Your Best Spring Fishing in Minnesota

There's never been a better time for spring fishing in Minnesota, so grab your favorite rod and reel and hit the water! Here are the places you won't want to miss.


Black Crappies

Amber Lake

Early in the month you'll probably be fishing on the ice on this Martin County lake. Amber is the first and deepest lake in the Fairmont Chain comprised of this water body, Hall, Budd, Sisseton and George lakes. All are natural impoundments of Center Creek in the Blue Earth River Watershed.

Amber has had great crappie production in late years, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' fisheries sampling proves that out. This  should be another good year, with good-sized fish too.

Part of the beauty (and unknown) of fishing southern Minnesota in March is that you never quite know when you'll be fishing on hard water or the real thing. Most years, there's a decent chance that, by the end of the month, you can be fishing open water. Either way, hungry crappies should keep you busy.

Fish should be running consistently in the 8- to 10-inch range in this fertile lake, with bigger ones a possibility.


Yellow Perch

Lake Winnibigoshish

Here's another ice or open-water play for you, depending on what the climate conditions offer up this late winter and early spring. No matter, as Winnibigoshish perch are going to be staging for their annual spawning run back into weedy bays. The fish start gathering at the lips of these bays in late March under the ice, and they steadily move back as the ice fades.

Keep it simple. Fish with a short ice rod or even just a jigging stick in 6 to 8 feet of water. Bait up with a small minnow, live or dead, and don't be afraid to use just a half-minnow when you start. The fish won't care!



Big Stone Lake

Tired of fighting opening-day crowds on the big, famous walleye lakes in central and northern Minnesota?

One of the best solutions is to head west to Big Stone Lake in Big Stone County, right on the South Dakota border. Quite simply, the shallower and more fertile water there warms quicker and has the fish feeding harder. Plus, the border-water season opens in mid-April so the crowds are absent. They probably go to central or northern Minnesota!

Big Stone is a narrow lake, measuring 27 miles long and up to one mile wide, with a surface area of 12,610 acres. That figure may seem daunting, but the maximum depth of 16 feet makes it easier to handle.

Big Stone provides a high-quality walleye fishery. The walleye population has been maintained by natural reproduction and by supplemental stocking of fry. Every year seems to produce a good class of walleyes joining the mix, and so nice-sized fish keep coming. The prime 16- to 19-inch keepers are quite abundant.

Fish like you would any other allow prairie lake: Drift with spinner rigs baited with nightcrawlers or shiners, or troll crankbaits along breaklines.

Don't forget to share your best fishing photos with us on Camera Corner for your chance to win free gear!

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

Trout & Salmon

How to Catch the Biggest Trout in the Stream

David Paul Williams

Several factors need to be evaluated before reaching a conclusion about what fly, lure or...

Fishing How-To

Why You'll Lose Your Next Big Bass

Larry Larsen

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it.


MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

Costa and Captains for Clean Water

With the company's heavy involvement in initiatives like Kick the Plastic and Captains for Clean Water campaigns, Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead all about the sunglass maker's unwavering commitment to help the freshwater and saltwater environment.

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these five great...


7 Best Bets For New Jersey Largemouth Bass

October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll...

Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

See More Stories

More Walleye


Match the Hatch For Fall Walleyes

Dan Armitage - August 15, 2018

Go big and go fast to catch fall walleyes that are targeting the largest baitfish of the...


How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

Conservation & Politics

Michigan: Dozens of Walleye Confiscated After Anonymous Tip

G&F Staff

When asked how many walleye they had in the vehicle, the driver said, "Too many.”

See More Walleye

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.