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The Fish of Leech Lake

The Fish of Leech Lake

What will you find at the end of your line?
Leech Lake offers fantastic fishing throughout the seasons, and as with most things in life – timing is everything. Read on to learn about Leech Lake’s most catchable fish: Muskie, Bass, Walleye, Northern PIke, Jumbo Perch and Crappies. Check out our Hot Tips section for tips on where to find them and how to hook’em! Leech Lake has a voluntary catch and release program.

Thank you to the Minnesota DNR MinnAqua Program Leader’s Guide, Fishing: Get in the Habitat! for the use of these fish images.


Leech Lake is also known for an excellent Walleye population – many ranging from between 18-21” and a majority estimated in the 10lb range. Summer is the best time to hook one of these trophies.


Early Season: Rock and gravel shoreline, South side of lake in 25-35 foot depths. Use small jigs and minnows with a quiet approach

Mid-Season: Sand/gravel points, weed beds, shoreline flats and rocky reefs. Use bottom bouncers, lindy rigs with leeches.

Late Season: Deep rock humps and bars. Backtroll with a slip sinker


Leech Lake is known as one of the top Muskie lakes in the Midwest, and many believe a monster or two lurk below the surface. In fact, in recent history a 52lb Muskie – 2nd largest ever caught in MN, was pulled from the lake. The angler released the fish for future Muskie fans to find.


Early Season: Shallow Bays – Headwater, Sucker or Steamboat Bays. Use Crank or Jerk Baits, reel slowly in/near weed beds

Mid-Season: Rocks/Gravel Reefs – Pelican Reef, Submarine Island, Use top water baits

Late Season: Deep weed edges/steep drop-offs

Northern Pike

If it’s the fierce fight of the Northern Pike you’re after you’ll find many in the 5-10lb range in the shallow weeded areas.


Early Season: Shallow Bays – Headwater, Sucker, Steamboat ,Boy, Brevik Narrows, Sheep Pasture, Stoney Point. Use Crank or Jerk Baits, reeled slowly in weed beds.

Mid-Season: Weed Edges – Steamboat Bay. Cast or troll spoons or crankbaits

Largemouth Bass

One of the most fun fish to catch, the Largemouth Bass, can be found in Leech Lake – ranging up to 5lbs or slightly larger. Once you get on these fish – you’re arms will be sore from all the fightin’ and reelin’. These big boys like the weeds too – so stay close to shore.


Early Season: Shallow, weedy bays – Steamboat, Boy, Leech River. Use ¼ ounce spinners or 4-6 inch plastic worms

Mid-Season: Rice beds. Use Weedless spoons

Late Season: When warm – look near rice beds and reeds. Use Weedless spoons


Taking the kids out for a fishing trip – you’ll want to find a group of crappies and watch their eyes light up. Perfect for bobber fishing – but fun for free casting as well. These guys also serve up well on a dinner plate – so if you’re looking for a fun and a great meal, Crappies have you covered.


Early Season: Shallow bays just after ice out, near weeds, reeds, docks and shoreline.


The kids will also find a variety of panfish to reel in in the shallow waters, especially by docks. In 1999 the state record Pumpkinseed was pulled from Leech, at 1lb 5.6oz.


Perch in the lake serve mostly as food for the Walleye and Pike – but every once and while one will grow to be considered “Jumbo” . Many of these Jumbo perch hang-out with the Walleye’s (maybe they subscribe to the “If you can’t be eaten by them join them” mentality)


Early Season: Rock and Gravel shoreline. Use small jigs and minnows, quiet approach

Mid-Season: Sand/gravel points, weed beds, shoreline flats and rock reefs. Bottom bouncers, lindy rigs – with leeches

Hot Tip: West end of Steamboat Bay

Late Season: Deep rock humps and bars. Try back trolling with at slip sinker.


The Cinderella’s ugly step sister of the freshwater world – these freshwater cod are often found with the Walleye in winter – and even with the right walleye bait most anglers will snag a few of these before they hook into a Walleye. They are a blast to catch in the winter and are so prominent in the lake – they’ve even created a festival for them.


Ice Fishing Season: More active at night, near rock reefs and humps. Use small jigs and minnows

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  • Kids liked the bikes and kayaks. Fishing boat rental was really convenient.

    - Stovans, TripAdvisor -

  • Patio with grill, fire pits and 50 feet from Leech Lake. Protected marina in and boat launch. Slips to rent. Pool, bar and restaurant. Play ground. This place has it all.

    - MidwestTravelBug, TripAdvisor -

    We had such an amazing weekend at Trappers Landing... We spent alot of our time in the spacious, comfortable living room with our fireplace going the entire time.

    - Jessica, TripAdvisor -

  • Three of us guys stayed in the big condo four nights and had guided ice house fishing three day. Was very affordable for blue collar boys,and we caught pike like crazy.

    - Chuck, TripAdvisor -