Minnesota's fishing opener weekend has arrived and thousands of anglers will be heading out first thing Saturday morning hoping not to come home with a "one that got away" story.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, reports from across Minnesota are encouraging and anglers have a lot to look forward to this season. This is due to several factors, especially this year's early ice out.

Brad Parsons, DNR fisheries section manager, says that fisheries lake surveys have shown good year classes of walleye in many lakes, but he reminds anglers that the state has all kinds of other fish out there too.  So if the walleye aren't playing nice, there are plenty of other fish to fry.

Minnesota Regional Fishing Outlook For 2024

Before checking in on a region, the Minnesota DNR reminds all anglers of the following things that will come in handy and help everyone have a safe and successful season:

  • Check the DNR fishing webpageThe DNR has a fishing page to help answer angler questions. The page links to LakeFinder, which provides maps, special regulation information for individual lakes, and other detailed information on lakes
    throughout the state, and the StreamFinder tool that provides a description, species list, regulations, and access information for trout streams throughout Minnesota. The fishing page includes the online versions of the Minnesota fishing regulations booklet in multiple languages. The regulations booklet is available in print anywhere DNR licenses are sold.
  • Clean In Clean Out. Anglers and boaters need to remember Clean In Clean Out when boating or fishing in Minnesota. Protect waters by following state aquatic invasive species laws. Clean, drain, dispose, and keep all plugs out while transporting boats. Find information on aquatic invasive species on the DNR website.
  • Fish consumption guidance. Anglers can find fish consumption guidance on the Minnesota Department of Health website, including both site-specific and statewide guidance on eating fish. Anglers should check for site-specific advice about the water they’re fishing. If eating fish from a variety of waters or specific water isn’t listed, anglers should follow the statewide guidelines.
  • Safety must be the priority around cold water. Cold water is dangerous and unexpected falls can quickly turn tragic. About 30% of fatal boating accidents each year happen during the cold-water period, and many involve victims who weren’t
    wearing a life jacket. The most effective way to survive a fall into cold water is to wear a life jacket that is securely buckled or zipped. Get complete information about staying safe on and around cold water at the DNR cold water safety page.

Minnesota Northeast Region Fishing Outlook

Click the button below to get a thorough outlook for areas in the northwest region.

This area includes Duluth, Lake Superior, Tower, Grand Rapids, Aitkin, International Falls, Brainerd, Finland, and Grand Marais.

Minnesota Northwest Region Fishing Outlook

Below is the outlook by area for large lakes in the northwest. This includes the areas of Baudette, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Glenwood, Park Rapids, and Walker.

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You'll also see the outlook for large lakes in the area, including Lake Of The Woods, Cass Lake, Upper Red Lake, and Leech Lake.

Minnesota Central Region Fishing Outlook

The 2024 Governor’s Fishing Opener will be held in Lake City on Lake Pepin and Pool 4 of the Mississippi River, and this vast outlook features the Lake City area and other Mississippi River pools.

In the East Metro, you'll see the outlooks for Forest Lake Bald Eagle Lake, smaller lakes in the region, and East Metro rivers.

As for the West Metro, above you'll find outlooks for Lake Waconia, Lake Nokomis, and Lake Minnetonka. In the St. Cloud area, see what's expected for Pearl Lake, the Sauk River Chain of Lakes, Two Rivers Lake, Clearwater Lake, and Sugar Lake.

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You'll also see the outlook for Hinckely, Little Falls, Mille Lacs Lake, and the SE Minnesota trout streams.

Minnesota Southern Region Outlook

Southern Minnesota lakes are often overlooked as a destination for great fishing in the spring, according to the DNR.

The following list of waters represents some of the DNR's “top-12” walleye fishing prospects for the spring of 2024:

  • Lake Hanska (Brown County) – a long and narrow lake that has been a walleye destination.
  •  Big Swan Lake (Meeker County) – a great walleye resource in the Hutchinson area.
  • Minnesota River (from Granite Falls to Mankato) – great walleye fishing some up to 28 inches.
  • Traverse Lake (Traverse County) – a walleye factory for all sizes.
    • Wakanda Lake (Kandiyohi County) – a shallow lake providing good walleye action each spring.
  • Long Lake near Willmar (Kandiyohi County) – shallow lake, a high walleye population of all sizes.
  • Koronis Lake (Stearns County) – one of the most popular Spicer area lakes with quality walleye.
  • Fox Lake (Rice County) – boasts high numbers of walleye for this lake between 15-19 inches.
  • Lake Benton (Lincoln County) – big water, very high numbers of walleye 18 inches and larger.
  • Kansas Lake (Watonwan County) – shallow lake and abundant walleye, most over 15 inches.
  • Round Lake (Jackson County) – The ever-popular opener lake that kicks out many walleye.
  • Flaherty Lake (Jackson County) – this is the walleye sleeper pick of 2024 in southwest Minnesota.

The button above will provide the outlooks for Hutchinson Area Fisheries, including Brown, McLeod, Meeker, Nicollet, Redwood, Renville, and Sibley counties. You'll also find the outlooks for the Mississippi River and the Ortonville, Spicer, Waterville, and Windom areas.

RELATED: 11 Timely Minnesota Fishing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

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