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Best Minnesota Lakes for Largemouth Bass

by Maureen E. Johnson, featured columnist

Print out this article and put it in your tackle box. You won’t have to lie anymore. If you have a checkered fishing past, repent and launch your boat.


Eagle Lake (Carver County MN):

largemouth bass Minnesota lakesIt’s a well-kept secret that some of the largest fish ever caught by MN pro-anglers are caught at this 250-acre body of water near Norwood Young America, Minnesota. There is some heavy fishing here from the area locals, yet they’re using bobbers to snag walleyes in the deep areas. So the heavily vegetated areas are all yours! There is an abundance of curlyleafed pondweed, milfoil and bulrushes, on account of the lake’s maximum depth of 14 ft. Bear in mind that you’ll find the thickest milfoil at depths of 6 to 8 ft; this is where you’ll want to use a heavy jig tipped with a plastic craw going through it. Do this, and one of these hummers might be chomping on your bait before it hits the water. If you buy Minnesota Lakefront Property in Carver county, you will find out what I am talking about.

Spring Lake (Scott County MN):

This 580-acre lake just SW of Prior Lake is known for its multitudes of black crappie and walleye pike , but is surprisingly all but ignored by most bass anglers, keeping fishing pressure here low. The real fishing know-it-alls that do venture here know that the rockpiles here often produce many 6-pounders when a tight-wobbling crankbait it used; live-bait rigs and bobbers won’t reel ‘em in here. Another good strategy is to work the vegetation around the shoreline, as many beauties wander about the curlyleafed pondweed. To increase your odds in the vegetation, use the “Rat,” a floating lure, by jiggling it just on the water’s surface. You will get the best results when the water is calm, typically morning and evening.


Marion Lake (Otter Tail County MN):

You’re probably asking yourself why we’re listing this one, since Otter Tail is premier walleye pike country. But we think you can appreciate the effect that practically no conditioning from angling pressure will have on your luck here! The roughly 1700-acre lake located in north central MN just four miles southwest of Perham consists of two basins separated by a peninsula. Most of the walleye fishermen prefer the eastern basin, so take to the western basin instead, using spinnerbaits in the bulrush beds and cabbage patches. This lake’s fertile soil provides plenty of vegetation that makes for an excellent bronzeback spawning habitat.


Island Lake (Ramsey County MN):

If you live in the Twin Cities metro area, Shoreview is pretty darn close for choice bass fishing . In fact, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources found the electrofishing catch rate here to be 83 fish/hr, with 45 % of largemouths measuring over 12 in.es, and 15 percent over 16 in.es! This small lake is less than 60 acres, has a maximum depth of 11 ft, and is great for fishing sunfish as well. Don’t even fiddle with your boat engine; head straight for the channel near the bridge, and slow-roll a spinnerbait along the tops and edges of the milfoil. No boat? No problem! Just head for the pier and make long casts out to the deep hole using a jigworm. Drag the lure slowly across the bottom until you hit weeds. Then bring it in and cast it again.


Pierson Lake (Carver County MN):

Don’t know where to go? Try this one. This 230-acre lake by Victoria Minnesota is not only great for bass fishing (the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports that 1 out of every 4 largemouths here are greater than 16 in.es!), but is also home to an abundance of black crappie and bluegill, with some nicely-sized Pike to boot. But if it’s just bass you’re after, steer clear of the weedline, where you’ll find mostly pike and and muskies along the vegetation; you’ll find the most bass in the milfoil. Veteran anglers prefer targeting the west and east sides of the lake by tossing jigs. Because the lake is as deep as 40 ft in some places, you need to get yourself to the edge of the milfoil if you want to find them.


Steiger Lake (Carver County MN):

Also near Victoria Minnesota. and offering great variety is 158 acres of placid lake completely surrounded by Carver Park Reserve. Nice, huh? And, it’s not to far from the metro area. Since 1988, the lake has been strictly catch-and-release for bass, walleyes and pike, which could explain why 25 percent of its largemouths are larger than 16 in.e and why most of the northern pike surveyed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources measured 20-29 in.es. I don’t know how a fish would answer a survey, especially over the phone. Keep in mind that bass here are located in the milfoil along the shoreline, and that all you’ll need is a jig and a flipping rig. You should be able to get around the lake in a half-day’s time, and don’t be surprised if you snag half a dozen 4-pounders along the way! And if you’re hungry, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding zillions of sunnies and black crappie

Lake McMahon (Scott County MN):

Even if this lake is famous for catching sunnies with the kids, this lake is home to many largemouth bass over 6 pounds, a fact seemingly unbeknownst to many. It’s pretty close to the cities. And because of its 110-acre size and shallow depths (the maximum depth is 14 ft), fishing enthusiasts can comb through the whole lake in a matter of hours, thus increasing the odds of catching one of those bronzeback beauties! You should have pretty good luck with a topwater lure, especially near areas with vegetation during morning and evening hours. To keep the population going strong, we suggest the crappies and sunfish if you’re looking for a meal.

Information on largemouth bass (DNR)

While you are here, find out about the best lakes in Minnesota for smallmouth bass, walleye, panfish, northern pike, and muskies,

If you like fishing, I know you want to find a nice Minnesota lake home. This is a great time. Call me for expert help with finding MN lakeshore real estate. Seasonal or year round homes are availalbe. There are plenty of great buying opportunities in Northern Minnesota AND the Minneapolis Metro area!

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