Best Crappie Lakes in Minnesota

By Richard | Fishing Advice

best crappie lakes in minnesota
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When fishing for crappies, you can’t just solely rely on your angling or fishing skills but also your knowledge about crappies.

Different types of fish behave differently, which furthers our point that a proper understanding of this species of fish is essential.

One of the most important things you have to consider in crappie fishing is the location.

Crappies are wise in choosing where to lay their eggs and in looking for a place to feed, which means they go to certain lakes where both conditions are present, if not abundant.

Today, we’ll talk about the various places in the land of ten thousand lakes that are not at all crappy.

We will let you in on a secret and give you an overview of the best crappie lakes in Minnesota loaded with large crappies.

We'll also provide tips on how to spot the perfect lake to fish on, as well as tips for you a successful crappie fishing adventure!

Best Crappie Lakes in Minnesota

Catching crappies in small sizes is just another day for anyone who enjoys fishing because crappies are common in any part of the country, especially in Minnesota.

It goes without saying that filling your bucket with small crappies is just like filling it up with any other panfish.

However, if you know a thing or two about crappies, you’d probably also know that crappies can grow from just another regular panfish into a full-blown fourteen inches of victory.

These huge schools of fish are what anglers or those crappie-chasers call a slab.

It’s not unusual to catch crappies in Minnesota, but to catch regular-sized ones consistently is what it takes for a lake to be called a crappie lake.

That said, the best crappie lakes in Minnesota are the best gift we can provide you.

Be sure that you’re paying attention because the following selections will be your key to a productive day of fishing.

Where Can I Find Big Crappies in Minnesota?

Crappie fishing is still quite popular even on winter days, but when the ice goes out and the lakes are back to their natural states are the days when crappie fishing is at its finest.

We’re not talking about those cute little panfish species but huge ones that can fill your bucket.

If you’ve asked yourself the question, "Where can I find the big crappies in Minnesota?", you’re in for a treat!

Here are some of the best crappie lakes in the state.

1. South Lindstrom Chain

As soon as the ice is out, you can expect nothing less than the best from the lake of South Lindstrom Chain.

The bite ratio in this area is astounding because it starts at the first hint of spring and continues even up to early June.

Leech Lake, which you can find in this area, is quite famous for muskies and walleyes, but the crappies are also abundant, making it an excellent place for crappie fishing.

2. East-Central Minnesota

In East-Central Minnesota, the Goose Lake is perhaps the first one on the list when it comes to crappie fishing.

Aside from the fact that the crappie population in this lake is tremendously abundant, it is not as famous as the other lakes in the area.

Goose Lake gives you one of the best bite ratios while also making sure that you get to enjoy the place because of a significantly smaller crowd as compared to other lakes.

3. Bemidji Area

What makes the lakes in the Bemidji area fascinating is that it has rather small lakes but is actually the home of massive crappies.

There’s a good number of small lakes in Bemidji areas, and even without mentioning a single one, all you have to do is to drop your line in one of these lakes and let the catch speak for itself.

4. Annandale

Clearwater Lake is in the north of Annandale. If you’ve heard about this lake, you probably know that the fish name largemouth bass is tied along to it.

There’s just a lot of largemouth bass in this area that bass tournaments are held here annually.

You’re probably wondering why we keep on talking about bass fish. Well, Clearwater Lake is very popular among bass anglers that the ten-inch crappies in the area are often overlooked.

5. Brainerd Area

Brainerd Area is known for its big lakes, and it comes with promising results, as well.

However, these big lakes are often under a lot of fishing pressure that overcrowding is quite common.

Don’t worry because the Brainerd area has medium-sized lakes, and the bite ratio is just as good as the big lakes.

What Is the Best Lake for Crappie Fishing?

Simply talking about the different lakes in Minnesota that’s suitable for crappie fishing may not be enough.

Hence, we decided that to really help you be great at crappie fishing, you should be able to determine whether a lake is good for crappie fishing or not.

To find out what is the best lake for crappie fishing, here are some reminders.

1. Shallow Lakes

If you know when to fish for crappies, you also know why shallow lakes are on top of our list.

During spring, crappies head out to waters of around one to five feet deep to spawn.

As such, spring is the peak crappie fishing time of the year, where anglers head to shallow lakes to find crappies practically everywhere.

2. Southern Lakes

If you will go fishing for crappies during winter, your best option will be the southern lakes.

Crappies do not hibernate during winter. Instead, they head towards warmer lakes.

That makes the southern lakes the best option for crappie fishing during winter.

3. Lakes Near Vegetation

Crappies have a very diverse diet, and they eat just about anything. Their favorite snack is insects.

If you’re trying to look for a lake where crappies are abundant, your best bet would be those lakes with lots of vegetation around because this also means that insects would be abundant.

Where there’s food, there are crappies, as well.

best crappie lakes in minnesota

How Do You Catch Crappie in Minnesota?

One of the most common questions about crappie fishing is how do you catch crappie in Minnesota.

As the land of ten thousand lakes, the abundance of crappie fishes is already provided.

All that’s left is the skills of the angler to catch them. Well, here are some of the most common ways of catching crappie in Minnesota.

1. Minnow

Using minnows is one of the most common methods for catching crappie.

Since minnows are part of a crappie’s natural diet, using either live bait or a plastic minnow to lure crappies is a proven method in catching crappies.

2. Jigs

If you’re fishing for crappies during springtime, chances are these creatures, especially the males, are more aggressive than usual.

That’s because the male crappies guard the nests where the eggs were laid during the spawning period.

Using jigs that make your bait appear lively will provoke a reaction from the crappies and dramatically improve your bite ratio.

Can You Fish With Corn in Minnesota?

Many different states across the country banned fishing with corn, perhaps because most of the population believed corn can damage the fish's digestive tract.

Believe it or not, there’s actually no scientific evidence that supports this claim.

Despite that fact, it is still banned in many places. This begs the question, "Can you fish with corn in Minnesota?".

To answer this question, we have to understand something about the law first.

In Minnesota, there are no laws that prohibit the use of corn as bait, which means that there is assumed legality in doing so.

When it comes to using corn as a chum, though, it becomes illegal in Minnesota.

Although using chum will definitely attract lots of fish to your spot, strict regulations have been made around it because using large amounts of chum results in an unsightly litter that takes at least a month before it disappears.


Crappie fishing is arguably one of the most rewarding types of fishing out there.

That is because aside from all the usual benefits you get from fishing as a recreational activity, catching crappies is actually really fun, and you’d get to bring home a bucketload of the best-tasting freshwater fish!

In catching crappies, the most important thing you have to remember is always to scout for the location of the lake you’re going to.

Adequate knowledge about the behavior of crappies and the lake environment is the key to making sure that your fishing trip is productive.

Aside from conducting basic research on the different lakes where you may find chum, another thing you can do is to consult your local government about the restrictions when it comes to crappie fishing.

By following all the regulations surrounding the fishing of crappies and going to the best crappie lakes in Minnesota, we’re definite that crappie fishing will be one of your best fishing experiences ever.

What are you waiting for? Pack up your best freshwater rod and reel combo, plus other tools and start fishing!

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