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CHAPTER 97C. FISHING

Table of Sections
SectionHeadnote

FISHING HABITAT

97C.001EXPERIMENTAL WATERS.
97C.003Repealed, 2002 c 351 s 34
97C.005SPECIAL MANAGEMENT WATERS.
97C.011MUSKELLUNGE LAKES.
97C.015Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52
97C.02ACQUISITION OF CRITICAL AQUATIC HABITAT.
97C.021ANGLING RESTRICTED IN TROUT STREAMS.
97C.025FISHING AND MOTORBOATS RESTRICTED IN CERTAIN AREAS.
97C.031LAKES WITH UNBALANCED FISH POPULATIONS.
97C.035ENDANGERED FISH POPULATIONS.
97C.041COMMISSIONER MAY REMOVE ROUGH FISH AND CATFISH.
97C.045REMOVAL OF ROUGH FISH FROM BOUNDARY WATERS.
97C.051SPECIAL PERMITS TO USE PISCICIDES.
97C.055DEAD FISH REMOVAL.
97C.061DRAGGING A WEIGHT OR AN ANCHOR THROUGH VEGETATION.
97C.065POLLUTANTS IN WATERS.
97C.071PERMIT REQUIRED FOR STRUCTURE IN PUBLIC WATERS.
97C.075FISH SCREENS IN FLOWING WATERS.
97C.077FISH SCREENS IN LAKES.
97C.081FISHING CONTESTS.
97C.085PERMIT REQUIRED FOR TAGGING FISH.
97C.087SPECIAL FISH MANAGEMENT TAGS.

PROPAGATION

97C.201STATE FISH STOCKING PROHIBITED WITHOUT PUBLIC ACCESS.
97C.203DISPOSAL OF STATE HATCHERY PRODUCTS.
97C.205TRANSPORTING AND STOCKING FISH.
97C.209Repealed, 1992 c 566 s 23
97C.211PRIVATE FISH HATCHERIES.
97C.215SPECIAL PERMITS FOR UNITED STATES AGENTS.

FISHING METHODS

97C.301LICENSE REQUIRED TO TAKE FISH.
97C.305TROUT AND SALMON STAMP VALIDATION.
97C.311LAKE SUPERIOR FISHING GUIDE LICENSE.
97C.315ANGLING LINES AND HOOKS.
97C.317FISHING AS A PARTY.
97C.321RESTRICTIONS ON UNATTENDED LINES.
97C.32597C.325 RESTRICTIONS ON TAKING FISH.
97C.327MEASUREMENT OF FISH LENGTH.
97C.331SNAGGING FISH PROHIBITED.
97C.33597C.335 USE OF ARTIFICIAL LIGHTS TO TAKE FISH PROHIBITED.
97C.341CERTAIN FISH PROHIBITED FOR BAIT.
97C.345RESTRICTIONS ON USE AND POSSESSION OF NETS AND SPEARS.
97C.347Repealed, 1988 c 588 s 17
97C.351FISH NETS MUST HAVE TAG ATTACHED.
97C.355SHELTERS ON ICE; DARK HOUSES AND FISH HOUSES.
97C.361RESTRICTIONS ON FISH HOUSES AND DARK HOUSES IN THE BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA.
97C.365Repealed, 2007 c 131 art 1 s 96
97C.371SPEARING FISH.
97C.375TAKING ROUGH FISH BY SPEARING OR ARCHERY.
97C.381HARPOONING ROUGH FISH.
97C.385COMMISSIONER'S AUTHORITY TO REGULATE WINTER FISHING.
97C.391BUYING AND SELLING FISH.
97C.392Never effective, 2004 c 215 s 29; 2004 c 255 s 51
97C.395OPEN SEASONS FOR ANGLING.
97C.401LIMITS.
97C.402Repealed, 1988 c 588 s 17
97C.403Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52
97C.405MUSKELLUNGE SIZE LIMITS.
97C.411STURGEON AND PADDLEFISH.
97C.415TROUT AND SALMON.
97C.41797C.417 REPORTING ASIAN CARP.

