Inland Lake and Stream Fishing
With over a thousand lakes, dozens of rivers and streams, and many of Minnesota’s state fish records, it’s no wonder Cook County has a trophy-size reputation as an angling destination.
Cook County Minnesota holds the state record for largest Chinook Salmon, Pink Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Lake Trout, Whitefish, and Walleye according to the Minnesota DNR.
The stream steelhead fishing begins around mid-April. For the hardy types, stream fishing also includes Kamloops rainbow trout from October to May. Our streams and inland lakes provide an ideal habitat for trout species including brown, brook, rainbow and Chinook salmon. Spring fishing finds the walleyes ready to feed after ice-out, and night fishing is especially successful. May and early June are also prime time for lake trout. Mid-June brings unrivaled bass fishing.
As summer warms the inland lake water, fishing for walleyes, panfish, and even whitefish adds to the season and the excitement.
Whether you prefer to cast from a peaceful shore, a canoe in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW, a charter boat, a cozy ice shack, or somewhere else, Cook County has fishing spots sure to satisfy you.
Finding the perfect lake. With around a thousand lakes to choose from, finding the perfect lake can take some time. However, with a little planning, you can probably find the lake of your dreams with one one else on it. Check out the LakeFinder app from the MN DNR. Download a copy of the Public Water Access Maps of EASTERN & WESTERN Cook County MN provided by Minnesota State Parks and Trails.
Our local experts can guide and supply you.
- What to expect: Inland lake fishing offers some of the most diverse fishing experiences. You’ll find a wide variety of fish and an endless list of lakes. Some guides will be in a traditional fishing boat while others offer the opportunity to paddle a canoe into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
- What to bring: Most guides will provide all the gear you’ll need but your camera and often include a freshly caught shore lunch. Check with your guide service on specifics. Bring lots of layers, shoes that can get wet, sunscreen, and plenty of bug spray.
- Type of fish: Walleye*, northern pike, smallmouth bass, lake trout, perch, brook trout, rainbow trout, bluegills. This is a list of the most common fish sought-after for guide services, other species do reside in the local waters. (note* the largest walleye in MN was caught on Saganaga Lake in 1979)
License type: Anyone age 16+ must have an MN Fishing License. License year begins March 1 and ends the last day of February (except where otherwise noted).
Interested in Lake Superior fishing? Check out the Visit Cook County page on charter fishing on Lake Superior.
The weekly, year-round MN Fishing Report has the latest on where the fish are biting. Just select the most recent issue and click “Northeast.”
Now go fish!