General regulations

The following regulations apply to all Minnesota waters unless noted otherwise inthe 2003 Fishing Regulations booklet.

Possessing and Transporting fish
• Daily and possession limits are the same unless otherwise noted. Fish are in an angler’s possession whether on hand, in cold storage, in transport, or elsewhere.

• Fish must be transported in a way that they can be counted and the species of each fish can be identified. If statewide length limits apply to the species, the head and tail must be intact so the fish can be measured. The fish must also be undressed while on experimental, special management, or other waters that have special length limits.

• It is illegal for anglers to transport live fish, including in livewells of trailered boats. The only exception is for purposes of display in a home aquarium. Here are the conditions: You can purchase game fish from an authorized licensee and transport the fish live if you have the necessary documents (such as a sales receipt), or, if you are age 16 or under, you may transport—if you’ve legally caught them by angling—largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, rock bass, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, orange spotted sunfish, and black, yellow, and brown bullhead. No more than four of each species may be transported at any one time, and any individual fish can be no longer than 10 inches in total length.

• It is illegal for anyone to have in possession, regardless of where taken, any fish outside the legal length limits for that species while on or fishing in experimental, special, or border waters.

• Possession or transporting white perch, ruffe, round goby or alewife is unlawful.

Angling methods
• Anglers may use only one hook. An artificial lure is considered one hook. A treble hook, when not part of an artificial lure, is considered three hooks and is not legal. The exceptions are: Three artificial flies may be used when angling for trout, crappie, sunfish, and rock bass.

• Anglers may use only one line. The exceptions are:

a) Two lines may be used through the ice (other than on designated trout lakes and streams); and b) Two lines may be used on Lake Superior when more than 100 yards from the point where a tributary stream or river enters the lake.

• Using whole or parts of game fish, goldfish, or carp for bait is unlawful.

• You may not intentionally fish for any species during its closed season.

• Angling with an unattended line, setline, or trotline is unlawful.

• Angling for any species on a designated trout water is unlawful when the trout season is closed.

• Possessing or using live minnows on designated stream trout lakes is unlawful. Only dried, frozen, or pickled (brined) minnows are allowed.

• Using an artificial light to lure or attract fish, or to see fish when spearing, is unlawful. Exception: While angling, a person may affix to the end of a fishing line a lighted artificial bait with hooks attached. Any battery that is used in lighted fishing lures cannot contain any intentionally introduced mercury.

• A party is defined as a group of two or more persons:

1) angling from a single watercraft; or

2) if not in a watercraft, maintaining unaided visual and vocal contact with each other. The total number of fish possessed by the party may not exceed the combined limits of the numbers of the party. Each party member may transport only an individual limit of fish.

• The use of explosives, firearms, chemicals (not including fish scents), or electricity for taking fish is unlawful.

• It is unlawful to intentionally take a fish by snagging.

• Transplanting aquatic plants, placing exotic species, applying chemicals and some types of cutting to control vegetation in any public waters requires a permit.

• Dragging boat anchors or other weights with a motor-propelled boat through aquatic vegetation is unlawful.

• Depositing fish entrails or fish parts into public waters or onto lake or stream shores is prohibited.

• Littering of any materials and depositing rubbish, poisonous substances, or chemicals harmful to aquatic life into public waters, onto ice, or lake stream shores is illegal. Fish line and various packaging materials can be harmful to wildlife.

• Marking or tagging fish and then releasing them without a DNR permit is unlawful.

• A DNR permit is required for any fishing contest where entry fees are over $25, prizes exceed $25,000, or when participants exceed 30 for open water and 150 for ice fishing. See website or call DNR Information Center for more information.

• A permit from the county sheriff is required for most organized events on the water or ice.

• Buying or selling game fish, whitefish, or cisco is unlawful. The exceptions are smelt and fish obtained under a commercial, private hatchery, or aquatic farm license.

• Transporting and stocking fish or fish eggs or transferring fish or fish eggs from one body of water to another is prohibited without a DNR permit.

• Some fish spawning areas are posted to prohibit motorized boat travel. Landowners or lessees adjacent to these areas may use the shortest and most direct route when traveling to and from their property, provided they operate their boat at no more than 5 mph.

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