Fishing With Kids: 10 Best Fishing Holes in the Twin Cities

girl with fishing pole: "Family Fun Twin Cities Best Fishing Holes"

My husband’s favorite thing to do with or without the kids is fishing. He has helped me to put together this guide for you even if you have never gone fishing before. He offers some tips for beginners and some great lakes to try. He shares the best fishing lakes in twin cities.

We know that kids have short attention spans, so we list fishing spots that have other kid-friendly aspects. 

10 Best Fishing Holes in the Twin Cities

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If you have a well-loved and kid-friendly fishing spot you want to share, please let us know. We'll add your favorite recommendation and why you love it to this list.
Fishing for bass
Her first bass with Dad

Chris's 3 Favorite Local Fishing Holes in the Northern Metro

According to Chris, these lakes are fun to fish because they have many different types of fish and easily accessible boat launches. Taking kids out in a boat can make fishing more exciting for some kids. However, fishing from shore is allowed at these lakes, too. Some kids may have a better time staying on the dock because of where fish like to hide. Play around with this and use your best judgment of your own kids. 

 1. Lake Johanna 

Tony Schmidt Regional Park, 3500 Lake Johanna Blvd, Arden Hills, MN 55112

Why We Love It: Lake Johana clinches the number one spot. It is close to our house and we can catch a lot of fish in one morning or afternoon. Lake Johanna is where I caught my muskie. I, Gianna, who doesn’t like to fish, caught a muskie. Some people wait their whole lives to catch a muskie. Every fisherperson I know is very proud of the fact that I caught a muskie including Chris. 

Fish species: Walleye, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Hybrid Muskie, Bullhead species, Yellow Perch. Learn more at MN DNR.

Kid-Friendly: Bring your swimsuits if its a warm day, Lake Johanna has a great beach. It also has a good-sized playground and there is plenty of space to picnic. Learn more about Tony Schmidt Regional Park Here.

Boat launch: Access to this lake is in Tony Schmidt Park along County Road E-2.

Daddy's fishing buddy
Her first northern! How exciting

 2. Snail Lake 

4191 Snail Lake Blvd, Shoreview, MN 55126

Why We Love It: This is a fun lake to fish on when your wife is expecting a baby any moment.

Fish species: Walleye, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Bullhead species. Learn more at MN DNR.

Kid-Friendly: This is another family-friendly park with a beach, playground and picnic spaces. Snail Lake Regional Park Here.

Boat launch: Access to this lake is located on the south shore of the lake in Snail Lake Regional Park. Turn off Hodson Road (MN. 49) onto Snail Lake Road. Follow Snail Lake Road to Snail Lake Blvd., then turn left around the lake to the park.

fishing from the dock
One cool fisherman

 2. Centerville Lake 

Within the City of Centerville & Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve, Lino Lakes, MN 55014

Why We Love It: Centerville Lake is a a local favorite that’s worth the drive north.

Kid-Friendly: The beach on Centerville Lake isn’t too far from the boat launch.  Or go the other direction and find a singe-track bike trail.

Fish species: Walleye, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Crappie, Bullhead species, Yellow Perch. Learn more at MN DNR.

Boat launch: The boat launch is located within the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park Reserve operated by Anoka County. There is a $5/vehicle fee to enter the park, but not to use the boat launch.

Two kids fishing from a dock
Here fishy, fishy!

Recommended Fishing Holes in the South Metro

In 2015 Nicki from Minnemama Adventures had a guest post about going fishing with your kids. Here are a couple of the suggestions that were made. If you need more information about these lakes or other suggestions, check out Nicki’s article:

How to Fish With Kids.

4. Crystal Lake 

11 Crystal Lake Rd E, Burnsville, MN 55306

10 Ideas for Family Fun at Crystal Beach Park

5. Schulze Lake 

Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan, MN 55123

10 Ideas for Summer Family Fun at Lebanon Hills Regional Park

(courtesy of Minnemama Adventures)

Community Recommendations:

Fishing the East Metro

I found these fishing holes on the DNR website, which is full of great advice for new and experienced fishers. I chose these sites for amenities that parents would want. In particular, these fishing holes boast bathrooms and nearby playgrounds.

6. Tanners Lake

400 Glenbrook Ave N, Oakdale, MN 55128

Fish Species: Blue Gills, Catfish, and Largemouth Bass

Kid-Friendly: Bring a playground ball to this park, to take advantage of sports courts and fields. Tanners Lake Park also has a beach and a good-sized playground.

7. Colby Lake 

9715 Valley Creek Rd, Woodbury, MN 55125

Fish Species: Blue Gills and Catfish.

Family-Friendly Amenities: Colby Lake Park  boasts an accessible playground, picnic areas with nearby restrooms and portable toilets, and various sports fields and courts.

Community Recommendations:

Young girl with a sunfish on her line, fishing at Central Park in Roseville Minnesota
Fishing for Sunnies

Fishing Holes in the West (ish) Metro

Once again, I chose these fishing holes from the DNR website because they offer nearby bathrooms and playgrounds.