MINNOWS

97C.501MINNOW LICENSES REQUIRED.
97C.505MINNOWS.
97C.511MINNOW SEINES.
97C.515IMPORTED MINNOWS.
97C.521TRANSPORTATION OF CARP FINGERLINGS PROHIBITED.
97C.525RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSPORTATION OF MINNOWS.

AMPHIBIANS

97C.601FROGS.

REPTILES

97C.605TURTLES.
97C.611SNAPPING TURTLES; LIMITS.
97C.615Repealed, 1989 c 266 s 5
97C.621AREAS MAY BE CLOSED TO TAKING TURTLES.

MUSSELS AND CLAMS

97C.701TAKING MUSSELS.
97C.705MUSSEL SEASONS.
97C.711UNDERSIZED MUSSELS.

NETTING AND COMMERCIAL FISHING

97C.801TAKING ROUGH FISH ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
97C.805NETTING OF LAKE WHITEFISH AND CISCOES.
97C.811COMMERCIAL FISHING IN INLAND WATERS.
97C.815COMMERCIAL FISHING AREAS.
97C.821POSSESSION, SALE, AND TRANSPORTATION OF COMMERCIAL FISH.
97C.825LAKE OF THE WOODS AND RAINY LAKE FISHING.
97C.827LAKE OF THE WOODS; COMMERCIAL FISHING OF ROUGH FISH.
97C.831NAMAKAN AND SAND POINT LAKES; COMMERCIAL FISHING.
97C.835LAKE SUPERIOR COMMERCIAL FISHING.
97C.83697C.836 LAKE SUPERIOR LAKE TROUT EXPANDED ASSESSMENT HARVEST.
97C.841APPRENTICE LICENSE.
97C.843POSSESSION FOR COMMERCIAL NETTING.
97C.845INTERFERENCE WITH COMMERCIAL FISHING.
97C.851COMMERCIAL FISHING IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS; RESORT OWNERS.
97C.855UPPER AND LOWER RED LAKE AND NETT LAKE; TRANSPORTATION, SALE, AND DISPOSAL.
97C.861FISH VENDOR REQUIREMENTS.
97C.865FISH PACKERS.
97C.871CRAYFISH.

