Young person ice fishing.

If you want to have fun in the dead of winter, there is perhaps no greater option available in Minnesota than ice fishing. Known for its lush landscapes and its abundant waters, Minnesota is home to some of the highest-quality ice fishing spots in the world. Whether you’re a hobbyist looking to spend a week or so out in the wilderness or a lifelong fisherman who wants to get down to business, there is something for you to be found around Minnesota, and Minnestay’s vacation home rental offerings complement these spots very well. To get you started as you search out the very best Minnesota ice fishing spots, we have compiled this list of the eight locations that could be considered “the best.”


The largest lake in Minnesota, Upper Red lake covers more than 288,000 acres. It is split into Upper and Lower portions, and if you want top-quality walleye fishing, the Upper portion is the place to go. Check out any one of the access points in the East, near State Highway 72, and you will find all ice fishing you could ever want.


Travel north away from St. Paul and you will eventually run into Mille Lacs, which is the second largest lake in the state. This lake covers more than 132,000 acres, stretching all the way throughout Mille Lacs, Aitkin, and Crow Wing Counties. There is superb ice fishing to be found throughout the lake, from the far north to the far south. Mille Lacs Lake features a wide variety of species to be caught, including walleyes, rock bass, northern pike, jumbo perch, muskie, small mouth bass, and tullibee.


Located in St. Louis County, Lake Vermilion is 40,500 acres of pristine scenery world-renowned for its idyllic destinations. Lake Vermillion has  everything from muskies to northern pikes to crappie to perches to small mouth bass to bluegills. Ice fishing here is held in high regard by the locals, with good reason: the waters are full, and the area is as majestic as any the state has to offer.


The biggest and most celebrated ice fishing event, the Ice Fishing Extravaganza, is held here in Gull Lake every single January, and every year it is an event that fails to disappoint. Hardwater anglers from all around the globe congregate on Gull Lake in order to give the waters their best shot. The Brainerd Lake Region, which is popular among fishers, is home to Gull Lake, which is widely considered the best lake in the region. Supported by local towns such as Nisswa and Brainerd, the ice fishing industry is healthy and vibrant at Gull Lake.


Ask anyone who lives in the Lake of the Woods: this is where you head if you have walleyes on your mind. Including more than 65,000 miles of shorelines and 14,000 islands, this lake covers more than 950,000 acres. It is a destination for vacationers and serious fishermen alike, thriving as the home to more than 45 unique resorts.


Low-key but not without its luxuries, Leech Lake is home to one of the world’s top walleye fisheries, large perch also permeating the area. You can fish at night too, and if you like either eelpout or burbot, there is plenty to get excited about.


Sharing its waters with Ontario over the US-Canada border, Rainy Lake is akin to walleye heaven. You can lots of mid-size fish here, but there is no shortage of big ones either. Best of all, you can walk away with a major haul at the end of the day too.


Shared with South Dakota, Big Stone Lake is great for catching perch. Reserved and simple, this location is ideal for getting started at the beginning of the season or for closing it out. Relax, kick back, and let the fish come to you!


The amazing cabin and lake properties that Minnestay offers for rent are all within close range of world-class ice fishing spots, so if you are someone who is eyeballing some walleye or perch this season, you know exactly where to look. Minnestay also offers superb management services for those cabins, covering everything you need so that your ice fishing vacation (or any vacation at all!) goes off without a hitch. Pack up your tackle box, grab a few of your favorite beverages, and let Minnestay worry about all the little details for you!