Life in and around Lake Nokomis.

I grew up in South Minneapolis. Most summer days would find me on my bike with a fishing pole and headed toward Lake Nokomis. I also had a coffee can full of live bait. Although waxworms work best for panfish, earthworms were free. My mother always threw her coffee ground into one corner of the garden, and the earthworms were attracted to that particular spot. I could dig around in there with a spoon and find all I needed for the day. I would use them to catch all of the bluegill sunfish I wanted, and if I used a very tiny hook, it would not be unusual to catch forty or fifty of them in one session. But I never brought any home.

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bluegill sunfish for lake nokomis pages
Bluegill Sunfish (aka “Sunny”)

Our next door neighbor was retired. He had nothing to do but fish all day long in Lake Nokomis. He always brought a stringer of black crappie to our door and gave them to us. My mother would say to herself, “Oh great- more fish to clean!” but she fried ’em up in Crisco and I can still remember that good smell.

We all caught our share of carp and bullhead as well.

lake nokomis lakeshore
Downtown Minneapolis skyline over Lake Nokomis.

Fast forward to 2007. People don’t go to the park to spread a blanket out on the grass and picnic like they used to. Instead, they go jogging while listening to iPods or their Bluetooth headsets. But the fishing is still good. It’s not unusual to see young guys walking along the shoreline with long fishing poles jerking crankbait.

Carp populations have been drastically reduced, and the DNR has been at work stocking Nokomis with walleye and muskie. In fact, a record-setting thirty two pound muskie was caught here in Nokomis. Muskie fishing is best in late summer and early fall, and you need large spoons or black bucktails thrown along the weed line to do the trick. If you want walleyes, hit the lake’s middle with black leeches, because that part of the lake is loaded with structure that walleye enjoy. If you want panfish, try fishing with waxworms on from the shore close to the Cedar Avenue Brige. Look for smallmouth in 15 ft of water or less, along the shorelines.

Nokomis is 204 acres, and is about 3.8 miles in circumfrence, a distance which many joggers and roller bladers find ideal. The maximum depth is 33 feet and water clarity is 5.8 ft, which is a heckuva better clarity than many suburban lakes. If you have a park permit, you can launch your boat and park your trailer in one of the 82 trailer spaces available. You cannot use a motor in this lake, but if you have an electric trolling motor, and keep your outboard motor tipped upward out of the water, you are perfectly legal. There is no motorized boating, and the park offers canoe rental and a fishing pier. There is a city owned concrete access ramp on the west side of the lake.

Homes with lake views of Nokomis, Minneapolis MN

With the public trails and parkway encircling Lake Nokomis, there are no Minnesota lakeshore properties here for sale. However, if you are decisive, you might have a chance to own one of the five properties currently available with lake views of Nokomis. That’s right- only five properties are available on the Minneapolis MLS, and I would not expect the list to get longer anytime soon. Turnover in this neighborhood is low. Most homes with views of Lake Nokomis were built in the 1930’s to 1950’s; the average asking price is $482,740 for an average size of 2,457 square feet. Ramblers and 1.5 story homes dominate this tiny niche of the Minneapolis real estate market. If you are interested in living here, please call your Minneapolis real estate agent as soon as possible for Nokomis Minneapolis homes at 612-296-0007.

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