FISHING HABITAT

97C.001 EXPERIMENTAL WATERS.
    Subdivision 1. Definition; designation. (a) Experimental waters are lakes and streams where
special regulations are used and evaluated to meet a specific fisheries objective.
(b) The commissioner may designate any waters of the state having free access to the public
as experimental waters. The designated experimental waters may not exceed 200 lakes and 50
streams at one time. For all experimental waters, the commissioner shall develop an evaluation
plan and specify a termination date. On the termination date, the commissioner shall vacate or
extend the experimental waters designation, or designate the experimental waters as special
management waters under section 97C.005. The commissioner shall by rule establish methods
and criteria for public initiation of experimental waters designation and for public participation in
the evaluation of the waters designated.
(c) Designation of experimental waters under this section is not subject to chapter 14.
    Subd. 2. Public notice and meeting. (a) Before the commissioner designates, or vacates
or extends the designation of, experimental waters, a public meeting must be held in the county
where the largest portion of the waters is located.
(b) At least 90 days before the public meeting and during the open angling season for fish
the taking of which is, or is proposed to be, regulated under subdivision 3 on the waters under
consideration, notice of the proposed designation, vacation, or extension must be posted at
publicly maintained access points on the water.
(c) Before the public meeting, notice of the meeting must be published in a news release
issued by the commissioner and in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the
proposed experimental waters are located. The notice must be published at least once between 30
and 60 days before the meeting, and at least once between seven and 30 days before the meeting.
(d) The notices required in this subdivision must summarize the proposed action, invite
public comment, and specify a deadline for the receipt of public comments. The commissioner
shall mail a copy of each required notice to persons who have registered their names with the
commissioner for this purpose. The commissioner shall consider any public comments received
in making a final decision.
(e) If a water to be designated is a lake with a water area of more than 1,500 acres, or is a
stream or river with a reach of more than six miles, a public meeting must also be held in the
seven-county metropolitan area.
    Subd. 3. Seasons, limits, and other requirements. The commissioner may, in accordance
with the procedures in subdivision 2 or by rule under chapter 14, establish open seasons, limits,
methods, and other requirements for taking fish on experimental waters.
History: 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 386 art 3 s 1; 1992 c 462 s 15; 2000 c 473 s 12
97C.003 [Repealed, 2002 c 351 s 34]
97C.005 SPECIAL MANAGEMENT WATERS.
    Subdivision 1. Definition; designation. (a) Special management waters are waters that:
(1) have been subject to special regulations that have been evaluated and proven effective
under an experimental waters designation under section 97C.001; or
(2) are classified by the commissioner for primary use as trophy lakes, family fishing lakes,
designated trout lakes, designated trout streams, special species management lakes, and other
designated uses.
(b) The commissioner may designate any waters of the state, including experimental waters,
as special management waters. The commissioner shall by rule establish methods and criteria for
public participation in the evaluation and designation of waters as special management waters.
(c) Designation of special management waters under this section is not subject to chapter 14.
    Subd. 2. Public notice and meeting. (a) Before the commissioner designates special
management waters, public comment must be received and, for waters other than those proposed
to be designated as trout streams or trout lakes, a public meeting must be held in the county
where the largest portion of the waters is located.
(b) For waters previously designated as experimental waters, a proposed change in status to
special management waters must be announced before the public meeting by notice published
in a news release issued by the commissioner and in a newspaper of general circulation in the
area where the waters are located. The notice must be published at least once between 30 and 60
days before the public meeting, and at least once between seven and 30 days before the meeting.
If a water proposed to be designated is a lake with a water area of more than 1,500 acres, or is
a stream or river with a reach of more than six miles, a public meeting must also be held in
the seven-county metropolitan area.
(c) For proposed special management waters, other than designated trout lakes and
designated trout streams, that were not previously designated as experimental waters, notice of
the proposed designation must be given as provided in this paragraph. The notice must be posted
at publicly maintained access points at least 90 days before the public meeting and during the
open angling season for fish the taking of which on the waters is proposed to be regulated under
subdivision 3. Before the public meeting, notice of the meeting must be published in a news
release issued by the commissioner and in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where
the proposed special management waters are located. The notice must be published at least
once between 30 and 60 days before the meeting, and at least once between seven and 30 days
before the meeting. If a water to be designated is a lake with a water area of more than 1,500
acres, or is a stream or river with a reach of more than six miles, a public meeting must also be
held in the seven-county metropolitan area.
(d) For waters proposed to be designated as trout streams or trout lakes, notice of the
proposed designation must be published at least 90 days before the effective date of the
designation in a news release issued by the commissioner and in a newspaper of general
