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Leech Lake

Cass County - Minnesota
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Leech Lake is a large natural freshwater lake located in north-central Minnesota. It covers an area of approximately 110,310 acres and has a maximum depth of 150 feet. The lake is situated within the Chippewa National Forest and is one of the largest lakes in the state.

Leech Lake is known for its excellent fishing, particularly for walleye and muskie, which are both prized game fish. The lake is also home to a variety of other fish species, including northern pike, bass, and panfish, making it a popular destination for anglers.

In addition to fishing, Leech Lake offers a variety of other recreational opportunities, such as boating, swimming, and hiking. The lake has several public boat ramps and marinas, as well as several beaches for swimming and sunbathing. The surrounding Chippewa National Forest has several hiking trails, including the North Country National Scenic Trail, which runs through the area.

The lake and its surrounding area are also rich in cultural and historical significance. The lake and its surrounding region have been inhabited by the Ojibwe people for thousands of years, and the area is still home to several Ojibwe communities. The lake and surrounding area also have a rich logging history, and several historical sites and museums in the area commemorate this industry.

Overall, Leech Lake is a beautiful and diverse destination that offers a wide range of recreational opportunities and natural attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are an angler, boater, hiker, or history enthusiast, Leech Lake and the surrounding Chippewa National Forest have something for everyone to enjoy.

Explore Leech Lake

The Leech Lake area has built a strong reputation for its wonderful family vacations and fishing getaways! Visitors are sure to find their ideal lodging option as Leech Lake has over 30 resorts, lodges, campgrounds, and hotels lining its pristine shores.

Leech Lake is known for offering the best Walleye fishing and Muskie fishing in the Midwest. With 195 miles of shoreline and 112,835 acres to explore, both professional fishermen and family fishing trips alike are sure to enjoy a successful day of fishing on Leech Lake.

For more information on things to do and see check out leechlake.org

Share your catch!
We want to see what you've caught on Leech Lake.
Caught by John Czajka
Caught by Jason Edmonds
Caught by Jack Mendenhall
Caught by Cole Passehl
Caught by Rusty Trcka
Caught by Jason Edmonds
Caught by Josh Hetrick
Caught by Erik Sjobakken
Caught by Jack Mendenhall
Caught by David Jones
Caught by Jack Mendenhall
Caught by Jack Mendenhall

Frequently Asked Questions About Leech Lake, MN

How big is Leech Lake?
Leech Lake is approximately 110,310 sq acres (446.4 sq km) in size with 233 miles (374.3 km) of shoreline.

How deep is Leech Lake?
Leech Lake is approximately 150 feet (45.8 m) at its deepest point with an average depth of 19 feet (5.6 m).

What kind of fish can you catch in Leech Lake?
Although thery may be others but anglers can expect to find a variety of fish including Black Bullhead, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Bowfin, Brown Bullhead, Burbot, Largemouth Bass, Muskie, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed, Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Yellow Bullhead and Yellow Perch in Leech Lake.

Other fish species in the lake include Banded Killifish, Bigmouth Shiner, Blacknose Shiner, Bluntnose Minnow, Brook Stickleback, Central Mudminnow, Cisco (Tullibee), Common Shiner, Emerald Shiner, Fathead Minnow, Golden Shiner, Hybrid Sunfish, Iowa Darter, Johnny Darter, Lake Whitefish, Logperch, Longnose Dace, Mimic Shiner, Mottled Sculpin, Sand Shiner, Shorthead Redhorse, Spotfin Shiner, Spottail Shiner, Tadpole Madtom, Trout-Perch and White Sucker.

Are there fishing guides or charters for Leech Lake?
Yes! There are fishing guides and charters for Leech Lake and/or the surrounding area. Might we suggest Bro's Guide Service?

Are there places to stay in the Leech Lake area?
Are you craving a weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of city life? Or maybe you're an avid angler in search of the perfect fishing spot? Look no further! Leech Lake and its surrounding area offer an abundance of options to suit your needs. If you're in need of accommodation, check out our area map which highlights some of the best places to stay. And if you're looking for even more options, head on over to our Travel section. But why settle for a traditional hotel or resort when you can take your adventure to the next level by renting a RV? The open road awaits you!
More Lodging Options

Are there topographical lake maps available Leech Lake?
We have an topograpical map for online viewing near the top of this page. Lake-Link Pro users can download an print a topograpical map of Leech Lake (.pdf format) along with 2,700 more lake maps. For more information on all the benefits of Lake-Link Pro click here.

