Fishing Reports

Picture of two men fishing on the shore of a lake in Grand Marais, MN

We are Minnesotans and we fish. It’s what we do.

It’s a bright and beautiful day in spring. We fish. It’s cloudy and drizzly. We fish. It’s a lazy summer afternoon. We fish. It’s a crisp autumn day with the leaves turning brilliant shades of gold and red. We fish. It’s hovering around zero degrees and the lakes are frozen. You guessed it–we fish.

People keep asking us about fishing conditions here on the North Shore and we decided we should share a few insights (but maybe not all of our favorite Grand Marais fishing holes). And yes, it might even give us a chance to brag a little bit.

Minnesota fishing notes and regulations

The Minnesota DNR has regional fishing outlooks. You can find them here.

Fishing licenses are valid March 1 through the last day of February of the following year. You can purchase a Minnesota fishing license online here.

Would you rather purchase a Minnesota fishing license in person? You can find the Electronic License System (ELS) agents for Cook County here. Just scroll down to In person, select Cook from the drop down menu, and then click Find agents.

If online or in person doesn’t float your boat, you can purchase a Minnesota fishing license by phone 24/7 by calling 1-888-665-4236 (1-MN-LICENSE). All purchases must be made by credit card and once the purchase is complete, you get a license identification number, which is valid until you receive an actual license in the mail. There is a convenience fee for each phone transaction.

Trying to understand Minnesota fishing regulations? Check it out here. And keep track of the fishing seasons here here.

The latest fishing news from Grand Marais

Thursday, June 11, 2019 – Fishing report from James – It’s all about the flies

With our recent changes in temperature, from the cool spring to full-blown summer, fly patterns have changed a little. The belly of an 18-inch splake was stuffed with very large flying ants with clear or white wings (use a Black Parachute Ant in #12-#16) and banded fliers like a wasp (use a McGinty in #10-#14). Occasional big, darker mayflies have been seen hovering around, which this time of year could be matched by March Browns, Hendricksons or Green Drakes, along with very large mayfly nymphs. Also, last week we saw black caddis with white wings (use dark Elk Hair Caddis or Black Gnat in size #14-#16).

Thursday, June 6, 2019 – Fishing report from James

Late afternoon. Fish surfacing to big mayflies and big flying ants. Caught fish 17″ & 20″ on Green Drake dry and our own Red Squirrel Tail.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 – Fishing report from James

James took Gregg, our fishing guest, to the Kadunce River. Can you believe that rock structures like this exist in Minnesota?


Sunday, May 26, 2019 – Fishing report from Jake

Jake caught this beauty on Sunday morning. He won’t tell us which river he was fishing (it’s his secret spot) but there are still plenty of fish to be caught in the Grand Marais rivers!


Thursday, May 16, 2019 – Fishing report from Jen & Jake

Jake and Jen explored the west end of the shore this morning. Days are warmer, which means warmer water…which means fish! They caught some small brook trout and then headed to open water later on for Jake to teach Jen some fly fishing techniques. Jake is a great instructor as well as a guide for Stone Harbor.

Monday, May 13, 2019 – Fishing report from Jen, Jake & Mike

We traded the rivers for a lake up on the Grade. A small chunk of ice and snow along the bank were all that remained of winter. It was a great sight to see open water! Although we did not catch much, we saw a black bear, grouse and fox scurrying along the gravel road.

Friday, May 10, 2019 – Duluth News Tribune

Find out what John Myers has to say about the fishing opener here on the North Shore. Here is his article in the Duluth News Tribune.

Thursday, May 9, 2019 – Fishing report from Mike & Jake

The 4”+ of snow we received overnight on Wednesday up the hill has dramatically cooled the rivers and streams near the lake, from 40 degrees F down to 35 degrees F. The Steelhead action slowed down in resoonse, only providing a few light bites during the rainfall Thursday morning. The run should improve over the next few days as the weather warms back up to 50+ degrees, and the water approaches 40 degrees again.


Wednesday, May 8, 2019 – From the Finger Lake Times

Dave Zentner & Dennis Anderson fished for steelhead amid the rain, snow, wind and cold, somewhere between Duluth and Grand Marais. They didn’t go fishing with us be we enjoyed Dennis’ account, so we thought you might too. You can read it here.

Monday, May 5, 2019 – Fishing report from Jake & Mike

Jake and Mike took off early morning on May 8th to chase some steelhead. Mike quickly hooked into one smaller one, pictured here. The now 40 degree water is still flowing very well, making river-crossing quite difficult in places. The water is still murky, but slowly clearing up, at least until the next rainfall. Jake spotted a large pair in the shallows, suggesting the spawn is well under way.

Monday, April 29, 2019 – Fishing report from Jake & Jen

We planned to fish early Monday morning and awoke to snow on the ground, coming down pretty hard with no indication of letting up. Fishing isn’t the best (or as much fun) with all the snow, so instead we hiked Devil’s Kettle. The Brule River was high as water was flowing over the kettle.


Monday, April 29, 2019 – Fishing report from Jack

I went for a road trip up the Gunflint Trail yesterday, checking on ice conditions. There is still lots of ice on the inland lakes, so we have to wait and see if the ice is gone by opener.


Thursday, April 25, 2019 – Fishing report from James

The fish are to be found in the rivers and at the mouth of the rivers running into Lake Superior. We fished a few different ones, but had some luck at Cascade River reeling in a Steelhead and a few Brook Trout. Even with the warmer weather, water temps are still around 35 degrees and the rivers are high. Colder temps and high rivers are a result from all the snow melt coming down; we need rain and more warmer air temperatures to raise the water temps.


Sunday, April 21, 2019 – Fishing report from Jen

Jake, James, Mike and I did our Easter celebrating with fishing at Fall River, Durfee, and Kadunce. James was the only one who caught a fish (on Durfee) but we had fun! The water temps were still a bit cold, coming in at 35 degrees at Fall River. Thanks for the awesome pictures, Mike!


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