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Ranking System for Best Destinations by Species of Fish
We use a different ranking system when we are listing the best destinations for each species of fish. While we do factor in the business services in the area, destinations can rank higher or lower for each species of fish depending on the potential for numbers of fish, trophy fish, fishing guides in the area, etc.
For example, we rank Saginaw Bay a 9.75 as an overall fishing vacation destination, but when it comes to just walleye fishing, it scores a perfect 10.0.
Canada – Rating 10.0
Canada offers some of the best fishing opportunities in North America for walleye and a variety of other fish. Many anglers come to Canada specifically for the walleye and most of the top lakes will have good walleye fishing. Every lake up here doesn’t get a 10.0 rating, but since there are so many good places up here to target walleye, this country is a great place to start when planning a walleye fishing vacation. Take a look at our Canada fishing section to find some of the best places to fish in Canada for walleye.
Ontario (Canada) – Rating 10.0
If you want to experience some excellent fishing for walleye, it is tough to beat Ontario, Canada. This province has so many good places to fish. Some of the best drive-to lakes are Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul, Red Lake, Eagle Lake, Rainy Lake and Lake Nipissing, Lake St. Joseph, Pickle Lake and many others. There are a number of boat-in and fly-in fishing destinations that offer some unbelievable fishing opportunities for numbers of fish and quality-sized fish too.
Manitoba (Canada) – Rating 10.0
Manitoba doesn’t have as many quality walleye lakes as it’s neighbor province of Ontario, but there is definitely some awesome walleye fishing here. There are some good drive-to fishing destinations to go along with some excellent fly-fishing destinations for walleye and other species of fish.
Saskatchewan (Canada) – Rating 10.0
Saskatchewan is not as easy to get to for most anglers, so this part of Canada definitely doesn’t receive the pressure that Ontario does. However, for those of you that are looking to get into some excellent fishing, you can definitely find it here. Catching good numbers of walleye and trophy walleye are here in Saskatchewan. Some drive-to lakes exist, but the better opportunities are going to be with the fly-in fishing resorts.
Lake Erie (OH) – Rating 10.0
Kelleys Island, Port Clinton, Put-In-Bay and Sandusky are some of the popular places to visit in Ohio if you are planning a Lake Erie fishing trip. Walleye are king here. If you hit it right, you can expect to catch a bunch of walleye with some very big fish mixed in. The challenge you have with this lake is that you need a big boat to fish it safely. Most anglers don’t want to drive their huge boats out here, so they will usually fish with a guide when coming here to fish for walleye. If you follow the guide reports, you will be blown away at the amount of walleye they catch and the average size of these fish on Lake Erie. Just be prepared for fishing in big waves if the wind is blowing. There is nowhere to hide out here.
Saginaw Bay (MI) – Rating 10.0
Saginaw Bay is one of the best places to target walleye in the country. There are good numbers of walleye here and plenty of big fish too, so you have a good chance to fill your livewell and run into a trophy fish on the waters of Saginaw Bay. It’s big water, so you don’t won’t to get caught out here with a boat that is too small, however, fishing the bay gives you the ability to take advantage of big fish waters while having a lot more protection from the weather than you would if you were fishing Lake Erie.
Bays de Noc (MI) – Rating 9.5
The walleye fishing is tremendous on Little Bay de Noc and Big Bay de Noc. In this area, you can catch good numbers of walleye to go along some absolute monster-sized fish. 10 pound walleye are fairly common up here so if you are looking for a big fish destination, this is a great destination. It is definitely one of the better big fish walleye destinations in Michigan.
Devils Lake (ND) – Rating 9.5
Devils Lake is the largest natural body of water in North Dakota. It is the premier vacation destination in the state. The lake is about 122,000 acres and most of it is not developed. Fishing is excellent for a number of species and the walleye fishing is very good. Being a relatively shallow lake with excellent populations of forage, large fish are produced quickly in Devils Lake. Walleye in the 6 to 8 pound class are common.
Fort Peck Lake (MT) – Rating 9.5
Fort Peck Lake is the largest lake in Montana measuring 134 miles long and it has 1520 miles of shoreline with a maximum depth of 220 feet. This lake is huge and it is known for its excellent walleye fishery. There are good numbers of walleye to go along with some very big fish. Walleye over 10 pounds are fairly common every year on this lake. If you’re looking for a big fish, this may be one of the best lakes to fish in the entire United States.
