Bass: A leap of faith
Whether you're out to hook bass from the end of a dock or a tournament angler looking for a new challenge, bass are abundant in Minnesota. You'll find surprisingly nice-sized fish that compare favorably to states farther south in just about any area of Minnesota – both in big lakes and small, out-of-the-way haunts.
From canoeing in remote Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to power-boating across our north central lakes to finding the right eddies and pools in a number of rivers, Minnesota makes it easy to find a great day of bass fishing.
Where to fish
Bass anglers are at home in Minnesota, where fishing is bigger than Paul Bunyan. Big or small, popular or off-the-radar, there's no need to choose just one. You'll find excellent bass fishing north, south, east and west.
More than 2,000 Minnesota lakes support self-sustaining largemouth bass populations. More than 500 support smallmouth bass. And don't forget rivers like the Mississippi, St. Croix, Red Lake, Zumbro and Cloquet.
Spring and fall are good times to fish the shallows for bass, while deeper water is better during summer heat. Weedlines and structure such as logs, tree branches dipping into the water and boulders are excellent spots to try.
What to pack
In Minnesota, the fishing's always on, but be prepared for any type of weather, from heat to snow depending on the season.
Many anglers find that using strong rods with heavy line helps to quickly reel in bass that might otherwise get tangled in aquatic plants.
As for bait, live and artificial both work. Next to panfish, bass can be the next easiest fish to catch, but catching them consistently takes skill and knowledge.
Bass are a great sportfish. They can be good eating but many anglers are out there to relax and enjoy nature, for a sense of accomplishment, and to share the good times with others.
When can I fish?
Anglers can fish for smallmouth and largemouth bass starting each year on same day as the walleye and northern pike fishing opener. On that day, an early bass harvest season opens north and east of U.S. Highway 53 from Duluth to International Falls (red area), and in the rest of the state (green area) there is a catch-and-release bass season that runs from the regular harvest season until late May.
In the fall, smallmouth bass fishing is catch-and-release only in most of the state (green area). For more details on seasons and special regulations for individual waters, see Fish Minnesota.
The expandable map on the right shows all the lakes where bass have been found during fish population surveys. Select a lake below for details.
Before you head out
Check here first for answers to your fishing regulation questions.
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Search for lake specific information including regulations, fish species, stocking reports, lake maps.