Take a look below to see our featured smallmouth bass fishing destinations in Minnesota.
Crane Lake, MN
Crane Lake, MN is located in northern Minnesota near the Minnesota – Canada border. The pristine waters of Crane Lake, Sand Point Lake and Namakan Lake are located in Voyageurs National Park. This area is a wonderful vacation destination to get away from it all. The unspoiled waters, pristine wilderness and outstanding fishing attract thousands of visitors every year.
Detroit Lakes, MN
25 miles of Detroit Lakes, there is plenty of outdoor recreation for friends and family. The accommodations in Detroit Lakes give you plenty of options with many campgrounds, hotels and motels, resorts and more.
Make sure you bring your fishing rods. With all of the lakes, there are plenty of fishing opportunities for you. Walleye, northern pike and bass are the dominant species in most area lakes. Muskie, trout, perch, crappie and other panfish inhabit these waters as well.
Ely, Minnesota offers some of the finest outdoor adventures in the United States. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area provides some of the most spectacular fishing you’ll ever experience. The opportunities are endless in this region. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the largest wilderness preserve east of the Rocky Mountains. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy these waters. There are many canoe outfitters that can help you with all of the details of planning a trip into the Boundary Waters. You will also find numerous resorts along the lakes in the Ely area.
This area is known for its tremendous smallmouth bass, walleye and northern pike fisheries. Some lakes are better than others, but if you take this area as a whole, there are a lot of places where you can fish and do well for smallies, pike and walleye. Good numbers are possible and trophy fish too.
Grand Rapids, MN
Grand Rapids is a small town in Minnesota that is known for its outdoor recreation. The area lakes are popular among fishermen and boaters. Many anglers and families plan trips to the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area every year.
There are so many lakes to fish and a variety of different fish to catch. Most fishermen target walleye and northern pike, but you can also catch muskie, smallmouth bass, perch, rock bass and even largemouth bass. The types of fish depend on the lake you are fishing. There are fishing guides in the area to help you learn the area waters and have a more successful fishing trip.
Hackensack, Minnesota is located just south of Leech Lake. Whether you choose to fish Leech Lake or fish one of the many productive lakes in the Hackensack area, you will have plenty of options with all of the great fishing up here. There are plenty of nice lakes to get out and do some boating without the crowds that you will find in many of the popular tourist destinations in Minnesota. While this area may be away from the crowds, there are several fishing resorts in this area to accommodate you.
Some anglers stay on some of the lakes in the Hackensack area even though they may spend a day or 2 fishing on Leech Lake. The smaller lakes give anglers the ability to fish on windy days, while Leech Lake may be too rough for some boats when the wind picks up. Anglers target muskie, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and panfish in the area lakes.
Kabetogama Lake is part of Voyageurs National Park on the Minnesota, Ontario border. This lake has miles of pristine, undeveloped shorelines and 25,000 acres of water. It is a popular vacation destination for people who love the outdoors. There are many resorts waiting to accommodate you and most of them have boat rentals available at the resort.
Walleye, sauger, northern pike and perch are the primary species of fish in this lake, however, the smallmouth bass and crappie fishing can be pretty good here too. Walleye are the preferred target by most anglers. Good numbers of fish plus some very big fish are possible here. For pike, it’s one of the better big fish lakes in Minnesota. Perch are available in big numbers, so expect to catch them while fishing for walleye. Smallmouth bass and crappie are here too.
Lake Pepin is a 24,550 acre lake that is located on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin. This is a popular lake for fishing and boating. There are numerous public boat launches, fishing guide services, marinas and plenty of lodging options to accommodate you on your trip here.
Lake Pepin is a very good walleye and sauger fishery. Anglers can catch good numbers of walleye to go along with some big fish too. Pike are caught throughout the lake as well and there are some big pike here too. Fish in the 30 inch range are reported frequently on Lake Pepin.
Bass are under fished here due to the walleye, sauger and northern pike fishing. You can target largemouth bass and smallmouth bass and do fairly well here, but they are definitely a secondary species of fish here. Catfish are common throughout the lake, but they don’t get a lot of interest from most anglers who fish here.
Are you looking for a big lake with a variety of fish? Lake Vermilion is an excellent lake that has 40,000 acres of water, 365 islands and 1200 miles of shoreline. If that wasn’t enough, it stretches 40 miles across the heart of Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region. This lake is a great place for an outdoor getaway. There are plenty of resorts along the lake to take care of your accommodations.