Are there boat launches on Leech Lake?
We know of 8 public boat launches on Leech Lake. Please observe any specific lake regulations posted by the boat launch and please help keep the launch area free of litter.

Leech Lake area businesses:
Please check out these local businesses in the Leech Lake area:
Business Card: Leech Lake Tourism Bureau
Leech Lake Tourism Bureau
Walker, MN
about 3 miles away

Are there places to eat and drink near Leech Lake?
Yes, you can find numerous options in the area. Click the button below to see what's nearby.

What are the fishing regulations for Leech Lake?
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources There are specific fishing regulations Leech Lake that you need to know. For complete fishing regulations visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. To report a violation call (800) 652-9093. Need a Minnesota fishing license?

Explore the Leech Lake area in a RV
Are you looking for an adventurous vacation option that won't break the bank? Look no further than renting an RV! Contrary to popular belief, the process is much simpler than you might imagine. With just a few easy steps, you'll soon be experiencing the ultimate freedom and convenience of exploring the open road in your very own recreational vehicle. And the best part? RV travel can save you up to 60% compared to other types of vacations! With the money you'll save, you'll be able to travel even more and create unforgettable memories along the way. So why wait? Start planning your next adventure today with an RV rental. Learn more about renting a RV.

Forest River Vibe
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2024 Forest River Salem Cruise Lite Platinum 263BHXLX
2024 Forest River Salem Cruise Lite Platinum 263BHXLX
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More RV Options
What aquatic invasive species are found in Leech Lake?
There are some aquatic invasive species found in Leech Lake including Eurasian watermilfoil, starry stonewort and zebra mussel.

Join us in the fight to prevent the spread of invasive species These sneaky creatures can hitch a ride on boats, clinging onto propellers, anchor lines, and trailers. They can even survive in hidden places like bilge water and ballast tanks, or disguise themselves in dirt and sand that sticks to nets, buckets, anchors, and waders. But don't worry, we have the power to stop them in their tracks with just a few simple steps. So let's do our part and protect our waters from these unwanted invaders.

