Moore Lake in Fridley is in the running this summer to be named by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation as one of the nation’s top 10 “Mom Approved Places to Fish and Boat.’’
Located just north of Interstate 694 and bisected by Hwy. 65, it is one of nearly 70 state-designated “Fishing in the Neighborhood’’ (FiN) lakes managed by the Department of Natural Resources. The basin of Moore Lake east of Hwy. 65 contains two fishing piers, lots of beachfront, a park and populations of bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and bullheads.
Mario Travaline, one of three DNR staff members in charge of Fishing in the Neighborhood, said any number of the program’s lakes are equally deserving of recognition. Originated 18 years ago, FiN has grown to include active fish management in lakes and storm ponds located in all seven counties of the Twin Cities metro area.
“They are all pretty safe places to fish,’’ Travaline said. “If it has a FiN sign on it, there are fish in the lake… and there’s a good chance there’s a type of fish in there that anyone would like to catch.’’
The $300,000-a-year FiN program stocks about 25,000 bluegills each year but also manages various lakes for largemouth bass, white bass, crappies, northern pike and channel catfish.
The program’s primary goal is to introduce kids to fishing without requiring parents to have a boat. Starting at age 16, fishing licenses are required. In honor of Father’s Day, here’s a list of 10 standout FiN locations in the metro area to take the kids fishing.
Fireman’s Pond, Chaska: In the heart of town and accessorized by a swimming beach, playgrounds, trails and picnic areas at Fireman’s Park. It has abundant bluegills and fair numbers of largemouth bass — some big. Two fishing piers and walkable shoreline. Put a piece of corn or a worm on a hook and wait for the bobber to go down. A good place for a young angler to build confidence.
Wolfe Lake, St. Louis Park: Extremely high density of bluegills and pumpkinseeds combined with northern pike, largemouth bass and some crappies. Perch were stocked here in 2016. A shoreline restoration project benefited this lake and established four shoreline fishing blocks. A fishing pier, good handicap access, walking path and park amenities. Located at Wolfe Park — Monterey Drive and 36th Street West.
McColl Lake, Savage: Channel catfish can be caught here, including specimens stocked as recently as one year ago. It’s a Scott County lake with a fishing pier and walking trails and it’s managed to give anglers an opportunity to catch bigger fish, including quality largemouth bass. McColl also can cough up nice black crappies. Sunfish also swim in abundance here in what used to be a DNR walleye grow-out pond. In 2014, McColl was stocked with 90,000 walleye fry.
Snelling Lake, Fort Snelling State Park: Great fishing action for bluegills and perch at a site that also supplies loaner fishing poles. There’s a fishing pier here that juts out into water that also contains largemouth bass, crappies and northern pike. A vehicle pass — daily or annual — is required to enter the park. The wildlife watching is a bonus.
Blackhawk Lake, Eagan: In Travaline’s words, this is a “really, really excellent bass lake’’ where it’s not uncommon to catch fish weighing 3 to 5 pounds. There’s a fishing pier and stations to fish from shore, but Blackhawk Lake Park also has a ramp for launching canoes, kayaks or other nonmotorized vessels (electric only). Located at Murphy Parkway and Deerwood Drive, Blackhawk is only 12 feet deep with weedy shorelines but it also contains crappies, northern pike, bluegills and bullheads.
Como Lake, St. Paul: In the spring of 2015, FiN staff stocked Como with 2,800 walleye fingerlings. Nearly 200 adult channel catfish also were stocked then. Located in the heart of Ramsey County within historic Como Park, this lake has lots of fishable shoreline and the fishing pier is popular as a way to get anglers past the thick aquatic vegetation in late summer. Besides walleyes and catfish, Como has populations of bluegills, crappies, largemouth bass and common carp. Perch, too, have been stocked in the lake within the past four years.
Colby Lake, Woodbury: Powers Lake in Woodbury might be better known as a neighborhood fishing location, but nearby Colby Lake supports seven species of fish and has been stocked in recent years with crappies, bluegills and 2,100 yearling channel catfish. Located in Colby Lake Park at Lake Road and County Road 19, Colby has a recently installed fishing pier on the south end of the lake that connects to a loop trail. Largemouth bass, perch, northern pike and bullheads also can be caught here.
Fish Lake, Eagan: Located at Denmark Avenue and Westcott Road, Fish Lake has an easy-to-use boat launch for canoes or other small boats (electric only). There’s a 35-foot deep fishing hole in this lake and other offshore holes. Species include bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, northern pike, perch and bullhead. Bass and northerns are targeted often on this lake, which includes a fishing pier and a walking path.
Spring Lake, Spring Lake Park: A popular Anoka County fishing pond that was stocked with walleye frylings in the summer of 2014 after winterkill happened in 2012. Located at Lakeside Lion’s Park at Pleasant View Drive and County Road 10, Spring Lake also contains bluegills and largemouth bass and is known for its clear water and diverse native plant community.
Bass Ponds, Bloomington: Located in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge off Old Shakopee Road are Youth Pond and Hogback Ridge. It’s a short hike from the parking area to the fishing pier, but the surroundings are beautiful. Youth Pond’s shoreline is heavily forested, but Hogback Ridge is very fishable from its open shores. FiN staffers have actively stocked Hogback over the past several years with channel catfish, black crappies, northern pike, largemouth bass, bluegills and pumpkinseeds.