Lake Vermilion is a good lake even though some anglers report the fishing can be tough here. It’s a big lake and there are plenty of fish here. Once you figure out the patterns, you should be able to catch smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, muskie and crappie if you choose to target them. Most anglers come here to fish for walleye and muskie, but the pike fishing and smallmouth bass can be very good as well. This is definitely a trophy fishing lake too as there are many big fish caught every here of smallmouth bass, pike, walleye and muskie.
Largemouth bass and crappie are secondary here. Good bass anglers can definitely have some success here, however, you have to put some work in and know where to target these fish. Perch fishing can be good when they are in the shallows in the spring, but they are much harder to find and catch once they go deeper.
Marcell, Minnesota is located in northern Minnesota in an area called the Edge of the Wilderness. This area has several resorts and some spectacular fishing on many different lakes. It’s a beautiful area and you won’t find the crowds in this area.
The area lakes can differ quite a bit as far as what the primary species of fish are in the Marcell, Minnesota area. However, if you look at this area as a whole, you can find some very good largemouth bass lakes up here. Northern pike are here as well. Walleye can be hit or miss, but there are enough good lakes up here for anglers to target them and catch enough for a fish fry on a regular basis. Smallmouth bass can be hit or miss on many of the lakes, but Big Turtle Lake makes up for the lakes that don’t have good smallmouth bass populations. This is a very good area for fishing.
You will find panfish in the area lakes and on some lakes the fishing can be very good for panfish. Each year can vary based on the lake and the most recent spawns for the panfishing to be good or just ok. Muskie are here in some of the lakes, but this isn’t considered muskie country by any means. You can find some fish and maybe even catch a fish or two on your trip and there may even be some good sized muskies caught up here, but they are definitely secondary compared to other species in the Marcell area.
Mille Lacs Lake
Mille Lacs Lake is Minnesota’s second-largest lake and it covers 132,000 surface acres. Mille Lacs is a great lake for outdoor recreation, but it has been known for its outstanding walleye fishery over the years. There was a walleye collapse and they are hoping to be coming out of that now, however, there are plenty of restrictions on the lake as far as keeping walleye throughout the seasons. This has been a huge debate on the lake. Fortunately, the smallmouth bass fishing is off the charts good right now which is helping make up for the walleye issues.
Mille Lacs Lake has been an awesome walleye lake historically. There have been some issues in recent years and there have been new regulations put in place to try to restore the walleye fishery to its better years. The smallmouth bass fishery has taken off recently with anglers reporting lots of bass being caught with some absolute huge bass here too. Smallmouth bass in the 4 to 6 pound range are possible on any given day and on some days, you may catch several fish in this range with lots of 2 to 3 pound fish too. Pike fishing is good for anglers who go out and target them and some big fish are here too.
This lake has a very diverse fishery. Some anglers do target muskie and largemouth bass, however, most anglers don’t come here for these fish. The panfish are a nice addition for anglers looking to catch some perch, crappie and bluegill.
Otter Tail Country, MN
Towns in Otter Tail Country – Fergus Falls, Pelican Rapids, Perham
Otter Tail Country is home to over 1,000 lakes and streams. This is a great area for enjoying the outdoors whether it be fishing, boating, hiking or just getting outside in this beautiful part of Minnesota.
The lakes in this region offer excellent fishing for a variety of fish such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskie and panfish. You have a lot of options and there are so many lakes here that you can usually find a place to get away from the crowds and catch some fish.
Park Rapids, MN
Park Rapids, Minnesota is just under 30 miles from Walker, Minnesota and the south part of Leech Lake. This area is a popular tourist destination with tons of lakes, numerous resorts and excellent fishing opportunities.
Anglers target muskie, northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and panfish in the area lakes. There are a lot of lakes in this area to fish and so many places to get away from the crowds and enjoying the fishing.
Rainy Lake is located along the border of Minnesota and Canada near International Falls. A large portion of the lake surrounds Voyageurs National Park. Rainy Lake is a popular vacation destination for people that enjoy the outdoors. There aren’t a ton of places to stay here, but there are just enough to service the people who come here for a vacation.
Rainy Lake has some excellent fishing opportunities for northern pike, walleye and smallmouth bass. All 3 species of fish are here in good numbers and trophy fish are available too.
Some anglers do target crappie and perch on Rainy Lake. Anglers usually catch some sauger mixed in while fishing for walleye. These fish are here, but don’t expect to consistently catch them unless you know how to target them. There have been some very nice reports of some unbelievable crappie fishing here, but you have to do your homework to score big here consistently for crappie.