Northern MN Fishing Report – Counties included and other information

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Although fishing is king in northern Minnesota, there are many things to do and see here besides fishing. For example, where are the best fishing lakes? Where are the best fishing resorts? What kind of fish will I catch in which lake? (Oh, I was going to talk about other things, not about fishing!) Of course, not everyone comes here to fish, so many other topics are covered in the post about Where the Mississippi River Begins! However, this post does include more about the Northern MN Fishing Report.

I’ve repeated the map (above) from several other posts for your convenience.

Northern MN Fishing Report Table of Contents

How to find the best fishing lakes & Northern MN Fishing Report

This website (link here) claims to be the best place to find current fishing conditions. In other words, “Where are they biting right now.” Most of the fishing resorts will have their own ideas. However, some may come from this site or a similar one. After all, the resorts, the merchants, and the state WANT you to catch fish! They all want you back again!

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In general, some of the lakes I’ve included here are considered great fishing lakes. I’ve mentioned Leech, Vermilion, Rainy, Red, Lake of the Woods, and a few others. Winnibigoshish, Kabetogama, Pokegama, and Lake Superior are additional lakes on the list. If you do more research, you’ll find more. However, looking among the lakes here should get you a good fishing spot.

How to find the best fishing resorts

My research includes resorts on purportedly the best lakes in northern Minnesota. However, great resorts are “in the eye of the beholder!” Use my research and ask others as well if you are looking for a great fishing experience.

My posts about northern Minnesota include an overview post (Where the Mississippi River Begins) and nine additional posts about specific areas. This one covers the “catchall” areas that I may have missed in other posts.


One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of northern Minnesota is by hitting the hiking trails. Although this one, Tettegouche State Park, is a must-see destination for hikers, with its rugged terrain and stunning views of Lake Superior, it’s on the North Shore. Of course, The Superior Hiking Trail, which runs along the North Shore, offers over 300 miles of hiking trails through forests, along rivers, and up to breathtaking overlooks. Here are a few more if you want hiking trails while visiting further west.

  • Chippeawa “C” Gia Tra Trail near Walker and Leech Lake
  • Star Island Hiking Trails near Bemidji (three trails for a total of about four miles)
  • Meadow Lake Hiking Trails near Bemidji (Nine trails for about eleven miles)

Wildlife viewing

You can find wildlife in nearly every part of the state. Ely has the Wolf and Bear centers mentioned in another post. However, nearly every state park and many other areas are great for bird and animal watching. Much of this part of the state has a low population density, creating more “space” for birds and animals. And there are many state and national forests throughout the area.

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The western edge near North Dakota turns into a prairie with very few trees and much farmland. You’ll still see wetlands and small forests. In these areas, you’ll find small animals and birds. You will find a few different species of birds more suited to a prairie.

Local Culture

Northern Minnesota also provides a home to several Native American Reservations. They all have cultural heritage museums. Many county seats also have museums to highlight the early European influence, from the first French fur traders to later immigrants from northern Europe who came to farm the rich farmlands, especially in the western Red River Valley. That area was flattened by the last Ice Age. The westernmost edge lie under glacial Lake Agassiz, which had a depth of nearly 500 feet at one time as the glacier melted.

Museums, and aren’t I going to find the Northern MN Fishing Report?

I’ve mentioned museums in several of the posts. Again, every county has a museum either in the county admin building or another local building.

Cultural Festivals

Northern Minnesota is home to many cultural festivals throughout the year. The Ely Blueberry Festival, held in August, celebrates the region’s blueberry harvest with live music, food, and crafts. The festival also features a blueberry pie-eating contest and a blueberry pancake breakfast.

In September, visitors can attend the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth. The festival features three days of live blues music from local and national performers and food and craft vendors.

Overall, visitors to Northern Minnesota can experience a rich cultural heritage through its museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals. Most of the reservations celebrate their heritage during the year as well.

ATV Tours

ATV tours are common in many areas of the north. I found many and don’t have enough information to recommend any of them.

Rock Climbing

Some of the parks I’ve mentioned provide rock climbing options. Although the best ones are on the north shore, there are others inland. However, pick the places along the shore if you want to do rock climbing.

Relaxing Getaways

Most of the resorts feature relaxing getaways as well. After all, not everyone comes here to fish!

Scenic Drives

Most of the state parks and the state and national forests contain scenic drives. Scenic drives, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. Some visitors will find most of the roads “scenic!”

Northern MN counties in this area & Northern MN Fishing Report

Many county seats will likely have museums either in the county admin building or a separate building. Although many of these towns are small, you are more likely to find meals and accommodations than other places. If you are on a budget, you might find some very good prices in reasonably good places to stay. Check Tripadvisor.

Each county seat usually has a museum or an attraction. As an “afterthought,” I’ve added the counties included (or partially included) in the area. Again, some of the museums may be “lame,” but I’m putting it out there. Many of these cities are small; however, several are among the largest cities in northern Minnesota.

CountyCounty Seat
(The links go to a visitor website for the city or near the city.)
CookGrand Marais
ItascaGrand Rapids
KoochichingInternational Falls
LakeTwo Harbors
Lake of the WoodsBaudette
PenningtonThief River Falls
Red LakeRed Lake Falls
Saint LouisDuluth
List of counties in Northern Minnesota

Summary? (By the way, will I find the Northern MN Fishing Report!!)

Sorry, this entire post is a summary! How can one summarize a summary? How about, “If you need a summary, scan through the post again!”

Classic Rock Recollection

“Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin

Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams

Written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

#northernminnesota #northernminnesotafishing #northernminnesotaresorts