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Fishing The Mississippi River – Schoolcraft State Park, MN

View of the Mississippi

River Stats

Fish Species

  • Northern Pike
  • Walleye
  • Muskie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Crappies
  • Catfish

You can see our June 26th fishing trip on the Mississippi in the video below


There is one landing in the Schoolcraft state park. A wooden dock runs along the concrete boat ramp on the Mississippi River. Anglers can get their boats in the water here for excellent walleye and northern pike fishing.

Mississippi boat launch
Looking north
Looking south

I found this landing to be very easy to use. It’s tucked out of the way of the flowing water so your boat doesn’t float away on you. Since it is in a state park, you will need a state park permit to park here. If you happen to be camping here, then you should already have one.


This section of the river is a transition zone. From the marshy, undeveloped areas of Lake Itasca and Cass Lake, the river flows into a more developed area with dams and industry. This segment is part of the Mississippi Headwaters River Trail, which consists of the first 420 miles of the river. There are no major rapids in this section of the river.

View of river from our campsite

Either side of the river is flanked by these low lying Marshy areas. Water grasses fill this marshy backwater area of the Mississippi River. The area is surrounded by the dense pine forests that characterize Schoolcraft State Park. The main part of the Mississippi is relatively narrow and has a bowl shaped bottom, with steep banks that round off in the middle. There was very little structure other than what was on the shoreline.

In the southeast corner of the park, the Vermillion River calmly joins up with the Mississippi.

Vermillion joins the Mississippi

Fishing Experience

I was on a five day fishing trip to northern Minnesota. I was staying at the Schoolcraft state park because it was nearby to several lakes I wanted to fish, including Leech lake. My main goal was not to fish the Mississippi, but I thought, as long as its right here, I would like to check it out.

It was late June, and the weather was beautiful. We traveled north from the landing to where the river branched off. It was tough picking a spot to fish because it all looked the same Nothing really stood out, so I figured this section where the river splits looked appealing.

The bottom was a steady 9-11 feet deep. Every once in a while I would locate a deep hole that was up to 15 feet deep.

Reggie caught the first fish

Reggie caught this one right up against the shoreline. It hit as soon as the lure smacked the water. He also had a northern hit out in the middle, but he lost it.

Rande caught a small walleye

This walleye is the only fish I caught. I caught it on a red and black spinner bait. Reggie caught his bass on the same bait.

From what I gathered from talking to the locals, is that there is some decent walleye, bass and northern fishing in this section of the river. I guess if you had the right techniques and knew right where to fish, you could probably do alright.

Overall I enjoyed the boat ride up the Mississippi, but I wouldn’t come here just for the fishing. I believe the fishing gets better as you head south, especially the section from St. Cloud to Anoka. There is a dam in Coon Rapids that block the travel of fish upstream, so they tend to congregate there. The smallmouth bass fishing is especially good.

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