circulation in the area where the waters are located. In addition, all riparian owners along the
waters must be notified at least 90 days before the effective date of the designation.
(e) The notices required in this subdivision must summarize the proposed action, invite
public comment, and specify a deadline for the receipt of public comments. The commissioner
shall mail a copy of each required notice to persons who have registered their names with the
commissioner for this purpose. The commissioner shall consider any public comments received
in making a final decision.
    Subd. 3. Seasons, limits, and other rules. The commissioner may, in accordance with the
procedures in subdivision 2, paragraphs (c) and (e), or by rule under chapter 14, establish open
seasons, limits, methods, and other requirements for taking fish on special management waters.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 2; 1992 c 462 s 16
97C.011 MUSKELLUNGE LAKES.
(a) The commissioner may, after preparing a statement of need and reasonableness and
holding a public meeting, designate waters with muskellunge as muskellunge waters.
(b) The commissioner may prescribe rules for each designated muskellunge waters that:
(1) restrict spearing from a dark house;
(2) restrict angling from a dark house;
(3) limit the open season to take fish;
(4) limit the size of fish that may be kept; and
(5) limit the number of each species of fish that may be kept.
(c) The commissioner must give notice and hold a hearing before adopting rules under this
subdivision. The rules must have a termination date and may only be extended upon a showing
by the commissioner, at a hearing, that the muskellunge population in the designated waters
has been enhanced.
(d) The provisions of section 97C.385, subdivision 1, requiring the angling season on a lake
to be closed in proportion to the spearing season do not apply to designated muskellunge lakes.
(e) The commissioner, in designating a muskellunge water on lakes wholly or partially
within an Indian reservation, may not designate a whole lake larger than 29,775 acres in surface
area, except that sensitive areas of lakes larger than 29,775 acres may be designated if clause
(a) is complied with.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 3; 1988 c 714 s 2
97C.015 [Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52]
97C.02 ACQUISITION OF CRITICAL AQUATIC HABITAT.
The commissioner shall acquire lands that are critical for fish and other aquatic life and
that meet criteria described for aquatic management areas in section 86A.05, subdivision 14.
The lands that are acquired may be developed to manage lakes, rivers, streams, and adjacent
wetlands and lands for aquatic life, water quality, intrinsic biological value, public fishing, and
other compatible outdoor recreational uses. The land may be acquired by gift, lease, easement,
or purchase. The commissioner shall designate land acquired under this subdivision as aquatic
management areas for the purposes of the outdoor recreation system.
History: 2000 c 495 s 40
97C.021 ANGLING RESTRICTED IN TROUT STREAMS.
A person may only take fish from a designated trout stream during the open season for
trout in the stream.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 5
97C.025 FISHING AND MOTORBOATS RESTRICTED IN CERTAIN AREAS.
(a) The commissioner may prohibit or restrict the taking of fish or the operation of
motorboats by posting waters that:
(1) are designated as spawning beds or fish preserves;
(2) are being used by the commissioner for fisheries research or management activities; or
(3) are licensed by the commissioner as a private fish hatchery or aquatic farm under section
17.4984, subdivision 1, or 97C.211, subdivision 1.
An area may be posted under this paragraph if necessary to prevent excessive depletion of fish or
interference with fisheries research or management activities or private fish hatchery or aquatic
farm operations.
(b) The commissioner will consider the following criteria in determining if waters licensed
under a private fish hatchery or aquatic farm should be posted under paragraph (a):
(1) the waters contain game fish brood stock that are vital to the private fish hatchery
or aquatic farm operation;
(2) game fish are present in the licensed waters only as a result of aquaculture activities
by the licensee; and
(3) no public access to the waters existed when the waters were first licensed.
(c) A private fish hatchery or aquatic farm licensee may not take fish or authorize others
to take fish in licensed waters that are posted under paragraph (a), except as provided in section
17.4983, subdivision 3, and except that if waters are posted to allow the taking of fish under
special restrictions, licensees and others who can legally access the waters may take fish under
those special restrictions.
(d) Before March 1, 2003, riparian landowners adjacent to licensed waters on April 30, 2002,
and riparian landowners who own land adjacent to waters licensed after April 30, 2002, on the
date the waters become licensed waters, plus their children and grandchildren, may take two
daily limits of fish per month under an angling license subject to the other limits and conditions
in the game and fish laws.
(e) Except as provided in paragraphs (c), (d), and (f), a person may not take fish or operate a
motorboat if prohibited by posting under paragraph (a).
(f) An owner of riparian land adjacent to an area posted under paragraph (a) may operate
a motorboat through the area by the shortest direct route at a speed of not more than five miles
per hour.
(g) Postings for water bodies designated under paragraph (a), clause (1), or being used
for fisheries research or management under paragraph (a), clause (2), are not subject to the
rulemaking provisions of chapter 14 and section 14.386 does not apply.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 6; 1993 c 231 s 47; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 32; 2002 c 351 s 21; 2006 c
281 art 2 s 42
97C.031 LAKES WITH UNBALANCED FISH POPULATIONS.
The commissioner may establish and amend a list of lakes and rivers that have been found