The Rainy River (MN) – Rating 9.5
The Rainy River would be rated a 10.0 if the fishing was good from spring through fall the way it is when the walleye run up this river. You get 2 main runs on the Rainy River. The spring run is usually crazy good. It will be cold and you may deal with some nasty conditions, but anglers pack the river for the awesome fishing. The fall run is also very good, but not as good as the spring run. Boats that hit it right have been reporting 50 to 100 walleye days for years and I wouldn’t be shocked if a group was able to catch close to 200 fish if they used live bait, fished all day and timed it just right. Timing is everything though, so make sure to keep up with the reports and if you can get off from work when the peak bite starts, you can experience some awesome fishing. Walleye in the high 20 inch range and up to 30 inches are caught every year and many anglers report catching a lot of big fish in the upper 20 inch range. It’s just an amazing fishery during the spring.
Ely, MN – Boundary Waters – Rating 9.5
The walleye fishing is excellent in the Ely, Minnesota area. Whether you are targeting walleye in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area or the lakes that lie just outside of it, you should be able to catch plenty of walleye in this area. On guided fishing trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area lakes, anglers usually report steady action throughout their entire fishing day. This area provides anglers with one of the best walleye fishing experiences in the state of Minnesota.
Green Bay, WI – Rating 9.5
There are so many anglers in Illinois and Wisconsin who drive up north into Northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and into Canada and they have no idea what is available in Green Bay, Wisconsin. While there area may not be very scenic and it may not be what most people are looking for when planning a fishing vacation, you can’t deny the awesome fishery that exists here. You can catch good numbers of walleye with big fish up to and above 30 inches long. It may be one of the best fisheries in the United States for walleye besides Lake Erie.
Columbia River (WA) – Rating 9.0
This river seems to be getting better and better for walleye fishing. The entire river isn’t awesome for walleye fishing, but there are stretches that offer some really good fishing for walleye.
Bemidji, MN Area – Rating 9.0
The Bemidji, Minnesota area offers walleye anglers so many fishing opportunities. This area up here is truly a walleye fishing paradise. The problem is most anglers don’t have the time to fish all of the great lakes in this area. Closest to the town of Bemidji, you have Lake Bemidji, which is a very good walleye fishing lake. Gull Lake, Blackduck Lake, Cass Lake, Lake Winni and Leech Lake are all close enough for you to fish for the day. There are tons of smaller lakes in this area as well that offer good walleye fishing.
Brainerd Lakes (MN) – Rating 9.0
The Brainerd Lakes area offers anglers so many walleye fishing opportunities. The area lakes are loaded with eater-sized walleye and trophy walleye up to 30 inches are possible on some of the better lakes in this area. Some of the popular walleye lakes in this area are Gull Lake, Round Lake, Pelican Lake, Farm Island Lake and Mille Lacs Lake, but these are just some of the lakes that you can fish for walleye. There are so many lakes in this area where you can target walleye and expect to catch some.
Lake Vermilion (MN) – Rating 9.0
The walleye fishing can be fantastic on Lake Vermilion. Some anglers really struggle on this lake, but if you know how to target walleye, this is a good lake to fish and it gives you the opportunity to catch some really big fish too. Fish in the mid to upper 20 inch range are common in the lake and 30 inch fish are possible.
Lake Winnibigoshish (WI) – Rating 9.0
Lake Winni has been known as a good walleye fishing lake in the past and it’s still a very good lake to fish for walleye today. If you know how to fish for walleye, this is a lake where you can catch good numbers of eater-sized fish and you will definitely run into some nice walleye in the low to mid 20 inch range with the possibility of catching a trophy size fish.
Leech Lake (MN) – Rating 9.0
Leech Lake has been known as a very good walleye fishing lake over the years. There were some tough years on this lake after 2000, but the walleye numbers have rebounded nicely to pre-2000 levels. Leech lake gives anglers the opportunity to catch a lot of walleye and there are plenty of big fish in here as well. If you know how to target walleye, you should be able to catch some fish on Leech Lake.
