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Summer Fishing

Maybe a peaceful afternoon spent sitting on the bank of a river is what you have in mind. Take some stink bait and give catfish a try. Summer is the best time to go, and good choices include the Minnesota, Pomme de Terre, and the Yellow Medicine Rivers.

More adventurous anglers enjoy exploring fishing holes off the beaten path by using a canoe or small boat. Are bluegills your passion? Try Del Clark Lake near Canby, or Olive Lake north of Appleton. The weed lines and flooded timber areas are good places to look. Del Clark also boasts some pole-bending largemouth bass.

Ready to try something different? Sheepshead are plentiful in the area. They bite well all summer long, especially in the Minnesota River. (Hint: Keep fish 10”-12”, they are good to eat, especially when you use our freshwater fish recipe).

Fall Fishing

Fall fishing hot spots in the area often include Big Stone Lake for yellow perch and rivers for walleye, especially below rapids areas and dams. Fall is a great time to plan that combination fishing and hunting trip because substantial public hunting land exists in the area.

Winter Fishing

Ice fishing is a popular winter activity, with anglers seeking primarily walleye, crappie, northern pike and yellow perch. Lower Lac qui Parle Lake often produces some very nice catches of giant crappies. Walleye fishing is usually good on area lakes, especially during December.

 Area Fishing Lakes

Amateur or pro, everyone loves to come to the Upper Minnesota River Valley to fish for the mighty walleye. The official state fish is just one of the dozens of species found in well-stocked west central Minnesota waterways.

  • Big Stone Lake, on the border between Minnesota and South Dakota in Big Stone County, is well known for its walleye. It is the site of one major walleye contest – the MWC (Master Walleye Circuit) Tournament held May 20-21, 1999 based out of Lakeside Park in Ortonville. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department cooperatively stock Big Stone Lake with 6 million walleye fry every other year. The lake contains more than 30 other species of fish including northern pike, large-mouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, white crappie, bull head, channel catfish and perch. Anglers can choose from 12 public accesses on this 26-mile long lake, including a handicapped accessible pier at the public access in Ortonville. A Minnesota or South Dakota fishing license is necessary.
  • Lac qui Parle Lake, located south of Milan in the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Refuge, is stocked with three million walleye fry every third year. There are over 30 other fish species including bluegill, largemouth bass, rock bass, northern pike, yellow perch, black crappie, white crappie and white bass. Catfish are usually abundant at the handicapped accessible fishing pier on the southeastern side of the Hwy. 40 causeway. There are nine designated access sites along its 42 miles of shoreline.
  • Artichoke Lake is a good spot for crappies. Just 2.5 miles north of Hwy. 12 in Big Stone County across the Swift County border, this quiet little lake also provides excellent fishing for walleye, northern pike, perch, bullhead and bluegill. There are three public access sites on the 19 miles of shoreline. DNR officials expect it to be a good year for northern pike, which spawn in flooded grasslands
  • Del Clark Lake is a good trout lake. Also try for northern pike, bass and panfish. This small man-made lake is located in Stone Hill Park two miles from Canby. Take Hwy. 68 west of town, and turn at the high school onto Co. Rd. 30. Admission is $1 per car.
  • Oliver Lake just north of Appleton in Swift County is a good spot for black crappie. They may also be found on Long Tom Lake near Ortonville or Toqua Lake near Graceville. Located 4 miles north of Benson on Hwy. 29, Lake Hassel is a shallow body of water that is becoming a large waterfowl staging area. Over the years this lake has produced some outstanding northern and is a popular spot for those seeking peaceful surroundings.
  • Marsh Lake, in the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area, has crappie, walleye, northern pike and white bass. It runs parallel to Hwy. 7 west of Appleton. The best fishing places in the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge (just south of Ortonville on Hwys. 7 & 75) are along the banks of the reservoir or the refuge’s rivers, the Minnesota and the Yellowbank.
  • Camp Lake, located 15 miles northeast of Benson on Co. Ro. 33, is a small but popular lake for bass, perch and northern pike. Monson Lake, located 20 miles east of Benson off Hwy. 9 is within Monson Lake State Park. Fishing and boat access is available.
  • Monson Lake is known for crappies, bass, sunfish and perch. Fishing leaflets are available by calling (320) 273-2191.