Minnesota’s muscle lung season starts in June, and if you’ve never tried catching this top predator, you should do it. These are two reasons to fish in Minnesota.
Minnesota has the best muskie fishing in the United States
First, there is no better musk fishing in America. Minnesota is your best bet for catching species of musk that measure 50 inches or more. Second, musk species can create an adrenaline rush like no other fish. Imagine a four-footed beating your bait as you prepare to lift it out of the water. This is a story that you will tell for the rest of your life.
There is great musk fishing all over the state. In fact, there are several excellent musk lakes in the highly urbanized Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The most important of these is the expansive Minnetonka Lake, which extends over an area of around 14,000 acres on the western edge of the subway area. White Bear and Bald Eagle Lakes are other popular urban musk destinations.
There are approximately 100 musk waters nationwide in Minnesota. This number corresponds to only 2 percent of the waters managed for fishing, but makes up 22 percent of the surface. Most of the lakes contain large musk species, although 11 lakes in the Twin Cities region contain the smaller tiger musk, a hybrid created by the fertilization of the eggs of a female musk by a male pike.
Minnesota offers many fishing spots
There are many options as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has expanded the ability to store sparse musk species in waters that are expected to function well but do no harm to other fish populations over the past 30 years or more. The larger and most popular musk lakes in this category include Mille Lacs (130,000 acres), Vermillion (39,277 acres), Bemidji (6,596 acres), Detroit (3,067 acres), and Alexander (2,709 acres). Popular natural musk lakes in northern Minnesota include Leech (102,948 acres), Winnibigoshish (56,470 acres), and Cass (15,958 acres). Species of musk are also found in the Mississippi, St. Croix, and St. Louis Rivers.
Although the musk season starts in early June, the best fishing heats up in the summer and fall. Hitting the water with a guide or an experienced musk angler is a smart way to go, as this type of fish usually involves specialized equipment – heavy rods, quick-access bait casting reels, a large net or cradle, and a large bucktail, jerkbait, or spinner a soft plastic bait with long, enticing stories.
Get your MN fishing license online before you go fishing. For information on musk season, see the 2018 MN fishing regulations.
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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 fisheries communications specialist for the Ministry of Natural Resources.