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Fishing Information for the BWCA and Quetico

Even if you've never wet a line, the Boundary Waters can thrill you.  The kids especially love the tug of their first fish and we old timers love that just as much.  Each wilderness lake you visit will have bass, northern pike and walleye.  In some deep cold lakes live lake trout.  You don't need to be an expert here.  Troll a Rapala wherever you go and you, too, can catch enough fish to make a shore lunch or dinner at camp.  We also practice catch and release so that future generations can enjoy the incredible fishing that the Boundary Waters and Quetico have to offer.

Boundary Waters Season - 2024

Smallmouth Bass: May 11, 2024 – February 23, 2025
Walleye: May 11, 2024 – February 23, 2025
Northern Pike: May 11, 2024 – February 23, 2025
Lake Trout: SUMMER DATES  May 11, 2024 - September 30, 2024*
Crappie, Sunfish, Rock Bass, Bluegill: Continuous

* Border lakes between Canada/Minnesota might have some different dates.  Check the MN DNR site for info.

Please go to the Minnesota DNR website for more details about the fishing season and regulations.
Please use environmentally friendly LOON Friendly non-lead jigs and sinkers.
Use biodegradable Berkley Gulp when possible.

Easy tips for the BWCA: Recommended line strength is 6-10 lbs.
Jigs: 1/8oz green or white in the spring, chartreuse and pink in the summer
Live bait: minnows in spring and fall, leeches in spring-mid summer, worms in late summer.
Use a leader for Pike!

Quetico Season - 2024

Smallmouth Bass: Open all year
Walleye: January 1 – April 14 and the 3rd Saturday in May to December 31, 2024
Northern Pike: Open all year
Lake Trout: January 1 – September 30, 2024

Please use environmentally friendly no-lead jigs when jigging.
No Live Bait in Quetico, Only Barbless Hooks in Quetico.

Fishing Licenses are no longer available at the Ranger Stations. Licenses can now be obtained online ahead of your adventure at  Quetico Licensing Help Line 1-800-387-7011


State record – 17 lbs, 8 oz on Seagull River in Cook County

Early spring spawn
Moving water, shallow bars and reefs
They like hard bottoms
Mid-summer -- flats, points, reefs, islands to deep water
August – toughest time
September -- can be tough, check reefs
Do not use a leader for best results, keep your bait presented as natural as possible. Be responsive to subtle vibrations of your rod or line across your finger.

Suggested lures:
Spring – crankbaits
Summer – jigs (1/8th oz) and rigs
Mid-late summer – trolling jigs and spinners deep

Smallmouth Bass (AKA Bronzeback)

State record – 8 lbs on West Battle Lake in Otter Tail County

Spawn in June – they are in the shallows, incredible action
Mid-summer – reefs and points near deeper water, structure
September – start going deep, harder to catch

Suggested lures:
Tiny torpedos, poppers, Mepps spinners, crank baits, Berkley Gulp and jigs

Northern Pike (Water Wolves)

State record – 45 lbs, 12 oz on Basswood Lake in Cook County

Early spring spawn
September and October – “Pike Fest” as they are hungry
Love weed beds, fish the edges/parallel to them
September – shallow feeders
Use a leader

Suggested lures:
Large poppers, torpedos, spinners (red/orange/nickel), Dardevle, large crankbaits

Lake Trout

State record – 43 lbs, 8 oz on Lake Superior in Cook County

Shallow in early -- mid May
Fall spawn – late September
Like rocks and rubble that drop quickly
Shallow to deep (can be very deep) back to shallow in fall

Suggested lures:
When in the shallows use crank baits. Troll during the summer with deep running crankbaits (orange, blue, chrome, chartreuse), spoons, bucktail jigs

Crappie, Bluegill, Sunfish

Slip bobber fishing is the best and most fun.

Small hooks with crappie minnows and a split shot up about a foot and a half or tiny "flu flu" tied jigs with small hooks. Find the school of paper mouths and you'll have a tasty meal. Great fun for kids. Size doesn't gauge the fun here. Try 2 feet deep along the weed beds in the heat of summer when the sun is falling down to touch the tips of the treeline. Look for fallen trees and other structure. They like to hide there. If it is a hot day, remember "sunnies" or sunfish aren't like walleye, they can still be found when "ole big eyes" heads for the shadows of the deep.