At over 14,000 acres in size, Lake Minnetonka is the largest lake in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. It is a system of basins with a range of fertility, bottom types, and depths, and is the source of Minnehaha Creek. Minnetonka's size and location make it very popular for year-round recreation, so demands on its aquatic resources are varied and great.
This vast, interconnected system has a large, diverse fish community. A high-quality largemouth bass population draws multiple tournaments every year. Sunfish and crappies provide year-round fishing. A noteworthy muskie fishery has been established from stockings started in the late 1970s. Northern pike and walleye are predator-fish mainstays. Anglers face challenges related to heavy boat traffic and-- at popular times for water recreation-- over-crowded public accesses (boat ramps). Several unwanted exotic species are established. Be sure to take the proper measures so undesired organisms aren't spread to or from Lake Minnetonka; it's the law.
MN DNR Fisheries began monitoring Lake Minnetonka fish populations since 1949. From 1997-2012, we made annual gillnet surveys to better examine changes in walleye, northern pike, and yellow perch populations. (Present sampling is scheduled for every other [even-numbered] year.) Management includes plans for muskie and walleye stockings every other year-- walleye in even-numbered years, muskie in odd-numbered years, with adjustments in cases when the scheduled numbers and ages are not available when scheduled.
Bowfishing for rough fish is allowed under certain conditions and in certain locations. An agreement among jurisdictions resulted in lake-wide rules coordinated through the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District; a summary is found in their Rules and Regulations .
Abundance Trend Graph of Northern Pike and Walleye From DNR Surveys
Lk Minnetonka Northern Pike & Walleye Gillnet Catches 1977-2016
Recent Non-Survey Summaries
Bass Fishing Tournaments-- Catch Data Summaries Includes 2016 Results
Bass sizes from Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Nation angler reports : Data Summaries 2003-16 Explanation/Detail of Bass-Size Study (second file has results from 2003-13; Minnetonka graphs on pages 9 & 11 there)
Angler ("Creel") Survey Results
Lake Minnetonka Angler Survey Summary 1995-96
Most Recent Lake Minnetonka Stockings:
Fall 2016: 163,615 walleye fingerlings (6,080 lb)-- 98% from private-source contract, 2% from DNR pond harvests. An additional 32,000 walleye fingerlings were stocked in the north and west basins by permit to Westonka Walleye Program.
Fall 2015: 3,672 muskellunge fingerlings; 12,964 walleye yearlings (1,852 lb) by permit to Westonka Walleye Program.
Next Scheduled Lake Minnetonka Stocking:
2,925 muskellunge fingerlings in fall 2017
Minnetonka Tested For VHS Virus
Since 2008, gamefishes have been tested to detect presence of the virus causing viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS). Minnetonka sampling is part of ongoing statewide surveillance to track possible VHS outbreaks and impacts. Lake Minnetonka will continued to be monitored for this virus. As of the most recent test (May 2017), VHS had not been detected.