Welcome to Boot Lake! Our intent is to provide information which will create realistic expectations about the fishing on our lake. As far as Minnesota fishing resorts go, we are fortunate to be located on Boot Lake, which is beautiful, clear, and best known for its walleye. The lake is managed by the DNR specifically for large walleye, and is stocked every other year. Although the lake offers good opportunity, it can be difficult to fish with the very clear water. Novice fisherman should come with realistic expectations and understand that even the experts find it challenging to fish this lake.

The best fishing tends to be in June, and as is the case in many Minnesota lakes, the better fishing will taper off as you head into the warmer summer months. The small sunfish are abundant all summer long, especially off the dock. If you head out onto the lake, you can catch a meal of sunnies if you have the patience to sort through the little ones, or you could troll for northern, as they are plentiful and are fairly easy to catch. The bass fishing is average on our lake, but it is fairly consistent, even through the summer months.

Boot Lake is a beautiful lake to fish, with its clear water and relatively undeveloped shoreline. If you’re an experienced walleye fisherman looking for a challenge, or have kids and just want some action, then Boot Lake may be the lake you’re looking for.

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Lake Characteristics

With a Secci disk reading ranging from 19-27 feet, Boot Lake is one of the clearest lakes in the state. This clear water can impact the walleyes, often delaying their peak feeding period until the evening and into the night. The lake is deep (109 feet at the deepest), with some classic walleye structure, including a sunken island and extended bars near deep water. However, most of the lake could be best described as a bowl, with rapid drop-offs into deep water. The main types of emergent vegetation are lily pads and bull rushes (pencil weeds). Although we have a sandy bottom here at the resort, much of the lake bottom would be characterized as marl. One of the significant baitfish in Boot Lake is the cisco, a highly desirable, fatty food item for the larger predators like walleye. This is probably one characteristic which contributes to the lake being able to support larger concentrations of big walleyes.

Walleye Information

The most common method to catch walleyes is a Lindy rig tipped with a crawler or jumbo leech. In this clear water, light lines are the rule, usually 6 lb. test. Night fishing is common on our lake. Our drop-offs zig and zag considerably, so a depth finder (or better yet – a graph) is essential equipment if you are serious about walleye. There are several specific areas which could be described as classic walleye structure, but most of our fishermen work the entire shoreline, varying the depth from 10-25 feet, until they start graphing fish with consistency. Although most follow the shoreline, trolling slowly with live bait and Lindy rigs, some will cover more ground with crank baits. Control the depth and lure placement are a little more difficult with this approach, but some find success with it. In mid-summer, when the large walleyes are suspended in the middle of the lake feeding on schools of ciscoes, a common method of night fishing is to troll a crankbait (ex: a #8 shad rap), with a lot of line at a fairly fast clip, in order to reach these feeding fish.

Bait & Boat Rental

If you are a guest, bait is available for purchase at the resort. We sell night crawlers, leeches, and crappie minnows. There are also several bait and tackle stores in Park Rapids that carry a great selection if you are looking for something different, or in need of fishing tackle. Carolina flat-bottom skiffs are available for rent in three sizes – 8 hsp, 15 hsp, and 20 hsp. They each have a different seat configuration, so please inquire for more information. The boats have plenty of room, they are stable, and are great for fishing with youngsters. We have bow and stern lights available for guests who like to night fish, and basic depth finder are available as well.

DNR Report

Boot Lake is located in northeastern Becker County, six miles northwest of the town of Two Inlets. Boot Lake is a narrow, deep-water lake with a surface area of 378 acres and a maximum depth of 109 feet. There is a state-owned public access located on the north shore. Boot Lake is best known for its walleye population, but it also provides angling for northern pike, largemouth bass, and pan fish.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has classified Minnesota’s lakes into 43 different types based on physical and chemical characteristics. Boot Lake is in lake class 23. Other area lakes in this same classification include: Big Bass, Benedict, Blue, East Crooked, Spearhead, and Tripp.

Walleye abundance (5.2 walleye/gillnet) was at the current management goal of 5.0 walleye/gillnet. Past surveys have also shown good walleye numbers, with gillnet catch rates at or above the current management goal. Sampled walleye had an average length and weight of 18.7 inches and 2.5 pounds, with fish measured up to 24.9 inches. Boot Lake is currently stocked with walleye fingerlings during even numbered years. Yellow perch, an important forage species for walleye, were sampled in low numbers (1.7 perch/gillnet). Yellow perch abundance in past surveys has fluctuated from low to moderate numbers. Yellow perch are generally not an acceptable size for angling in Boot.

Northern pike abundance (9.2 pike/gillnet) was up slightly from past surveys, just above the range “typical” for this lake class. Northern pike numbers in past surveys has been stable, with gillnet catch rates within the “typical” range. Sampled northern pike had an average length and weight of 18.1 inches and 1.4 pounds, with fish measured up to 35.2 inches. The number of larger northern pike (> 28.0 inches) sampled was low when compared to other area lakes. The northern pike population in Boot Lake is limited by high reproduction and recruitment of young pike and slow growth rates.

Boot Lake is not really known as a bass-pan fish lake because of its limited shallow water habitat and productivity. However, Boot does support moderate numbers of bluegill, pumpkinseed, and largemouth bass, and low numbers of black crappie. Present and past surveys have shown the bluegill population in Boot to be dominated by small fish, with few bluegills over 7.0 inches in length. Bluegill growth rates are very slow in Boot Lake. Black crappie were not sampled in 2011, but have been sampled in past surveys in low to moderate numbers. Past surveys have shown the black crappie to be an acceptable size for angling. Boot Lake supports a low to moderate largemouth bass population when compared to other area lakes. Largemouth bass up to 19.0 inches were sampled.

Other species sampled included high numbers of yellow bullhead, and moderate numbers of rock bass and hybrid sunfish. White sucker and brown bullhead were sampled in low numbers.

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Lake Summary

Boot Lake has proven to be a better than average fishing lake, especially for large walleyes. However, due to the clear water, it is not an easy lake to fish. The more experienced fishermen like the challenge and potential this lake has to offer. A novice with unrealistic expectations can sometimes be disappointed. The lake is managed by the DNR with a focus on large walleyes, and they are here. However, we seldom see limits of “eating size” walleyes. If it is important for you to catch more smaller fish, you would be well advised to head to a different lake. If on the other hand, you are an experienced walleye fisherman, or you have kids and would just like to catch fish, like small northerns or sunfish, then Boot Lake may be the lake you are looking for.