History & Status of the Fishery

Status of the Fishery (as of 1/5/2016) Leech Lake is the third largest lake entirely within the boundaries of Minnesota and has approximately 112,000 surface acres. The lake is geographically located in three glacial zones and has an irregular shape with many large and small bays. The deepest area of the lake is located in Walker Bay where depths approach 160 feet deep. Approximately 80% of the lake is less than 35 feet deep. Similar to other large lakes in Minnesota, the fish community is dominated by species in the perch and pike families. Walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge are the primary predator species, while yellow perch and cisco serve as the principal forage. Leech Lake is well known among anglers as a tremendous multi-species fishery, including excellent fishing opportunities for walleye, yellow perch, northern pike, muskellunge, largemouth bass, sunfish, and black crappie. Leech Lake has been surveyed annually with standardized assessments since 1983. Establishment of long-term data sets on Leech Lake and Minnesota's other large walleye lakes allow biologists to compare current observations against historical averages. These long-term data sets can also provide insight into other lakes having similar physical and biological properties that are not sampled as frequently. Population metrics for a particular species, such as the highs and lows in gill net catch rates or the growth rates of fish, are constantly changing as they move from one extreme of their observed normal range to the other, much like a pendulum. While highs and lows are normal and rarely sustained beyond one year, consecutive observations at either extreme can be indicative of changes to an ecosystem. These may include invasive species introductions, shifts in habitat availability and/or quality, beneficial or adverse environmental conditions, and increased or decreased competition for resources between species or among different year classes of the same species. Regardless, it is important to remember that all populations of flora and fauna fluctuate dramatically and that this natural variability is strongly influenced by the changing environment in which they live as well as the other species of plants and animals they share it with. The MN DNR convened a citizen input committee (Leech Lake Fisheries Input Group; LLFIG) comprised of 16 stakeholders representing local and statewide interests in Leech Lake management. This group outlined sportfish population goals, objectives, and management actions. These recommendations were incorporated into DNR's 2016-2020 Fisheries Management Plan for Leech Lake. These management goals, where appropriate, are referenced in this report. Effective May 10, 2014 all walleye between 20.0-26.0 inches long must be immediately returned to the water, a possession limit of 4 walleye with one longer than 26.0" allowed in possession. This regulation is intended to provide additional harvest opportunity while still protecting most of the mature female walleye in the population, and received majority support from the public comment period held during fall 2013. All other species are currently managed under statewide fishing regulations. Aquatic invasive species currently found in Leech Lake include rusty crayfish, heterosporosis, curly-leaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, and banded mystery snail. Eurasian watermilfoil is beginning to establish in open-water areas of the lake. Other aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and spiny waterflea are increasing in prevalence throughout Minnesota and pose a likely risk. Anglers and boaters alike are encouraged to review and adhere to rules requiring proper bait disposal, draining all water from bait containers, livewells, bilge, and the watercraft, and properly inspecting and removing all plants and animals from the watercraft, anchor, and trailer when leaving a lake. Information on invasive species issues and prevention can be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/index_aquatic/. Walleye: Since the Large Lake Program began in 1983, walleye gillnet catch rates have ranged from 4.6 fish/net (1993) to 13.4 fish/net (1988). The 2015 catch of walleye per gillnet set of 12.4 fish/net, the third highest catch rate in the time series, remained above the 1983-2015 average of 7.9 fish/net for the ninth consecutive year. Walleye sampled in gillnets ranged in length from 7 to 26 inches, and demonstrated a balanced size distribution. The average lengths of age-1 through age-4 walleye were 9.9, 12.2, 14.6, and 16.9 inches, respectively. Good 2011 through 2013 year-classes will provide harvest opportunities on the 2016 opener and continue to be available throughout the next several seasons. Additionally, 24% of walleye sampled in gillnets were 20-26" and will provide anglers the opportunity to catch a larger fish. The proportion of protected fish sampled in gillnets resembles the proportion of protected fish caught by anglers. Northern Pike: The 2015 gillnet catch rate of northern pike was 5.9 fish/net. Northern pike gillnet catch rates have remained relatively stable since 1983, ranging from 3.6 fish/net (1993) to 6.2 fish/net (1995) with an average of 4.8 fish/net. Northern pike captured in 2015 gillnet sets ranged in length from 12 to 34 inches. Muskellunge: Muskellunge from Miller Bay near Whipholt are currently collected and spawned for the statewide broodstock program every four years, with spawning operations most recently occurring in 2013. A total of 51 individual fish were captured in May of 2013, of which 23 were female and 28 were male. Females ranged in length from 39-53 inches, while males ranged from 31-46 inches. Females ranged in age from six through sixteen, while males ranged in age from five through fifteen. Yellow Perch: Gillnet catch rates of yellow perch have ranged from 12.1 fish/net (2013) to 37.7 fish/net (1995). The 2015 catch rate of 18.6 fish/net remains below the long term average (21.1 fish/net) but continues to increase incrementally from the record low observed in 2013 (12.1 fish/net). Yellow perch sampled in 2015 gillnet sets ranged in length from 3 to 12 inches. Of the total perch caught, 24% were 8 inches and longer and 6% were 10 inches and longer. Cisco: The 2015 catch rate of cisco per gillnet set was 5.5 fish/net and similar to the long-term average of 5.4 fish/net. Gillnet catch rates of cisco have varied considerably, ranging from 0.6 fish/net (2006) to 18.5 fish/net (1987). Warmer summers causing summer kills have likely been the source of cisco catch rates remaining relatively low since 1995. However, no summer kill events have been observed in the past three years. The 2012 and 2013 year classes were the most frequently sampled age classes in this survey. Lengths of cisco sampled ranged from 5 to 18 inches. Within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation the Whitefish limit is 25 and the Cisco (Tullibee) limit is 50, which is an exception to the statewide regulation. Daily and possession limits are the same. Largemouth Bass: A spring lakewide largemouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie electrofishing assessment occurred in springs 2012 and 2015. Catch rates for all largemouth bass were similar between 2015 (16 fish/hour) and 2012 (15 fish/hour). Catch rates for fish 15 inches were also similar between 2015 (6 fish/hour) and 2012 (5 fish/hour). Length and age frequency distributions of largemouth bass sampled in 2015 ranged from 4 to 18 inches and 1 to 15 years, respectively. Of all largemouth bass sampled in 2015, 35% were 15 inches or longer. Anglers can find quality bass fishing opportunities in the beds of mixed vegetation in most major bays. Bluegill: Catch rates for all bluegill were higher in 2015 (47 fish/hour) than in 2012 (31 fish/hour). Catch rates for fish 8 inches were lower in 2015 (3 fish/hour) than in 2012 (8 fish/hour). Length and age frequency distributions of bluegill sampled in 2015 ranged from 2 to 9 inches and 3 to 13 years, respectively. Of all bluegill sampled in 2015, 7% were 8 inches or longer. Anglers can find quality bluegill fishing opportunities in the beds of mixed vegetation in most major bays. Black Crappie: Catch rates for all black crappie were higher in 2015 (9 fish/hour) than in 2012 (5 fish/hour). Catch rates for fish 10 inches were similar between 2015(5 fish/hour) and 2012 (4 fish/hour). Length and age frequency distributions of black crappie sampled in 2015 ranged from 2 to 14 inches and 1 to 12 years, respectively. Of all black crappie sampled in 2015, 62% were 10 inches or longer. Anglers can find quality black crappie fishing opportunities in the beds of mixed vegetation in most major bays. Lake Whitefish and Cisco survey with Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Division of Resource Management: In the fall of 2015 the DNR coordinated with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Division of Resource Management to collect additional data on cisco and lake whitefish harvested by Band members. Whitefish data were collected in October, while cisco data were collected in November. Harvested lake whitefish ranged in length from 18 to 27 inches and ages ranged from 7 to 30 years. Length and age frequency distributions of cisco harvested in 2015 ranged from 14 to 19 inches and 4 to 10 years, respectively.

