When it comes to lakes, Minnesota has quite the reputation to live up to. Luckily, of the 10,000+ lakes that dot the state, quite a few provide quality fishing opportunities for anglers. Some of the best fishing lakes in the state, such as Rainy Lake, share some common characteristics. There are natural lake features that create ideal environments for fish to thrive in, and consequentially, fishermen to fish in. Some of these features might not be immediately obvious, even to the experienced outdoorsman. If you’re planning a fishing trip, it’s worth finding fishing spots with lots of potential before you hit the water.
Lakes with Aquatic Plant Life
Where there is plant life under water, there is usually aquatic life. When baitfish are hungry, they will sometimes look for insects to eat near lily pads. Wherever baitfish go, larger fish will follow, so as an angler it’s a good idea to follow the food chain. It’s not just lily pads that serve as a beacon for schools of fish below — layers of algae tend to attract similarly sized aquatic crowds. While you’re looking for patches of green in the water, keep an eye out for weed beds that provide shade and shelter for smaller fish. Every so often, larger species like walleye, northern, and muskies will swoop into the weeds for a meal, which could provide with your next big catch.
Waters with Submerged Structures
If a tree falls down in the water, and nobody is around to see it, does it make a splash? Maybe not immediately, but it surely does for fishermen and women who spot it later. That’s because submerged trees serve as a gathering spot for many species of fish. The limbs provide cover for baitfish to hide in, as well as insects to consume. When enough smaller fish gather around a sunken tree, larger varieties instinctively follow in their wakes. Fallen trees aren’t the only type of wood that attracts activity — docks are the perfect structures for fish to spend time around. The shade underneath is a great escape from sun exposure, so look for lakes where you don’t have to cast far to get in on the fishing action.
Lakes with Plentiful Plants on Their Shores
If there’s one thing that fish fear most (other than larger fish) it is being scooped out of the water by a menacing bird. One way fish avoid a cruel ending in the clouds is by searching for overhanging plant life by the shore of a lake. Branches provide cover that even the most eagle-eyed predators can’t see through, but anglers can slip their boat right under. Another factor that attracts fish to these locations are falling insects that make for a great snack around dusk and dawn. In the same way, bushes along the shoreline provide a wonderful home for fish, especially if there are a few feet of water below the overhanging limbs. If you’re looking for your next fishing spot, check out lakes that are surrounded by plant life.
Places with Diverse Depths
There are factors that you can’t see with the naked eyed that have an effect on the quality of fishing in a lake. One of the most important considerations is depth level throughout a lake. When a body of water has relatively uniform depth throughout, it is less likely to contain an abundance of fish. Conversely, if a lake has a large variety of underwater humps, flats, drop-offs, and rocky areas, there is also likely to be a wide variety of fish that inhabit the water. Diversity in lake depth adds balance to every link in the food chain — both small and large fish have places to gather, while intermingling on occasion. If you plan to fish from land, it’s best to look for a gradual change in depth near the shoreline. This type of topography eases fish to the shore, and closer to your bait.
Wherever you choose to fish, remember that the most important part of the experience is how much you enjoy yourself. That’s what makes Rainy Lake such an attractive option for fishing — it features all of the characteristics of a thriving home to many fish species in addition to other activities that add value to a trip up north. If you’re wondering how to get the most out of a Rainy Lake vacation, check out our activities page to see how you can turn your fishing trip into a full-blown adventure with help from our friendly team.