The Minnesota fishing opener for Walleye, Pike, and Bass will be May 15th, 2021. 

Every year, fishing opener is the widely celebrated, unofficial holiday of Minnesotans across the state. As of 2020, there were 1.5 million licensed anglers in Minnesota. This is second to only Alaska in terms of resident fishing participation. But not just Minnesotans, visitors come from all around the continent for this state’s abundance of lakes and fish. In fact, Explore Minnesota has found that Minnesota is the third most popular-inland fishing destination in the country.

2021 is set to be a year of serious Minnesota fishing and recreation. After months and months of pandemic troubles and at-home stresses, the second weekend in May is sure to bring therapeutic getaways for thousands of families and competitive fishermen. We’ve put together a guide for how to make your fishing opener your best one yet. Read on to learn how to make your lake adventure memorable!

Finding the Perfect Location for Opening Weekend

Location is everything. From the type of fish you can catch to your distance relative to other lakes, the Minnesota fishing lodge you choose can make or break your opening weekend. St. Louis County is a prime spot for fishermen every year. Holding up in an Orr cabin puts you a short drive from Pelican Lake and Lake Vermilion and only about a hundred miles from Lake Superior.

Not only that, but for explorers who are intent on taking full advantage of opening weekend, Northern Minnesota is also home to Voyageurs National Park and, of course, the Boundary Waters. This area brings more than great fishing and beautiful views, between the historical sites and parks, the opportunities for family fun and recreation are more than abundant.

What Types of Fish Are in Pelican Lake?

Whether you are trolling deep water or parking just outside edges of vegetation, Pelican Lake enables you to use your favorite fishing method. Pelican Lake is home to walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, and loads of panfish like bluegills and crappies.

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

For catch and release bass fishermen, Pelican Lake is perfect. As May comes around, try using soft plastics or leeches on a lindy rig spinner.

Northern Pike

With a slot limit on Pelican Lake (22-26 inch must be released), there is an abundance of pike for fishermen who love a good fight!


Bluegills and crappies are major species in Pelican Lake, perfect for a quick cast from the dock or otherwise shallow fishing. If you aren’t sure what tackle to use, try a beetle spin.


It’s not uncommon to see walleye over 20 inches in Pelican Lake. In the spring, walleye prefer hanging out around drop offs. Try using leaches or worms on a lindy rig spinner.

See Adam’s fishing thoughts for more tips on bait, lures, and seasonal tips for fishing Pelican Lake.

Don’t Forget About the Moms!

For many fishing groups—competitive or non-competitive—opening fishing weekend is also synonymous with Mother’s Day. Finding the right fishing opener getaway doesn’t have to be strictly about the fish. Complementing your trip with cozy cabins, gorgeous lake views, and expert guides will color your adventure with a memorable experience for all involved – especially the moms!

Boat Rentals from Birch Forest Lodge

You could rent a pontoon and take your mother on a relaxing tour around the lake. Is she a born and bred fisherman or a casual fisherman? Whatever her experience level, you can rent our 16’ Lund Fury with a 40 hp motor for a reasonable rate – weekly and daily rentals available. We also offer rentals for performance boats as well as additional leisure boating options.

Birch Forest Lodge – Make Your Opening Weekend One You’ll Never Forget

Birch Forest Lodge has been around since 1932. And every year from May through September, we provide visitors with the perfect setting for excitement and relaxation. Whether you’re taking a solo trip, heading up north with your favorite fishing group, or getting away with the family, we can help you facilitate a memorable opening weekend on Pelican Lake.

Our Minnesota fishing resort has 2- and 3-bedroom cabins as well as Voyageur Cabin and The Retreat for bigger groups. Between our boat rental options, fishing guides, and onsite activities for kids and adults, the sky’s the limit for your fishing getaway. Minnesota fishing opener 2021 is sure to be a special one. See our gallery for an up-close look at our lodges and the natural beauties surrounding the resort.

Reach out for more information on how we can help make your opener the best one yet.