Where to Go Ice Fishing Near St. Paul, Minnesota


Minnesota is a classic place for ice fishing. With its many bodies of water and cold winters, there is plenty of places to ice fish, especially in St. Paul. These are my choice places that I would pick for the area.

  • Lake Phalen
  • Lake Nokomis
  • Fort Snelling State Park
  • Lake Harriet
  • Fish Lake Regional Park
  • Gull Lake
  • Mille Lacs Lake

There are a large amount of lakes near St. Paul to choose from. Like a lot. Pretty much everywhere is a lake. I think these are the best ones to ice fish. You might even find friends in the more popular areas.

Lake Phalen

Types of Fish: northern pike, walleye, tiger muskies, largemouth bass, crappies, sunfish

Camping Spots Nearby: Lake Elmo Country Park Preserve

Lake Phalen and a couple of other places are near to town. Lake Phalen has tons of different fish to catch giving you plenty of variety and experience. This one is not so busy that you can’t fish. Most anglers are bigger fans of places up north.

A Word of Caution: The north end of the lake does not freeze well for whatever reason. I suggest not going over that way.

If you are newer to this sport, this is a great place to be at. You can’t bring your car onto this lake. I believe most urban places have the same rule. The reason why is because this lake is a sizable amount of St. Paul’s water supply.

I do think that you will be okay with a gas auger if that is what you use. I have never heard of a place saying you can’t.

What is enjoyable about this place: The variety of fish. You have plenty to chose from and will probably get a lot of mileage and adventures out of it. You can catch some pretty big fish here.

What is not enjoyable about this place: The possible crowd. You are not sure if it is going to be there or not. If you are a more advanced angler, maybe this is not the spot for you.

Lake Nokomis

Types of Fish: walleye, panfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, musky, smallmouth bass

Lake Nokomis is a great place to go ice fishing! Plenty of people go there so you might find some holes already there. Lake Nokomis during the winter is used for lots of pond hockey too. Maybe catch a game and then go fishing?

This is another place that does not allow cars to be on the ice. Gas Augers are okay once again. Keep everything you have near you. People have been robbed here before.

The great thing about all of these places are if you go with a group, somebody can go get food for all of you while the rest of you stay and fish. I think it is a great perk of being near the city. Can you tell that I am hungry while writing this?

What is enjoyable about this place: It’s close to the city. People play pond hockey and that is fun to watch. People use it frequently so you might be able to find some holes already made.

What is not enjoyable about this place: The number of people probably. Maybe pond hockey annoys you. People may rob you here so you have to keep all of your stuff close. The Airport is close by so you may hear tons of planes flying by. If you like to just hear nature, this is not going to be the place for you.

Fort Snelling State Park

Types of Fish: yellow perch, bluegill, black crappie, northern pike, largemouth bass

Not only is Fort Snelling a good place to fish but there are other activities like snowshoeing the lake. The lake is right next to the airport across the street. If you are coming to stay for a while or you have friends with the equipment, go try out ice fishing on this lake.

Parking here does require a day pass or a season pass. It is dog friendly if your dog is on a leash. It is a good place to bring a few friends for some ice fishing.

There are plenty of fish here that are not in the first few areas. This lake is between the two cities and right along the Minnesota River. The area is beautiful and after you’re done, go take a look at the river. What a great place to visit.

What is enjoyable about this place: I think all of the activities here are really great. I love that they are dog-friendly. The river nearby is really great as well.

What is not enjoyable about this place: The only thing I can really think of is the airport noise nearby.

Lake Harriet

Types of Fish: crappie, walleye

Camping Spots Nearby: Minneapolis Southwest KOA, Three Rivers Park District

Lake Harriet is a great spot for fishing. They have plenty of walleye and crappie. The Department of Natural Resources actually stocks the lake with walleye each year. Crappie is the big haul here.

Despite being in an urban area that is just right outside of the Minneapolis, this lake stays fairly quiet. I have heard that sometimes people will do yoga out on the lake (Why? It’s cold).

Besides that, not much is there to disturb you and the fish. This can be a social place to fish. If the place is too packed, There are other places on this list I suggest checking out.

What is enjoyable about this place: I think this place makes for a good social place to fish. The city is nearby and if one of your group wants to go get food, they can. It is conveniently near the city which means you can go grab things if you need them.

What is not enjoyable about this place: A social ice fishing place. If you would rather have solitude, this is not the place for you. Beginners may be here trying things out and others are here to enjoy a good time with their friends and family.

Fish Lake Regional Park

Types of Fish: bullhead, northern pike, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill

Out in Maple Grove is this beautiful lake where you can get some ice fishing in. It is about a half hour out of Minneapolis.

One of the things I think is really neat about this place is that this year (2019) the Three Rivers District made an “Adaptive Ice Fishing” event/program on the 27th of January.

It was created for those that have cognitive or physical disabilities to enjoy the joy of ice fishing. I think that was such a classy idea and I hope they continue to do it in the future.

Actually the entire place has a great events director because they have plenty of activities that happen throughout the year. This would be a great place to take family.

What is enjoyable about this place: All of the events and activities are enjoyable! I love the fact that they put the time into these things. These events make it really inviting to family.

What is not enjoyable about this place: A lot of people and events. Maybe that is not your thing. People do not always pick up after their dogs. Being farther from the city could be a problem for some people.

Mille Lacs Lake

Types of Fish: northern pike, walleye, panfish,

Mille Lacs Lake is a massive lake about an hour and a half outside of St. Paul. This is a great family area with plenty to do. They big on ice fishing and when I say big, I mean BIG.

They update the current ice conditions on their blog and Facebook so you always know what to expect. Not only that but they have plenty of ice houses you can rent that have gas heaters, stoves, tables, bathrooms, etc. It has the works!

What is enjoyable about this place: The family-friendly atmosphere. My favorite is part is the ice houses! They are so cool and really useful for long days or overnight stays.

What is not enjoyable about this place: Like all of the rest, you are not alone. Besides that, I can’t think of much that would not be good.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Stripped Bass.

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