Minnesota Fly Fishing

Minnesota covers 79,610 square miles (206,190 km2)(2.25% of the United States). It is famous for its lakes, having in excess of 15,000, depending on the source of the count. Much of the state is flat, having been eroded during repeated glacial periods (most recently the Wisconsin Glacier). However, the extreme southeastern portion of the state is part of the Driftless Zone, which was not glaciated, and it is here that Lake Pepin and the rugged high bluffs of the Mississippi River are found. In addition, the Iron Range and other low mountains are found in the northeastern part of the state. The Minnesota portion of Lake Superior is the largest body of water in the state.

Fly fishing in Minnesota can require a variety of patterns depending upon the time of year and the weather conditions. However, much of the guess work can be eliminated by narrowing down your choice of flies, especially for those who are novices to the sport and to the area. I have listed most of the basic patterns, how to tie them, and how to fish them, as well as if it is a year round fly or a seasonal fly. More patterns will be appearing as I have time to load them.
Minnesota Fly Fishing identifies 125 Minnesota trout streams located in the Southeastern counties of the state. But it should be mentioned that if you’re looking to fight monster Northerns, then look no further than the state of Minnesota.
Although Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, the amount of healthy Minnesota trout streams concentrated in the Southeastern counties are staggering. Therefore, allowing the adventurous trout fisherman, a Minnesota fly fishing experience that can include a day “river hopping”, searching for their favorite Minnesota trout stream and finding those secret holes.
General Nymph Patterns:

  • Pheasant Tail Nymph
  • Hare’s Ear Nymph
  • Prince Nymph
  • PT Krystal Variant
  • Loop Wing Emerger
  • Bead Head Pheasant Tail Ostrich Herl
  • Pink Squirrel
  • Soft Hackled Fly
  • Root River Special
  • Black Krystal Flash PT



  • Midge Larvae
  • Griffith’s Gnat
  • Midge Emerger
  • Black Midge Emerger
  • CDC Biot Midge
  • Simpleton Midge


    Blue Winged Olive

  • Fuzzball
  • The Biot Nymph
  • Diving BWO
  • The Shillinglaw Emerger
  • Black Biot Krystal Flash PT
  • BWO Biot Para-Meger

Dark Hendrickson:

    Dark Hendrickson

  • Adams
  • Other Hendrickson Dries
  • Dark Hendrickson Variation


    Caddis Emerger (and dry fly)

  • Caddis Larvae Bead Head Caddis Larvae
  • Elk Hair Caddis
  • Tape Wing Caddis
  • Deer Hair Caddis
  • Gray Caddis Dry
  • Soft Bodied Sedge
  • Little Black Caddis Wet Fly
  • Solomon Caddis Pupa
  • Olive Deep Sparkle Pupa
  • Fluttering Caddis
  • Danger Baby

Light Hendrickson:

    Light Hendrickson Nymph

  • Light Hendrickson
  • Dave’s Hen Wing Sulphur Dun
  • Light Hendrickson Dry/Emerger
  • CDC Light Hendrickson


    Trico Dry Flies

General Dry Fly Patterns:

    The Usual

  • Dorato Hare’s Ear
  • The Blonde Wulff

Streamer Patterns:

    Woolly Bugger

  • Double Bunny
  • Zonker
  • Bitch Creek Bugger
  • Polar Bugger

Terrestrial Patterns:

    Foam Beetle

  • Black Wet Fly
  • Madame X
  • The Pink Ant

Related Articles & Resources

Minnesota Fly Fishing
Tons of great information about fishing across the state.

Minnesota Steelheader
devoted to the mighty steelhead that swim the beautiful North Shore Streams and Rivers of Minnesota’s Lake Superior

On The Fly Guide Service
Southeast stream conditions and reports from a local guide

Smallmouth and musky fishing

St. Paul Fly Tier’s & Fishermen’s Club<

Bob Mitchells Fly Shop
Lake Elmo Ave. Lake Elmo, MN 651-770-5854 55042

The Fly Angler
7500 University Ave. NE Fridley MN 55432 763-572-0717

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