Minnesota fishing by kayak or canoe

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Minnesota fishing by kayak or canoe

With the fall color season approaching, now is the time to plan a canoe or kayak fishing trip in Minnesota.

This time of year – when insects and scorching heat are behind us – is ideal for exploring new waters amid fiery maples, golden aspens, and the flapping of the ducks and geese that wander above us.

A short paddle, a day trip or an overnight stay are easy to do thanks to Minnesota’s “waterway” system. These trails – stretches of more than 30 different rivers – have been recorded on maps showing the locations of launch sites, campsites, private campsites, and more. As a result, you can choose the length and type of paddle you want. These maps are available from most DNR offices or can be downloaded from the agency’s website.

Waterways exist throughout the state and include the St. Croix River to the east, the Red River to the north to the west, the Root to the southeast, and the Vermillion, St. Louis, Big Fork, and Mississippi to the north. The names and locations of the canoe and kayak outfitters can be found on the DNR website.

Those looking to fish in the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul area will find a helpful list of six popular day trips on the DNR website. These include paddling on the Cannon, St. Croix, Crow, and Rum Rivers, as well as two options on the Mississippi. Three night stays are also listed for the St Croix, Root and Zumbro Rivers.

Never fished a river with a canoe or kayak?

Here is some basic advice.

  1. Focus on “fishy” spots: Fish have little interest in fighting strong currents or being in open areas where they are not protected from predators. So, throw less into fast-flowing open water than into areas where fish congregate – sunken trees, root balls along the coast, under piles of rocks, or downstream from islands.
  2. Thrown into eddies upstream: Fish also accumulate in areas of calm water, especially near the seams of a eddy where water flows both upstream and downstream. Fish in vertebrae are usually oriented upstream and monitor the feed flowing downstream. So, throw upstream and get your bait through these ambush areas.
  3. Try a variety of baits: common baits include crank baits, soft plastics, and devices loaded with a minnow or night creeper. The latter have a weight of a quarter to an eighth of an ounce, depending on the current.

Use our interactive map to find more fishing and boating locations in Minnesota.