When Minnesota’s bass fishing season kicks off in May, get out and enjoy.
Trout and black bass are easier to catch in spring and early summer when they spend more time in shallow water. Later, when water temperatures rise, the bass moves into a deeper structure in search of sunken points, rocky humps, and weed lines that provide both prey and shelter. So why wait Now is the time to take action.
Minnesota’s catch-and-release season opened in May. You can start fish farming nationwide from the end of May. The bass season doesn’t end until February next year. For information on limits and special regulations, see the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’s Fisheries Regulations.
Minnesota’s reputation as a pre-eminent bass fishing nation is growing significantly. This is due in part to the world-class black bass fishing at Mille Lacs Lake. Although local and regional anglers have long known about the lake’s great fishing, it became national knowledge in 2016 and 2017 when Mille Lacs hosted the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year championships. Put simply, the abundance of large black bass blew the pros. In fact, the fishing was so phenomenal in 2016 – the three-day win limit was £ 76 – that Bassmaster ranked Mille Lacs number one on its list of 100 best bass lakes the following year.
Though Mille Lacs has been in the spotlight, the broader story is that Minnesota has approximately 2,000 largemouth bass lakes, 500 black bass lakes, and tens of thousands of kilometers of natural creeks and rivers with bass. That’s a lot of water, and it’s a lot of water that isn’t as hard-fished for bass as the waters of the southern state because so many anglers in Minnesota prefer zander.
Never fished bass in Minnesota? Here are two thoughts.
Think small: there are many great bass fishing opportunities in lakes less than 1,000 acres in size. So don’t overlook these smaller options, especially if they’re in remote areas and have lots of shallow water. You will find helpful information in the DNR’s Lakefinder.
But if you like it big: Popular destinations include Lake Minnetonka in the twin cities and these regional destinations: the Mississippi in the southeast, Green Lake in the south center, the Alexandria chain of lakes in the south center, and the Gull Lake chain of lakes in the north center, and Lakes Rainy and Vermillion in the far north.
For information on limits and special regulations, see the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’s Fisheries Regulations. Enjoy!
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CB Bylander is a longtime Minnesota angler with extensive angling experience throughout the state. He is a former field editor for outdoor magazines, outdoor editor for daily newspapers, and communications specialist for the Ministry of Natural Resources.