What is the average air temp for Leech Lake?
Looking forward to your next adventure at Leech Lake? Don't forget to plan ahead! Weather can be unpredictable, but we've got you covered. On average, air temperatures during this time of year range from a high around 64°F (18°C) to a low around 38°F (3°C). Of course, these are just historical averages, so be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way. For the most up-to-date weather information, be sure to check out our Weather Bar located at the top of this page.

Are there any state parks near Leech Lake?
Enjoy more of the outdoors with a visit to an area state park. There are 1 state park in the vacinity of Leech Lake.

For more Minnesota State Park information see our State Park Guide.

Leech Lake Reviews
Below is the word on street about Leech Lake.
Have you been to Leech Lake? Why not share your personal reveiw with others?
Submit Review
ted s.
5 star rating
amazing jumbo perch fishing
Reviewed Mar 19, 2004
iceman g.
5 star rating
Late May Walleye And Perch Abundant. Fish The Rocks But Don´t Forget The Early Grass Growth Flats.
Reviewed Mar 24, 2001
jeffrey m.
5 star rating
Walleye Fishing Gets Bettrer Each Year
Reviewed Jul 11, 2000

More Nearby Lakes To Explore
There's more lake's to explore around Leech Lake...
Rice Lake 5.9 mi 248 30 ft
Deep Lake 7.2 mi 24 62 ft
Crooked Lake 7.3 mi 565 74 ft
Welch Lake 7.6 mi 195 59 ft
Jack Lake 8.2 mi 142 110 ft
Turtle Lake 8.6 mi 75 23 ft
Lake Thirteen 9.2 mi 555 50 ft
Lake May 9.5 mi 143 59 ft
Rat Lake 9.8 mi 87 35 ft
Swamp Lake 9.8 mi 600 36 ft
DISCLAIMER: Lake-Link Inc assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions of the information for Leech Lake. Although we strive to provide the most accurate information as we can the information contained in this page is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.

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