Picture a lake spanning more than 40,000 acres of fish-filled waters. You land a 28-inch walleye before your companions have baited their hooks. Battles with 50-inch muskies are as common as the warbling call of the loon. Deer, eagles, and osprey dot the tree-lined shore.
Odds are, you’re imagining yourself somewhere in Canada. But, think again. The body of water in question is none other than Lake Vermilion, Minnesota’s southernmost Canadian Shield lake and an angling oasis where the fish are plentiful and a passport is unnecessary.
And, no fish is more plentiful in Lake Vermilion than the often-sought and often-caught walleye. Small to mid-sized walleyes make for delicious meals while the monsters are truly mount-worthy. Whether you’re trying to fill your stomach or your trophy case, this lake supplies you with a wealth of walleyes from 12 to 28 inches.
“Little walleyes, medium-sized walleyes, and big walleyes. The walleye population in this body of water is healthy and getting healthier,” host of the television show ‘Fishing the Midwest’ Bob Jensen said. “You can catch them spring, summer, fall, and winter.”
Lake Vermilion boasts 290 miles of shoreline, the most of any lake in Minnesota. So, those who prefer to snag their fish from the shore have plenty of standing room. If you’d rather explore, the lake contains 365 islands - a fishing adventure for every day of the year.
And, make sure at least one of those adventures involves the mighty muskellunge. With fight that matches its bite, this gilled gargantuan is a worthy adversary of any angler. In fact, of the netted muskies recorded by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 2012, 15 percent measured larger than 50 inches.
“Big fish rarely come easy on any body of water,” Jensen said. “On Vermilion, though, they come easier.”
Monstrous musky aren’t the only fish that come easy on this lake. Battle bass in the weed beds, pull in a plethora of northern pike, and reel in a cove of crappie.
Offering lodgings as varied and numerous as their fish species, Lake Vermilion features everything from rustic cabins to luxurious vacation homes to traditional fishing camps. And, the friendly locals are more than happy to share fishing reports, hot-spot secrets, and tackle tips.
“You can find resorts with as many or as few amenities as you want,” Jensen said. “Resorting is the way to go on Vermilion.”
With its outstanding angling, scenic seclusion, and alluring lodging options, there is no better place to recreate the Canadian fishing experience than Lake Vermilion.