97C.081 Fishing contests.
Subdivision 1. Restrictions. A person may not conduct a fishing contest on waters except as provided in this section.
Subd. 2. Contests without a permit. A person may conduct a fishing contest without a permit from the commissioner provided:
(1) the following criteria are met:
(i) there are 30 participants or less for open water contests and 150 participants or less for ice fishing contests;
(ii) the entry fee is $25 per person or less;
(iii) the total prize value is $25,000 or less; and
(iv) the contest is not limited to trout species only;
(2) the following criteria are met:
(i) the contest is not limited to specifically named waters; and
(ii) the contest is not limited to trout species only; or
(3) all the contest participants are age 18 years or under.
Subd. 3. Contests requiring a permit. (a) A person must have a permit from the commissioner to conduct a fishing contest that does not meet the criteria in subdivision 2. Permits shall be issued without a fee.
(b) If entry fees are over $25 per person, or total prizes are valued at more than $25,000, and if the applicant has either:
(1) not previously conducted a fishing contest requiring a permit under this subdivision; or
(2) ever failed to make required prize awards in a fishing contest conducted by the applicant, the commissioner may require the applicant to furnish the commissioner evidence of financial responsibility in the form of a surety bond or bank letter of credit in the amount of $25,000.
Subd. 4. Restrictions. The commissioner may by rule establish restrictions on fishing contests to protect fish and fish habitat and for the safety of contest participants.
Subd. 5. Ice fishing contest in conjunction with raffle. An organization that is permitted under this section and licensed by the lawful gambling control board to conduct raffles may conduct a raffle in conjunction with an ice fishing contest. The organization may sell a combined ticket for a single price for the ice fishing contest and raffle, provided that the combined ticket states in at least eight-point type the amount of the price that applies to the ice fishing contest and the amount that applies to the raffle. All other provisions of sections 349.11 to 349.23 apply to the raffle.
Subd. 6. Permit application process. (a) Beginning September 1 each year, the commissioner shall accept permit applications for fishing contests to be held in the following year.
(b) If the number of permit applications received by the commissioner from September 1 through the last Friday in October exceeds the limits specified in subdivisions 7 and 8, the commissioner shall notify the affected applicants that their requested locations and time period are subject to a drawing. After notification, the commissioner shall allow the affected applicants a minimum of seven days to change the location or time period requested on their applications, provided that the change is not to a location or time period for which applications are already at or above the limits specified in subdivisions 7 and 8.
(c) After the applicants have been given at least seven days to change their applications, the commissioner shall conduct a drawing for all locations and time periods for which applications exceed limits. First preference in the drawings shall be given to applicants for established or traditional fishing contests, and second preference to applicants for contests that are not established as traditional fishing contests based on the number of times they have been unsuccessful in previous drawings. Except for applicants of established or traditional fishing contests, an applicant who is successful in a drawing loses all accumulated preference.
(d) The commissioner has until December 7 to approve or deny permit applications that are submitted by 4:30 p.m. on the last Friday in October. The commissioner may approve a permit application that is received after 4:30 p.m. on the last Friday in October if approving the application would not result in exceeding the limits in subdivisions 7 and 8.
Subd. 7. Weekend limitations. (a) On all waters 55,000 acres or less, the commissioner may ensure that each of the state's waters has at least two weekends per month with no permitted fishing contests.
(b) Unless otherwise authorized by the commissioner, permitted fishing contests that are conducted for more than one day may not include more than one weekend day from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
(c) The commissioner may not approve permits for fishing contests on a weekend with a fishing season opener if the contest targets a species for which the season is opening.
Subd. 8. Limits on number of fishing contests. (a) The number of permitted fishing contests allowed each month on a water body shall not exceed the following limits:
Maximum number Maximum number Maximum number of permitted of large of permitted fishing permitted fishing contests fishing contest contests days
Size/acres less than 2,000 2 0 4 2,000-4,999 3 1 6 5,000-14,999 4 2 8 15,000-55,000 5 3 10 more than 55,000 no limit no limit no limit
(b) For boundary waters, the limits on the number of permitted fishing contests shall be determined based on the Minnesota acreage.
Subd. 8a. Additional fishing contest permits. Notwithstanding the limits in subdivision 8, the commissioner may allow up to five additional permits each year for fishing contests on bodies of water that are 5,000 acres or more in size. No more than one additional contest may be permitted on one body of water in a single year. For additional fishing contests permitted under this subdivision, the fishing contest permit applicant must demonstrate to the commissioner that the contest will:
(1) provide economic benefits to the local area;
(2) promote public awareness of fishing and the state's resources; and
(3) conform to best management practices for the lake.
Subd. 9. Permit restrictions. (a) The commissioner may require fishing contest permittees to limit prefishing to week days only as a condition of a fishing contest permit. The commissioner may require proof from permittees that prefishing restrictions on the permit are communicated to fishing contest participants and enforced.
(b) The commissioner may require permit restrictions on the hours that a permitted fishing contest is conducted, including, but not limited to, starting and ending times.
(c) The commissioner may require permit restrictions on the number of parking spaces that may be used on a state-owned public water access site. The commissioner may require proof from permittees that parking restrictions on the permit are communicated to fishing contest participants and enforced.
(d) To prevent undue loss of fish, the commissioner may require restrictions for off-site weigh-ins on a fishing contest permit or may deny permits requesting an off-site weigh-in.
(e) A person may not transfer a fishing contest permit to another person.
(f) Failure to comply with fishing contest permit restrictions may be considered grounds for denial of future permit applications.
Subd. 10. Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms have the meanings given:
(a) "Permitted fishing contest" means an open water fishing contest or ice fishing contest that requires a permit from the commissioner under subdivision 3.
(b) "Large permitted fishing contest" means an open water fishing contest with more than 50 boats or more than 100 participants that requires a permit from the commissioner under subdivision 3.
(c) "Participant" means a person who is taking part in a fishing contest.
(d) "Permitted fishing contest day" means a day on a water body where a permitted fishing contest is held. Two permitted fishing contests that are held on the same water body on the same day count as two permitted fishing contest days.
(e) "Off-site weigh-in" means a weigh-in of fish from a fishing contest at a location that is not adjacent to the waters listed on the fishing contest permit.
(f) "Prefishing" means fishing by participants of a permitted fishing contest prior to the scheduled dates of the contest on waters listed on the fishing contest permit.