Fishing

All about fishing for sunfish in MN lakes and ponds.

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Throughout the state of Minnesota you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, white bass and yellow perch.

One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout Minnesota, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Panfish Fishing Lakes In Minnesota

Minnesota is the land of ten-thousand lakes and you can be sure a high percentage of them have one or species of panfish as residents. State records typically come from small lakes and private ponds that receive little fishing pressure. The larger, more consistent schools of panfish come from some of the major lakes in this state 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, Upper Red Lake and many others.

The Minnesota state record bluegill was caught out of Alice Lake and the state record green sunfish was pulled from North Arbor Lake. The Middle Fork Zumbro River gave up the state record hybrid sunfish while the state record pumpkinseed sunfish was caught from Leech Lake. The state record yellow perch was caught from Lake Plantaganette.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.

The list of panfish is comprised of many fishes each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.

Fishing for panfish in Minnesota



World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

MN State Record: 2 lbs 13 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.1 lbs

MN State Record: 1 lbs 4 oz

Hybrid Sunfish

Hybrid sunfish

World record: N/A

MN State Record: 1 lbs 12 oz

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 4 oz

MN State Record: 1 lbs 5 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

MN State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

MN State Record: 4 lbs 2 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

MN State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz

By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.

Panfish fishing information for other states.


Learn the lifecycle of a panfish

There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in Minnesota fishing waters. The panfish fishing videos offer a first hand look a anglers catching panfish.

Contribute MN Sunfish Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to panfish fishing in Minnesota, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best panfish fishing lakes in Minnesota!