Minnesota Fishing Regulations

Last Updated: 15.07.19

In the state of Minnesota, also nicknamed the land of 10,000 lakes, it’s virtually impossible to get bored as an angler. Once you get used to the regulations, there is nothing that can stand between you and a fishing expedition.


License options

In Minnesota, the options for a fishing license are more elaborate and flexible than in other states. You can get different licenses depending on age and residence but also on your needs and choices.

There are youth angling licenses, adult angling licenses, angling licenses with additional options, married angling and lifetime angling licenses.

You can choose an adult fishing license that expires in one or three days, one year or 3 years. Sports and super sports adult angling licenses give you access to small game and trout stamp respectively.

Additional options consist of trout and salmon stamps, sturgeon tags. Also, spearing, house or shelter, and netting options are to be found in the offer. Married angling licenses also come in several combinations and include a conservation bag limit.

Trout and salmon stamps are needed when you go fishing on Lake Superior and trout streams and lakes.


Fishing season

Walleye and bass season lasts from May 13 through February 25. Possession limit statewide is six walleye and bass, and you can’t take more than one walleye or sauger that’s bigger than 20 inches.

The same season dates apply for northern pike, but you can only have three such fish in possession, one of which can be over 30 inches in length.

Muskellunge capture has opened on the 3rd of June, and it stays open until the end of the year.

In the state of Minnesota, the largemouth bass harvest is limited at 6 per day. There is a catch and release week (13-26 May) in all areas except the Northeast and the open season lasts from may 13 until February 25.

Smallmouth bass season and limit is roughly the same as the one for largemouth bass, except the catch and release regulation starts in September and lasts until the end of the season.

Flathead fishing season begins April the 1st and ends on November 30. You can keep no more than 2 per day, but you can include them in the daily catfish limit of 5.

Crappie, sunfish, rock bass, white bass, channel catfish, perch, bullhead, and whitefish have no closed season.


Trout regulations

Trout species like brook, brown and rainbow trout are all part of the stream trout family and have a different regulation than inland lake trout or the one found on the tributaries of Lake Superior. Fishing for stream trout in designated waters can only be done with one line.

The state allows anglers to fish for stream trout starting 1 hour before sunrise but no longer than 11 pm.It is illegal to use live minnows to catch stream trout. Instead, you can use leeches and worms as well as dead (dried or frozen) minnows.

To take minnows or leeches from the designated trout waters is also not allowed. You would need a special permit to do that.

It’s important to know that transportation is also regulated. When you transport stream trout make sure it is in one piece, with its head, fins, skin, and tail in their place.

Open season for stream trout is from April 15 through October the 1st, and the amount of fish you can keep is up to 5, on condition that only one of them has more than 16 inches in length.

Winter regulations allow fishers the same amount of fish but the season opens in January and closes by the end of March.

Lake Superior has its own regulations that you need to observe, including fishing hours, number of lines and hook specifications.



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