Minnesota State Fish

walleye caught at minnesota lake

We are proud to have the walleye as our state fish in Minnesota. This fish is a popular gamefish in many lakes and rivers. Walleyes are known for their great taste and fighting power.

This blog post will discuss everything you need to know about the walleye! We will cover where to find them, how to catch them, and what they eat. We will also provide some tips on how to cook this delicious fish!

Describing The Walleye

The walleye is a freshwater fish that is native to North America. The name “walleye” comes from the fact that the eyes of this fish are very distinctive, with a reflective pigment layer that makes them appear pearly or “googly.” This reflective layer helps the walleye to see better in murky water, which is why they are often most active at night.

The walleye is a prized catch by anglers due to its meaty flesh and delicious flavor. The walleye is also famous because it is relatively easy to catch, especially when anglers know when to fish for them. Walleyes are active at night, so anglers who do their fishing during the night hours usually have the best success.

Walleyes have a green/gold coloring that fades to white on their bellies. They can reach a weight of about 20 pounds and a length of 31 inches. Under the right conditions, a walleye can live up to 29 years of age. The state record for the largest walleye ever caught weighed in at 17 pounds, 8 ounces.

Fishing Walleye in Minnesota

MN is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and those lakes are home to a favorite pastime: fishing. Fishing is such a popular activity that it’s practically a state sport. And the most sought-after fish is the walleye.

Thanks to Minnesota’s cold climate, ice fishing is a year-round sport. Once the lakes freeze over, vast “villages” of fish houses appear, and ice fishing becomes a way of life for many people. The best lakes for catching walleye include Lake of the Woods, Cass Lake, Leech Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish, Lake Vermilion, Rainy Lake, Lake Kabetogama, and Mille Lacs Lake. 

If you’re looking for fun (and even a little bragging rights), head to MN and try to catch a walleye.

Walleye Capital of the World?

If you’re looking for the ultimate photo op with a giant replica walleye, Minnesota is the place to be. A quick Google search will reveal no shortage of towns vying for the title “Walleye Capital of the World.”

From Garrison to Baudette to Lake Kabetogama, you’ll find enormous fiberglass fish alongside busy highways and town square parks.

Baudette: If you’re a fan of walleye, there’s no better place to be than Baudette, Minnesota. This small town proudly calls itself the “Walleye Capital of the World” for a good reason. It’s home to the 40-foot-long “Willie Walleye” statue, built in 1959. This is the largest replica of a walleye in the state, and it’s become a local landmark. 

Every year, Baudette hosts the Willie the Walleye Festival in the first week of June. This event features live music, food vendors, and kids’ activities. Of course, there’s also plenty of walleye to go around. If you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend devoted to everyone’s favorite fish, Baudette is the place to be.

Garrison – might be the first town to call itself the “walleye capital of the world.” This small town is located on the shores of Lake Mille Lacs, a popular destination for anglers seeking trophy-sized fish. The town is also home to the huge fiberglass fish, which stands alongside the lake.

Another town calling itself the walleye capital, Lake Kabetogama, even has a replica of the fish built alongside highway 53. The replica is from 1949 and stands 14 feet tall. You can climb to the replica’s top via a ladder for a photo op.

Other towns with walleye statues are not to be outdone by the small town of Baudette. Off I-35, near the Rush City convenience store, a massive walleye statue greets visitors. In Isle, also home to a big walleye statue, the local chamber of commerce reports that the statue has become a popular photo spot for tourists. And at Zippel Bay, on the shores of Lake of the Woods, the resorts claim that the “Walleye Capital of the World” statue help promotes the ice fishing season.

So whether you’re a die-hard angler or just looking for a unique roadside attraction, be sure to add Minnesota’s walleye capitals to your travel list.

Cooking the Walleye

So you’ve caught yourself some walleye! Congratulations, anglers, prize these delicious freshwater fish for their delicate flavor and firm texture. 

Now that you’ve got your catch, what will you do with it? If you’re looking for inspiration, here are two simple recipes. The first one is perfect for cooking at the shore, while the second requires an oven.

Pan Fried Walleye


  • Butter, 3-6 Tablespoons
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh walleye weighing 4 to 7 pounds

How to Cook:

1. In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter.

2. Add the walleye fillets and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Aim to cook walleye until it turns white and flakes easily with a fork after 6 to 10 minutes.

Easy Baked Walleye


  • Melted butter, 3 tablespoons
  • 4 Fillets of walleye, 4 ounces each
  • Lemon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Dried Basil, 1/2 teaspoon

How to Cook:

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Melt butter and pour into a 9×13-inch baking dish. 
  3. Place the fillets, skin-side down, into the butter. Sprinkle lemon pepper and basil evenly over the top. 
  4. In a preheated oven, bake the fish for 5 to 7 minutes until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.


Both of these recipes are sure to please any fan of walleye. So get cooking and enjoy your delicious catch!