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. If you have a well-loved hole you want to share, please let us know. Leave a comment, send us an email, or tag us on social media. We’ll add your favorite recommendation and why you love it to this list.
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.
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10 Best Fishing Holes in the Twin Cities
Chris’s 3 Favorite Local Fishing Holes in the Northern Metro
1. Lake Johanna (within Tony Schmidt Regional Park, 3500 Lake Johanna Boulevard, Arden Hills) –– 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. Boat launch: Access to this lake is in Tony Schmidt Park along County Road E-2.
2. Snail Lake (4191 Snail Lake Boulevard, Shoreview/Vadnais Heights) — a fun lake to fish on when your wife is expecting a baby any moment. 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.
3. Centerville Lake (within the city of Centerville) — a local favorite that’s worth the drive north. 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.
According to Chris, these lakes are fun to fish because they have many different types of fish and easily accessible boat launches. Fishing from shore is allowed at these lakes, too. In fact, kids may have a better time staying on the dock because of where fish like to hide. See below for tips.
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.
(courtesy of Minnemama Adventures)
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.
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 | Minneapolis. Blue Gills and Largemouth Bass.
9. Bryant Lake | Eden Prairie. Blue Gills and Crappie. Bryant Lake is managed by Three Rivers Park District which does phenomenal work maintaining their parks and natural habitats.
Places to Fish in the Greater Metro and Beyond
10. State Parks. This is a bit of a cheat, because 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.
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. Download a “getting started” guide with all 60+ locations here.
- 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.
- Fishing License–Anyone under 16 can fish without a license. However, if your kids want to do more than catch and release, collecting their own stockpile of fish, you need to have purchases 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.
- 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.