Fishing places galore
River fishing, lake fishing, and stream fishing are favorite pastimes in these parts, with more good fishing spots than you can shake a pole at. If you like to dip a line, you won’t want to leave without checking out our good fishing holes.
Forget the 10,000 lakes.
The river country around Winona offers plenty of great fishing. The Mississippi River is one of the hottest walleye waters around, and the clear, spring-fed streams host some of the best trout fishing in the nation.Whether you just want to take the kids out and catch some sunnies or are looking for some serious largemouth bass action, you’ll find it in Winona.
Many fish species migrate up and down rivers and streams. Dams stop or slow down migrating fish, so they are usually a good place to fish. The area right below the dam gets scoured out by the rushing waters, creating deep holes that many fish seem to like. One story that you’ll often hear on the river tells of a scuba diver working below the dam coming face to face with a gigantic catfish. The story may or may not be true, but anglers have hauled in monster catfish weighing more than 70 pounds from below the dams. Commercial fishing floats operate below Lock & Dams 4, 5A, 6, and 7. For a small fee, you can fish over deep water and buy refreshments, bait and tackle.When the weather turns cold, walleyes, saugers and other fish head for the deep water below the dams. That’s when you see many fishing boats bobbing downstream from the giant dam gates. The outside wall of a dam’s lock chamber is often a popular public fishing spot. At some lock and dams the Army Corps of Engineers has added a public fishing pier near the lock wall. Most dams have a spillway, usually on the opposite side of the river. The spillway also attracts fish trying to migrate upriver.
Southeastern Minnesota offers some of the best and most beautiful trout streams in the world, from small brushy creeks with brookies to boulder-strewn rivers with big browns. Winona County alone boasts 38 trout streams. John Ross’ America’s 100 Best Trout Streams, lists three Southeastern Minnesota streams: the South Branch of the Root River; the Whitewater River; and Trout Run Creek.
In Town Angling
Lake and river fishing within Winona includes many locations: Bartlet Lake, Prairie Island Spillway, Prairie Island Causeway, Lake Winona, Pellowski’s Wing Dam, Mertes Harbor, Levee Park, Bartender’s Wing Dam, Sam Gordies Slough & Swift Creek and Mud Lake.
Fishing the Mississippi backwaters
There’s good fishing from the shore, or you can launch a canoe or motorboat to explore the extensive backwaters. Options include Merrick State Park, Fountain City, Wisconsin; Schneider’s Lake/Sandy Hook, Minnesota City, Minnesota; Sam Gordie’s Slough & Swift Creek, Winona; Mud Lake, Winona; Homer Trestle, Homer, Minnesota; Trempealeau Lakes, Trempealeau, Wisconsin.
Resources for a great fishing experience
Download our Winona area fishing guide, with maps, tips and descriptions for fishing any time of year:
Want to take advantage of local experts? Reach out to area guide services:
Captain Jon Borreson with Fishing Guide Service is an avid bass tournament fisherman and enjoys many outdoor activities including hunting and trapping.
Winona-based No Regrets Bowfishing and Charters offers unique airboat opportunities on the river.
If you’re arriving by water, check out these facilities:
Boat landings and marinas