Minnesota Fishing Laws

Gone Fishin’ (Minnesota)

May 27, 2021


The weather is heating up and summer is on the horizon. With the ice gone, people are starting to gear up for another open-water fishing season. Minnesota fishing opener for walleye, sauger, northern pike, bass, and lake trout just opened on May 15, 2021. Minnesota, known as the land of 10,000 lakes, is home to some great fishing opportunities. So, what do you need to know going into this fishing season?


In Minnesota, there are two common places where you can find the laws and regulations as they pertain to fishing. The first is under the Minnesota Statutes. Chapter 97C deals with many of the fishing laws and regulations. Another commonplace to find laws and regulations would be in the Minnesota Fishing Regulations put out by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The regulations took effect in March 2021 and go until February 28, 2022.


Both residents and non-residents are required to possess a valid Minnesota fishing license to fish within the state of Minnesota. Fishing without a license is a misdemeanor. However, some exceptions do apply. Resident youth anglers under the age of 16, may fish without a fishing license. A nonresident youth may also fish without a license if their parent or guardian has a fishing license. The fish taken by the nonresident youth will be counted towards the parent or guardians limit unless the youth buys a youth fishing license. Finally, residents can fish without an angling license during the three-day “Take a Kid Fishing Weekend.” This year’s event is from June 11-13, 2021.

Methods Of Fishing

The most common method of fishing in Minnesota is angling with lines and hooks. An angler may only use one line unless there is an exception. Other methods of fishing include bow fishing and spearing. It is important to understand the laws and regulations for each specific method of fishing and what species of fish can be taken.

Limits, Packaging, And Transporting

Limits for each respective fish can be found in the Minnesota Fishing Regulations. Due to the various different species and the many different waters contained within Minnesota, the fishing regulations vary greatly from place to place and species to species. Prior to going fishing, it is in your best interest to review the regulations for the species you are targeting and the specific body of water you will be fishing.

To prepare fish for transport, you must package the fish in a way that they can be readily unwrapped, separated, identified, and counted. A fish may not be cut into more than two fillets. Transportation of certain species requires that the head and tail remain intact so the fish can be measured. Most fish fillets must also have a 1-inch square patch of skin with scales intact from a portion of the body other than the belly so the fish can be easily identified.

In Conclusion

Game and Fish laws are always changing. If you or someone you know has been charged with a fish and game offense in Minnesota, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney to review your case. For help with criminal matters in North Dakota or Minnesota, please contact Adam Justinger at SW&L Attorneys in Fargo at 701-297-2890. For future articles, check out our blog.

This article is for informational purposes only.