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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

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, to restrict activities during high use periods, to restrict
activities that affect research or management work, to restrict the number of boats, 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 August 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 August 1
through the last Friday in September 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. "Established or traditional
fishing contest" means a fishing contest that was issued permits in 1999 and 2000 or was issued
permits four out of five years from 1996 to 2000 for the same lake and time period. Beginning
with 2001, established or traditional fishing contests must continue to be conducted at least four
out of five years for the same lake and time period to remain established or traditional.
(d) The commissioner has until November 7 to approve or deny permit applications that
are submitted by 4:30 p.m. on the last Friday in September. The commissioner may approve a
permit application that is received after 4:30 p.m. on the last Friday in September 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. The number of permitted fishing contests
allowed each month on a water body shall not exceed the following limits:
(1) Lakes:



Maximum number of
permitted fishing
contests
Maximum number
of large permitted
fishing contests
Maximum number
of permitted fishing
contest 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
For boundary water lakes, the limits on the number of permitted fishing contests shall be
determined based on the Minnesota acreage.
(2) Rivers:



Maximum number
of permitted fishing
contests
Maximum number of
large permitted fishing
contests
Maximum number
of permitted fishing
contest days



Mississippi River:
Pool 1, 2, 3, 5, 5A, 6,
7, 8, 9
4 (each pool)
2 (each pool)
8 (each pool)

Pool 4
5
3
10

St. Croix River
2
1
4

Lake St. Croix
4
2
8
Contest waters identified in the permit for Mississippi River pools are limited to no more
than one lockage upstream and one lockage downstream from the pool where the contest access
and weigh-in is located.
Contest waters for Lake St. Croix are bounded by the U.S. Highway 10 bridge at Prescott
upstream to the Arcola Bar. Contest waters for the St. Croix River are bounded by the Arcola Bar
upstream to the Wisconsin state line.
For all other rivers, no more than two contest permits, not to exceed four days combined,
may be issued for any continuous segment of a river per month. Of the two contests permitted,
only one shall be a large permitted fishing contest. Permits issued by the commissioner shall not
exceed 60 continuous river miles.
    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 mortality of released fish, the commissioner may require restrictions
for off-site weigh-ins and live releases on a fishing contest permit or may deny permits requesting
an off-site weigh-in or live release.
(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.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 17; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1993 c 231 s 49-51; 1993 c 269 s 25;
1Sp1995 c 1 s 33; 2000 c 473 s 13-19; 2002 c 351 s 22; 2006 c 281 art 2 s 43-46