Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
If you have not done much fishing before do not worry. It is not hard. To catch fish all you need is a pole, tackle, bait and a fishing license.
You will also want to do some research on the regulations, where fish live and what they eat.
What does it cost?
A fishing license (16 years and older) is $22; beginner pole (2-1/2 feet) $13; youth pole (5 feet) $15; tackle (bobber, sinker, hook) $5.
Bait: You can find nightcrawlers for free in the dirt after it rains or under a rock. They cost around $2.75 per dozen at the store. Minnows cost around $3 a scoop.
Fishing Licenses: If you are 16 years and older, you must have a fishing license to fish in Minnesota. There are several different types of fishing licenses; make sure to determine which is the best for you before making a purchase.
If you are a parent of a young angler and you would like to take your child fishing, you must have a fishing license to assist them in angling.
However, Take-A-Kid-Fishing Weekend is a designated weekend when anglers 16 years and older can fish for free when accompanying an angler who is 15 years or under. Other cost-effective options would be to purchase a Conservation License at a lower price (with a lower possession limit) or purchasing a one-day fishing license for only $10.
Rod: The basic fishing rod is 6 feet long and has a medium “weight,” which means it is a good all-purpose rod. A cane pole or even a long stick will work for crappies and sunfish.
Reel: The easiest reel to use is called a spin-cast reel. Spinning reels are popular, but they are a bit harder to use. If you use a cane pole or a stick, just tie the line to the end.
Line: Line is sold according to its strength or test which ranges from 2-pound test up to more than 30-pound test. A good all-purpose line is 8-pound test.
Hooks: The smaller the number, the larger the hook. Look for hooks in sizes 4-10. Hooks with a long shank, the part between the eye and the barb, are easier to remove from fish with small mouths. Size 8 and 10 hooks are best for crappies, sunfish and carp. Size 4 and 6 are good for walleyes, catfish and northern pike.
Sinkers: Also called split-shot, these weights keep your bait down near the lake or river bottom where most fish swim.
For most shore fishing, pinch on one or two small weights the size of a BB about 10 inches up from your hook. Use only enough to sink the bait.
Note: There are now alternatives to lead sinkers that are usually made of steel, ceramic or cement and are safer for water birds.
Bobber: Usually the smaller bobbers work best, but do not use one so small that the weight and bait sink it. A bobber also adds weight to the line to help you cast farther. When the bobber goes under the water surface, you know that a fish has taken your bait.
Bait: For most fish, the best all-around baits are nightcrawlers or worms. Waxworms work well for sunfish. To catch carp, try a kernel of canned corn. Catfish are partial to a piece of turkey liver.
Minnows are great fish-getters. Try small 1-inch long minnows for crappies and larger 2- to 6-inch long sucker and fathead minnows for walleyes and northern pike.
Keep worms and nightcrawlers in a cool, moist place out of the sun. Put minnows in a bucket with a few small holes punched in the sides and keep it in shaded water nearby. Make sure your bait stays alive and take along a needle-nosed pliers to remove the hook from the mouth of any fish you catch.
Of the hundreds of lures on the market, the most popular are spinners (such as Mepps or Rooster Tails), crankbaits (such as Rapalas) and jigs with feathers or rubber bodies (such as Mister Twisters).
JigJigs: A jig is simply a hook with a lead ball near the eye. Retrieve a jig by bouncing it along the bottom of the lake or river
Note: There are now alternatives to lead jigs that are usually made of steel, ceramic or cement and are safer for water birds.
Spinners: These lures vibrate when retrieved through the water, attracting fish. They are easy to use and will catch a wide variety of fish.
Spoons: These heavy lures can be cast far out into a lake or river and are mostly used for northern pike and muskies.
Crankbaits: More expensive than other lures, crankbaits are excellent for walleyes, pike, muskie and bass.