BEST FISHING HOLE (URBAN) - 2001
For anglers seeking obscure quarry like freshwater gar or paddlefish, the Mississippi River probably tops the list. Looking for big catfish? Try the Minnesota River. Largemouth bass? Lake Minnetonka is your spot. But for an angler chasing the ultimate freshwater-fishing thrill, nothing beats Lake Elmo, a smallish but intriguing lake located in the Washington County town of the same name. In July 1999, a Woodbury fisherman named Josh Stevenson discovered firsthand what the 206-acre waterhole had to offer when he reeled in a 34-pound, 12-ounce tiger muskie--the biggest of its kind ever caught in the state of Minnesota. Stevenson's catch was a stocked fish, a product of the Department of Natural Resources' 15-year-effort to increase the number of big predator fish in metro lakes. In addition to the tigers, the DNR also regularly supplements Elmo's fishery--which includes a healthy population of crappies, perch, northern pike, and other panfish--with walleye. With its steep drop-offs and varied structure, Lake Elmo presents a challenge to even experienced anglers, so arm yourself with a depth finder and decent lake map. Oh, and a net. A big one.