Door County, WI – Rating 9.0
Rated as one of the top ten vacation destinations in America, Door County has some unbelievable fishing for big walleye. You’re not always going to get big numbers of fish here and you may have to do some night fishing to get the big girls, but if you know what you’re doing and you put in the time, big fish over 30 inches have become common in Door County. For the anglers that really have it dialed in up here, they routinely catch 30 inch fish by trolling at night. If you could catch them consistently during the day, this would easily be rated a 10.0.
Lake Gogebic (MI) – Rating 8.75
Lake Gogebic is known as a good walleye lake for numbers with some big fish up to and above 10 pounds are caught here as well. This lake has a track record more for having good numbers of eater-sized fish than trophy fish, so you should be able to catch plenty of walleye to eat on a trip to Lake Gogebic. Don’t count on seeing too many big fish, although, there are some available in this fishery.
The Northwoods of Wisconsin – Rating 8.5
The Northwoods of Wisconsin have so many walleye lakes to fish. While the fishing up here isn’t what it used to be for the walleye fishing, there are still plenty of lakes to target walleye. Some of the popular towns up here to fish are Boulder Junction, Eagle River, Minocqua, St. Germain and Three Lakes.
Detroit River (MI) – Rating 8.5
The Detroit River is one of the best places to fish in the spring time during the annual spawning run. If this river had the fishing it has in the spring year round, this destination would easily be rated a 10.0. You’re not going to have that up north scenic feel that you get with many of the other top-rated walleye destinations, but if you’re looking to try and catch a 30 incher and you want a lot of action too, the Detroit River may be worth a try in the spring time.
Lake Winnebago (WI) – Rating 8.5
Lake Winnebago is one of the better walleye lakes in the state of Wisconsin. This is a big lake and there are a lot of different species of fish here, but Walleye is the most sought after fish here and there are a lot of them in the lake. Most anglers will troll here for walleye. Whether you’re after numbers of size, there’s a little of both in this lake depending on the year.
Bull Shoals Lake (AR & MO) – Rating 8.5
The lake covers 45,400 acres with about 730 miles of shoreline consisting of rubble, limestone, ledges, gravel points, clay banks and silty areas at the upper ends of the creek arms. Bull Shoals Lake is one of your best options if you want to do some fishing in the southern part of the country. Many anglers don’t even know about it because they head up north when they fish for walleye, but it’s a nice option if you’re looking to do some walleye fishing once it gets too cold up north. This lake is known for some big walleye too.
View All Featured Fishing Destinations
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Great Lakes System
- Detroit River
- Lake Saint Clair
Way Up North (Near the Border)
- Crane Lake
- Ely, MN (Boundary Waters)
- Kabetogama Lake
- Lake of the Woods
- Lake Vermilion
- Rainy Lake
- Upper Red Lake
Highway 2 (At or Above)
But not way up north
Below Highway 2
- Alexandria Lakes, MN
- Brainderd, MN
- Detroit Lakes, MN
- Hackensack, MN
- Lake Minnetonka
- Lake Pepin
- Leech Lake
- Longville, MN
- Mille Lacs Lake
- Otter Tail Country
- Outing, MN
- Park Rapids, MN
- Whitefish, MN Area
View all Minnesota Fishing Destinations
Down South (Milwaukee – Madison on Down)
- Algoma, WI
- Birchwood, WI
- Boulder Junction, WI
- Butternut & Park Falls, WI
- Cable, WI
- Chequamegon Bay
- Chetek, WI
- Chippewa Falls, WI
- Conover, WI
- Crandon, WI
- Door County, WI
- Eagle River, WI
- Green Bay, WI
- Hayward, WI
- Iron River, WI
- Lac du Flambeau, WI
- Land o’ Lakes, WI
- Manitowish Waters, WI
- Mercer, WI (Turtle Flambeau Flowage)
- Minocqua, WI Area (Arbor Vitae & Hazelhurst)
- Phelps, WI
- Presque Isle, WI
- Rhinelander, WI
- Rusk County, WI
- Sayner, WI
- Spooner, WI
- St. Germain, WI
- Three Lakes, WI
- Tomahawk, WI