Make Fishing a Family Affair

Special to the Star Tribune

Several small lakes in Washington County offer youngsters a chance to take part in the state’s fishing opener on the cheap and close to home.

Families who want to take part in the state’s fishing opener next weekend but don’t have the time or the money to head Up North can find several entertaining spots in Washington County. A picnic lunch might provide a nice distraction — and help build some memories — if the fishing gets a little slow. Here are five family fishing holes that aren’t far from your back yard.

Powers Lake

Location: Woodbury, Powers Lake Park, Fox Run Road and County Road 19

Size: 58 Acres Maximum depth: 41 feet

Park entrance fee: No

How to fish it: Catch pan fish by using a bobber and worm right off the fishing pier.

There is a formal canoe/access carry-in area and an impressive fishing pier.

What they say: “I’ve fished for panfish with my daughter right from the pier,” said Jim Levitt, DNR Fisheries and Wildlife’s Fishing in the Neighborhood Program director. “It’s the best fishing lake in Woodbury.” Fish species include bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, black crappie and bullhead. Power Lake also has a playground, a picnic shelter pavilion and a trail that goes around almost the entire perimeter.


Location: Cottage Grove, Ravine Regional Park, County Road 19 and Hwy. 16

Size: 19 Acres Maximum depth: 15 feet

Park entrance fee: Yes

How to fish it: Try a minnow or a leech for walleye; cast off into the deep water from the pier. (Water is deep off the Ravine pier) Does not have a designated boat or canoe launch area.

What they say: Many consider Ravine Lake to be a hidden gem that has nice walleye and largemouth bass. Even though it doesn’t offer as many species as Powers, anglers can find bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass, walleye and bullhead. Families can fish from the pier, or from paved walking paths along the lake. It’s a county park, so it has trails and picnic pavilions.


Location: Square Lake is located 7 miles north of Stillwater in the city of May

Size: 203 acres Maximum depth: 68 feet

Park entrance fee: Yes

Boat Access: Yes

How to fish it: Around the pier, it’s open and doesn’t have a lot of vegetation. Try casting a spoon for the trout or pike.

What they say: The lake is known for it’s fishing, as well as its scuba diving. The lake is spring fed, and the water clarity is superb for divers. “It gets stocked with trout, rainbow trout, and also has northern pike,” said Levitt. “The pike can get pretty good sized in there.” Species also include largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, bullhead and perch. It also has a first-class swimming beach.


Location: Oakdale, east of Hwy. 120 and north of Interstate 94

Size: 70 acres Maximum depth: 46 feet

Park entrance fee: No

Boat access: Yes

How to fish it: When it warms up, there’s a lot of lily pads around the pier; try a surface lure for large mouth bass.

What they say: The pier can get busy during prime times, but there are also several other family activities available. It’s a good-sized city park that includes ball fields, and a top-notch beach. Anglers will find a wide array of species, including bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, northern pike, largemouth bass, walleye and bullhead. Channel catfish were stocked in 2007, 2008 and 2009.


Location: Mahtomedi, Wildwood Park, County Road 244 and Old Wildwood Road

Size: 9 acres Maximum depth: 26 feet

Park entrance fee: No Boat access: No

How to fish it: Try a worm under a bobber.

What they say: Has pretty good fishing from a pier or off the shore. According to Josh Stevenson, owner of Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle: “It’s a little gem. It’s tranquil, no jet skis or boats. Just fish. And it’s a nice park, an ideal situation for kids. It goes under the radar of most fishermen … Fishing pressure would be low, and that’s an added bonus. ” The DNR has stocked it with many crappies and bluegills in the past 10 years.

Kelly Jo McDonnell is a freelance writer from Lino Lakes.


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