Top 25 Rapala Billboard Signs

Well-known lure manufacturer Rapala is king of clever billboard signs. Here are the author’s 25 favorites.

Top 25 Rapala Billboard Signs

Before I get to the Rapala roadside billboards themselves, let me provide the backstory:

In my home state of Minnesota, the fishing season for bass, walleyes and northern pike closes for a few months in early spring. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources does this to protect these species while they’re spawning. Because of this longstanding tradition, the “fishing opener” is a big deal; anglers can begin targeting these species at 12:01 a.m. beginning on the second Saturday of May. And yes, many diehard anglers are in their boats shortly after midnight on this day trying to catch a trophy.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes (Minnesota actually has many more than that number) is also a fishing destination for thousands of anglers from Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and many other states. Anglers who live in and around Minneapolis and St. Paul join these nonresident anglers and they travel in mass “up north” to famed fish factories such as Mille Lacs, Leech Lake and countless others. And this northern migration doesn’t end after fishing opener; many people who live in southern Minnesota (including the Twin Cities) have cabins up north, so every Friday night the major highways are packed with folks escaping city life to recharge their batteries in the woods and waters of central and northern Minnesota.

Well-known lure manufacturer Rapala USA is headquartered in Minnesota, and its marketing team was smart nearly 40 years ago to begin a campaign targeting these traveling anglers. They understood that anglers road-tripping to their favorite honey-hole or cabin would likely be stopping along the way for food, fuel and, of course, last-minute tackle purchases.

As you’ll see below, one tradition that marks the start of open-water fishing season in Minnesota is Rapala billboards, which greet anglers of all generations as they drive north. I enjoy seeing the clever ads during my travels, and thought you might, too. Here are 25 of my favorites. The last one is my No. 1 pick.

Last but not least is this gem “Minnocchio.” The billboard is a tribute to the fact that the Rapala Original Floating Minnow, featured in the vast majority of the company’s billboards, is still made of balsa wood. It’s the best-selling lure of all time, invented by Lauri Rapala in 1936. Click here to watch an interesting 3-minute video detailing “The Rapala Story.”


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