When is the best time to come to Northern Minnesota?
We get asked this question all the time. It isn’t always phrased this way, but the message is the same. Some people ask it this way, “When is the best Crappie fishing?” and others ask, “When is the best time to avoid bugs?”. These are all great questions, and should be considered when making plans to visit Northern Minnesota. Bugs, fishing, berries, wildflowers, weather, fall colors, northern lights, bird watching, and avoiding crowds are all things you may want to consider. Is there a perfect time to visit, maybe, maybe not, depending on your definition. But there are times of the year that are likely more suited to your interests than others.
May weather can be unpredictable. A couple of years ago the ice didn’t come off the area lakes till late May. The water will be cold. But May is also when things come alive again. The loons return to the lake and the bald eagles come back to their nests. The fish are hungry and usually the fishing is pretty good. If the weather gets into the 70s the bugs start to come out. Late May is usually very good for bird watchers. You won’t find any berries to pick, the flowers usually aren’t blooming yet, and very rarely do we see the Northern Lights (mostly due to the long hours of daylight). But the fishing is very good and the crowds are pretty limited.
June belongs to the fisherman, the person who likes wildflowers or those looking for birds. But be aware, June is also the worst month for bugs. Days are long and they usually start to get pretty warm on a more consistent basis. Towards the solstice we will enjoy almost 20 hours of daylight! The water is still cool, but many people begin to get in the water and swim. Because the water is still relatively cool the fish haven’t moved into the deeper water yet and fishing is off the charts. If you love top water fishing for bass, come in June.
July is when the lake starts to get busy. The water is really warm and perfect for a swim or to go water skiing. Mid-July usually brings blueberries and raspberries for those looking for a sweet treat. The bugs begin to taper off with the increased temperature and as the month goes on, the fish begin to look for deeper water. Evening and morning fishing is still good, but fishing in the middle of the day can be tough. But the weather is fairly stable and the second half of July gets really busy on most any lake in the area.
August has the most predictable weather. Warm days filled with swimming and lounging in sun are found in August. The bugs really disappear except around dusk. Fishing really drops off as the fish head to deeper water and spend more time staying in cooler water rather than looking for food. In mid August we enjoy the best meteor shower of the with the Perseid Meteor Shower usually peaking in the second week of August at 100 meteors an hour. Also, more bears are seen at the Vince Shute Wildlife Center than any other month, so if bears are your thing, bring your camera. As kids head back to school, late August brings very quiet days to the lake and are a great time for couples to get away and enjoy the warm days of summer.
September brings back the fishing as fish come back to the shallows and instinctively begin to fatten up for the long winter. Bass, pike and crappie fishing all pick up significantly in September. With the shorter days more and more people get to enjoy the occasional Aurora Borealis. And of course, September brings the fantastic changing colors of Fall! Fall is a wonderful time in Northern Minnesota for those looking for a quiet getaway, great fishing, wonderful leaf colors or the chance to see the Northern Lights.