Minnesota has lots of walleye and other delicious fish, but good things also come in smaller packages. Exhibit A: the yellow perch.
Culling the top perch fishing spots in the Land of 10,000 Lakes to a manageable list was challenging. But we’re confident the following lakes stand out above the rest.
From Leach Lake to the fabled Lake of the Woods, let’s break down the top spots one by one.
Leech Lake covers over 110,000 acres and is full of trophy-sized perch. It’s the perfect place to catch big numbers of quality perch.
Walker Bay on the lake’s west end is loaded with underwater structures and drop-offs. Target the deeper waters near the submerged points and humps.
Nearby Agency Bay is full of weed beds and varying depths. Agency is especially popular as an ice fishing spot.
Pine Point has plenty of weed beds and rocky structures and can lead to epic fishing. Additionally, moving into Traders Bay is known to lead to big perch, particularly during the early ice season and late winter.
Stony Point on the south side of Traders Bay is another point to target. It’s covered in rocky structure and drop-offs.
The city of Walker has most of the amenities you’ll need. Resorts surround the lake, and they all cater to anglers.
Mille Lacs Lake
Mille Lacs Lake offers a plethora of prime spots to reel in plenty of perch. Mille Lacs is known for its epic walleye and northern pike fishing, though perch also have a solid hold here.
The Isle Bay area off the shore of Isle (on the lake’s southeastern side) consists of varying depths and submerged structure throughout. Drop minnows or spoons once you find a school, and you should have fast action. Hit the edge of weed beds along the drop-offs.
Across the wide lake, Garrison Bay is known for its underwater structure and submerged rocks that make perfect hiding spots for perch. Target this area, especially during the spring and fall when perch are actively feeding. Hit it early in the morning or later in the evening.
Bergstrom Bay is another spot to try some jigging. Worms, minnows, or jigs tipped with perch eyes all produce.
Wahkon Bay, a few miles from Isle, is also a favorite among ice anglers, with its shallow waters and weed beds. Ice fishing is big in this area as catch numbers are high.
Isle and Garrison have most of what you’ll need for your trip. Several resorts and campgrounds dot the shoreline, so lodging is easy to come by. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park is on the southern shoreline.
Lake Winnibigoshish, situated in northern Minnesota, is among the best perch lakes in the state. Walleye fishing here is also excellent. You’ll most likely catch a few walleye while targeting perch.
Among the best spots is the Third River Flowage. This northwestern finger is known for its underwater structures, including submerged points and drop-offs. Fish the steps in 20 feet of water; you should find plenty of perch.
Nearby Stony Point holds big numbers of perch. Target the drop-offs and weed beds in this region, and you’re bound to have an epic day.
Another hotspot is the connected Sugar Lake, where underwater humps and channels provide prime feeding grounds for perch. Sizable catches are common in this area.
The area around Bena along the south side is a local favorite. The shallow waters and abundant weed beds make this a perfect spot for perch. The quantity and quality of fish are high here.
Resorts and campgrounds that cater to fishing surround the lake. Get a burger at the Gosh Dam Place for a tasty experience.
Big Stone Lake
Big Stone Lake offers fantastic perch fishing opportunities on the Minnesota/South Dakota border.
A long stretch from Mallard Point that extends to the south near Ortonville gets heavy pressure during the winter. It’s the most fished section, but catch rates justify the number of anglers. The underwater structures and depth variations in this section create an ideal habitat for perch, making it a hotspot that’s easily accessed.
Another notable location is along Hartford Beach State Park. The park’s shoreline and nearby structures serve as prime locations for perch to gather. It’s on the South Dakota side (across the lake from Foster, MN), so be sure to have the proper permits when fishing.
Try vertical jigging or using live bait. Spoons and small lures are always a good option here.
Several resorts in the area and Ortonville, MN, and Big Stone City, SD, have all the services you might need.
Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woods is as close to a perfect fishery as you can find. Perch, walleye, muskie, and northern pike share this massive lake that spills across the border with Canada.
Zippel Bay near the southern shore offers plenty of submerged structure and varying depths. The underwater structures and drop-offs provide ideal conditions for perch to thrive.
Long Point, Rocky Point, and Muskeg Bay offer plenty of submerged structure, and weed beds create a perfect habitat for perch.
The varying depths let you try different techniques, like vertical jigging and casting spoons. Worms and minnows work great on this lake.
In the winter months, the lake’s ice fishing opportunities are nothing short of epic. Areas like Knight and Bridges Islands, as well as Fourmile Bay, are known for offering excellent ice fishing.
Several smaller communities dot the shoreline of this massive lake. Each offers a unique experience and caters to anglers. You should be able to find anything you need, from lodging to bait shops.
Maintain your bearings if you’re only licensed to fish in Minnesota waters.
Gull Lake and the surrounding area near Brainerd, near the center of the state, have everything you and your family could be looking for. From excellent perch fishing to ziplines and an international raceway, there’s something here for everyone.
Wilson Bay on the southwest side provides a perfect blend of underwater structures and depths that perch thrive in, including weed beds and drop-offs.
Around the corner is Steamboat Bay, which holds a decent amount of underwater humps and sunken islands.
Next door, you’ll find Hole-in-the-Day Lake, a connected bay that is full of perfect perch habitat. It’s a popular area for ice fishing.
Brainerd and surrounding communities have everything you need for a great getaway. Whatever you forgot at home can easily be replaced here. Several resorts surround the lake and don’t forget the golf clubs.
Lake Minnetonka offers excellent perch fishing just west of Minneapolis. You’re bound to bring in a few walleye while targeting perch here. The lake is also full of them.
The deeper sections of Wayzata Bay are generally productive. The underwater structures and drop-offs provide ideal conditions for perch to congregate at this northeast end of the lake.
Another popular location is Carson’s Bay, south of Wayzata. Its varied underwater terrain and weed beds attract schools of perch. Target points, submerged rocks, and weed beds.
Big Island is full of productive perch fishing grounds. Rocky structures and submerged islands bring in epic catches of perch. Bucketfuls.
During winter, ice fishing enthusiasts head west to Cook’s Bay, which consistently produces quality perch catches. Drill your holes near drop-offs and submerged structures for the best results.
With its prime location, Lake Minnetonka has something for everyone. Lodging, conveniences, and epic fishing are all right there.
Cass Lake, located in northern Minnesota, is an excellent perch fishery west of Leech Lake and Lake Winnibigoshish. Head here if you’re looking for size over quantity. Catching trophy-sized perch while surrounded by stunning natural beauty is the perfect way to spend the day.
Test your skills in the Pike Bay area. Accessible through a channel off the main lake, Pike Bay is full of underwater structures and varying depths. It’s also an excellent spot for ice fishing, with plenty of accessible shorelines.
To the north, Allen’s Bay is another prime perch spot. Its submerged weed beds and rocky structures attract schools of perch throughout the year. Try targeting them with minnows or worms. Spoons also work well.
The deep holes around Star Island in the lake’s center provide excellent perch fishing grounds. Submerged islands, drop-offs, and rocky structure hold big numbers of perch.
The town of Cass Lake has all the conveniences you’ll need. Lodging, resorts, and camping are readily available.
Catch More Perch
New to perch fishing? Check out the simple but successful methods in our complete guide to yellow perch fishing.