8. Wirth Lake 

3130 Glenwood Ave, Golden Valley, MN 55422

Fish Species: Blue Gills and  Largemouth Bass.

Family-Friendly AmenitiesTheodore Wirth Regional Park is packed full of family fun, including the Eloise Butler Flower Garden, a beach and playgrounds.

 9. Bryant Lake

Bryant Lake Regional Park Access Rd, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Fish Species: Blue Gills and Crappie.

Family-Friendly Amenities: Bryant Lake and Park is managed by Three Rivers Park District which does phenomenal work maintaining their parks and natural habitats. Reader Cody tells us that he takes visitors to this site because he can guarantee the crappie will bite.

Large Mouth Bass
Most handsome fisherman in the world

Places to Fish in the Greater Metro and Beyond

10. State Parks. 

This actually counts as #10-16, because Anne lists 6 metro-area State Parks here. Joy reminds us that most State Parks offer free fishing (no license required for Minnesota residents). They will even loan you the gear. This is a great option for newbies who aren’t ready to commit.

Earn a Junior Ranger Angler Badge with the National Park Service

Kids who want to learn more about the sport of angling can earn a Junior Ranger badge. Start by printing and completing the Let’s Go Fishing Activity Booklet.  Then print and make your own badge to add to your collection.

Fishing Spots from Our Parks Directory

New to fishing? Information & Tips for Beginners:

As part of their Fishing in the Neighborhood (“FiN”) program, the DNR has designated some fishing ponds to be “Kids Ponds”. These fishing spots offer great shore fishing for beginners and are located in family-friendly settings, such as parks. Get a “getting started” guide with all 60+ locations here.

Minnesota Fishing Seasons

While we think of Mother’s Day Weekend as the Fishing Opener, there are fishing seasons throughout the year in Minnesota. Find the complete list here.

Stay Legal

  1. Life Jackets–anyone under the age of 10 MUST wear a life jacket in a boat that is traveling across the water. The DNR suggests that any time a child is near water they are wearing a life jacket, but it’s not illegal to be in a boat tied to the dock without a life jacket.
  2. Fishing License–Anyone under 16 can fish without a license. A license for a 16-17 year old is only $5/year. However, if your kids want to do more than catch and release, collecting their own stockpile of fish, you need to purchase a family license. Get more information here or simply go to Gander Mountain or Fleet Farm where they can explain everything a little more clearly.
  3. Try It: Each June, Minnesota celebrates Take A Kid Fishing Weekend. Anyone can fish for free and without a license if they bring a kid along.

Beginner's Tips

  • Fishing poles — for under age 5, you can find little kiddy poles at Fleet Farm, for ages 5-10 look for junior-sized pole about 4 feet long.
  • Best time to fish — It is best to fish in the morning. There is less recreational traffic. Some lakes, like Lake Johanna, have wake restrictions before 7:00 a.m. Evening is the next best time, but there is less likely to be wake restrictions at this time.
  • Where to look for fish –“Fish like to hang out in the shaded areas in lakes.” You will most likely (but he won’t guarantee it) find good luck at the edge of lily pads, near trees in the water or on the shore and under docks.

18 thoughts on “Fishing With Kids: 10 Best Fishing Holes in the Twin Cities”

  1. Went to White Bear Lake to fish at dock with grandson. We made a pole of wood stick and hook. He caught a huge Northern, and guy next to him had good poles and really was shocked. Good day! Will never forget this😊

  2. Lake Johanna is NOT a good place to shore fish let alone should it be number 1. Only access is the public beach. The whole bottom is sand. Plus your photo showing what you caught, you are in a boat on the far end of the lake. Most of these places are terrible shore fishing spots. Smh.

    1. Long Lake near New Brighton MN is one of if not the best spots to shore fish near the twin cities.

      1. While I appreciate this thread, maybe you could constructively help out the community and list your top fishing holes and tell us why you feel its a great place to take KIDS fishing. Does it have a playground? Are your odds of catching a fish within the first half hour good? What makes a good kids fishing spot to you?

  3. I’ve caught a bunch of crappie down at Bryant Lake. Whenever I have visitors in town that’s where I take them fishing coz you are guaranteed a bite down there!

  4. Thank you for the great article! I will be taking my grandson who recently fell in love with fishing to each and every one of them. We are fishing buddies forever!

    1. What wonderful memories, Vicki! To this day, I think of my grandpa every time I fish. I’m so glad you have the opportunity to spend this time with your grandson!

  5. Askia A. Smith

    Thank you for making this article…This is literally exactly what I was looking for. This will be my first time fishing in the twin cities and I Googled, “best fishing spots in the twin cities, and this post popped up..AND it’s only from a month or so ago so the info is up to date… Perfect timing..Thanks for the help!

    1. Thank you for the tip Wendell! It’s always nice to hear from those who have fished a lake. Do you think it is a kid-friendly fishing hole?

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