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Best Lakes for Ice Fishing in and Around the Twin Cities

The northern state of Minnesota is widely known as the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’, and to those living in the large cities of Minneapolis or St. Paul, it can be hard to decide which lake is best for a weekend full of ice fishing. Although there are limitless lakes to fish from, there are a few specific waters that are favorited by both locals and tourists alike. Below you’ll find our list of the best lakes for ice fishing in and around the Twin Cities.

Lake Harriet

Located in southwest Minneapolis, Lake Harriet is a go-to spot for locals who love ice fishing. The lake is situated in a scenic area and is home to a variety of fish breeds that include crappies, bluegill, largemouth bass, and muskellunge (muskies). Walleye can be found in deeper water at dawn and dusk, and northern pike can be commonly caught one to four feet below the ice.

Lake Harriet is one of the most popular locations during the winter due to its abundance of fish and has many other family-friendly activities held throughout the year.

Lake Harriet has many different kinds of fish for you to catch on your next ice fishing trip.
Lake Harriet has many different kinds of fish for you to catch on your next ice fishing trip.

Lake Calhoun

If you travel a couple of blocks north of Lake Harriet, you’ll find the beautiful Lake Calhoun. This lake is among the most visited ice fishing locations during the winter and is loved for its diversity of fish. Some of the most common fish include walleye, northern pike, and crappies. Lake Calhoun is also surrounded by two city parks, making it a well-visited area throughout every season.

Cedar Lake

Cedar Lake is located northwest of Lake Calhoun and is the ideal place for a fisherman looking for solitude. It’s slightly smaller in volume than the other lakes and has fewer visitors throughout the year, making it a perfect location to go ice fishing in peace. It’s filled primarily with walleye and northern pike and has walking and running trails along the entire lake perimeter.

There's a good chance you'll catch a pike or to when you fish at Cedar Lake.
There’s a good chance you’ll catch a pike or two when you fish at Cedar Lake.

Lake of the Isles

Lake of the Isles is located right next to Cedar Lake, and a small waterway attached the two together. During the winter, you can walk out on the lake to two wooden land masses and ice fish from the middle of the lake. Walleye and northern pike are the most common fish found here, with other fish such as bluegill, muskie, and largemouth bass found as well.

Lake Nokomis

Located in the southeast area of Minneapolis is Lake Nokomis. Many fish species can found here, and the lake is best known for its abundance of walleye. Hockey fans love coming out to this lake, as many U.S. Pond Hockey Championships are held here and is a great location for a game of ice hockey that the whole family can enjoy as well.

Which MN Lakes Offer the Ultimate Camping Experience

The northern state of Minnesota is widely known for being the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” and boasts a large number of freshwater pools that blanket most of the state area. Along with dense forests and quiet parks that dot the landscape, Minnesota is the perfect spot for family camping. For some of the best waterside camping locations, here are a few of the choice lakes to check out when visiting Minnesota during the summer.

Fall Lake

The Fall Lake State Recreation Area is a 12,000-acre property that’s situated in the north-central region of Minnesota. Campers can find more than 300 RV campsites at the four access areas to choose from, and the lake offers five beautiful beaches for swimming, boating, and fishing activities. Additionally, the Beaver Dam area (which is close by) is ideal for mountain biking and hiking along forest trails.

The Fall Lake Campground lies east of Ely and has 64 campsites complete with electrical hookups. The site has many different amenities available, including a pet-friendly campground, hot showers, modern bathrooms, canoe rentals, and a camp store for purchasing firewood, ice, beverages, snacks, and other camping supplies.

Leech Lake

Leech Lake is located in the breathtaking Chippewa National Forest and is widely popular for boating and fishing. The lake features 316 miles of shoreline and includes 14 different lakes and waterways.

The Leech Lake Recreation Area campground is full of trees and wildlife and has more than 70 different sites with electrical and full hookups. The amenities here include modern bathrooms with hot/cold water, flushing toilets, showers, and clean drinking water. Campers have access to laundry facilities, dump stations, playgrounds, and picnic shelters. And with endless activities on-site from volleyball and basketball to shuffleboard and horseshoe pits, it’s a great spot for the whole family to enjoy.

With lush forests and plenty of water activities, camping at a Minnesota lake is a memorable experience.
With lush forests and plenty of water activities, camping at a Minnesota lake is a memorable experience.

Cross Lake

The 13,660-acre Cross Lake exists in the heart of Minnesota and has over 118 miles of picturesque shoreline. The Cross Lake Recreation Area is an excellent destination for boating, fishing, swimming, and other water-based sports and contains 122 campsites that accommodate primitive and RV campers. Amenities include two sandy beaches, boat ramps, boat beaching, dump stations, fishing docks, hot showers, modern bathrooms, playgrounds, a pay phone, and picnic shelters.

The campsite is also a mere 10 minutes away from a paved biking and hiking trail that leads to shopping opportunities. Venturing over to Crow Wing State Park also allows campers to experience the Chippewa Lookout, which overlooks the mighty Mississippi River.

East Bearskin Lake

East Bearskin Lake is close to the community of Grand Marais in the northeastern corner of Minnesota and is popular year-round for the many different recreational activities it hosts. The shallow bays around the lake regularly attract native wildlife and the forested landscape features numerous hiking and biking trails.

The East Bearskin Lake Campground accommodates primitive and RV campers with four loops of sites that are located along a peaceful lakeside peninsula. Within the camp lodge, campers have access to groceries, bait and fishing supplies, firewood, and boat or canoe rentals, and the campsite offers cabins that can sleep up to seven guests.