What will you find at the end of you 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. Visit them online at: http://www.mndnr.gov/minnaqua.
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
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
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