by the fisheries director to contain an unbalanced fish population, or to contain species of fish
that have become stunted from overpopulation. The list may not include more than 100 lakes
and rivers, or more than six in a county. The commissioner may, by rule, establish open seasons,
limits, and methods of taking fish from lakes and rivers on the list. The rule must be published
in each county containing the lake or river.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 7; 1991 c 259 s 23; 2002 c 323 s 15
97C.035 ENDANGERED FISH POPULATIONS.
    Subdivision 1. Conditions. If the commissioner determines that fish are in danger of dying,
or if waters will be restored with the use of piscicides, the commissioner may rescue the fish under
subdivision 2 or allow taking of the fish under subdivision 3.
    Subd. 2. Rescue of fish. If the commissioner rescues fish endangered by lack of oxygen in
the winter, the fish may be transferred to other waters, sold, or otherwise disposed of.
    Subd. 3. Taking of fish. (a) The commissioner may authorize residents to take fish:
(1) in any quantity;
(2) in any manner, except by use of seines, hoop nets, fyke nets, and explosives; and
(3) for personal use only, except rough fish may be sold.
(b) The commissioner may authorize the taking of fish by posting notice conspicuously along
the shore of the waters and publishing a news release in a newspaper of general circulation in the
area where the waters are located.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 8; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1996 c 410 s 41; 1997 c 226 s 36
97C.041 COMMISSIONER MAY REMOVE ROUGH FISH AND CATFISH.
The commissioner may take rough fish, lake whitefish, and rainbow smelt with seines,
nets, and other devices. The commissioner may also take catfish with seines, nets, and other
devices on the Minnesota-Wisconsin boundary waters. The commissioner may hire or contract
persons, or issue permits, to take the fish. The commissioner shall prescribe the manner of taking
and disposal. The commissioner may award a contract under this section without competitive
bidding. Before establishing the contractor's compensation, the commissioner must consider the
qualifications of the contractor, including the contractor's equipment, knowledge of the waters,
and ability to perform the work.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 9; 2000 c 495 s 41
97C.045 REMOVAL OF ROUGH FISH FROM BOUNDARY WATERS.
The commissioner may enter into agreements with North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin,
and Iowa, relating to the removal of rough fish in boundary waters. The agreements may include:
(1) contracting to remove rough fish;
(2) inspection of the work;
(3) the division of proceeds; and
(4) regulating the taking of rough fish.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 10
97C.051 SPECIAL PERMITS TO USE PISCICIDES.
    Subdivision 1. Permit. (a) The commissioner may issue a special permit, without a fee, to
apply piscicides to restore waters at the permittee's expense. The commissioner may by rule
prescribe insurance requirements for permit applicants.
(b) A permit under this section may be issued to an individual, a group of riparian owners,
or a lake improvement association. The permit may only be issued if all riparian owners have
consented in writing.
    Subd. 2. Taking of fish. The commissioner may set special open seasons, limits, and
methods to take fish before the piscicides are applied. The commissioner must post the special
provisions at or near the waters.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 11; 1993 c 231 s 48
97C.055 DEAD FISH REMOVAL.
The commissioner shall remove and dispose of dead fish that accumulate in or upon the
shores of public waters in quantities that are a public nuisance or are detrimental to game fish.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 12
97C.061 DRAGGING A WEIGHT OR AN ANCHOR THROUGH VEGETATION.
A person may not use a motorboat to drag an anchor or other weight through aquatic
vegetation, except by commissioner's rule.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 13; 1991 c 259 s 23
97C.065 POLLUTANTS IN WATERS.
A person may not dispose of any substance in state waters, or allow any substance to enter
state waters, in quantities that injure or are detrimental to the propagation of wild animals or taint
the flesh of wild animals. Each day of violation is a separate offense. An occurring or continuous
violation is a public nuisance. An action may be brought by the attorney general to enjoin and
abate nuisance upon request of the commissioner. This section does not apply to chemicals used
for pest control for the general welfare of the public.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 14
97C.071 PERMIT REQUIRED FOR STRUCTURE IN PUBLIC WATERS.
A person may not construct or maintain a dam or other obstruction, except a boat pier, in or
over public waters without a permit from the commissioner. The commissioner may establish
permit conditions for the construction or modification of a fishway around or over a dam or
obstruction.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 15
97C.075 FISH SCREENS IN FLOWING WATERS.
A person may not obstruct a creek, stream, or river to prevent the passage of fish with a rack
or screen without the permission of the commissioner. The person that erected the obstruction, or
the owner of the land where the obstruction is located, must immediately remove the obstruction
upon order of the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 16
97C.077 FISH SCREENS IN LAKES.
    Subdivision 1. Lake in one county. If all or a major part of a navigable lake is located within
a single county and has been stocked with fish by the United States government, the county board,
in order to maintain fish in the lake and prevent their escape from the lake, may erect and maintain
screens at the inlets and outlets of the lake. The county board may appropriate from the county
treasury money for the erection and maintenance of the screens.
    Subd. 2. Lake in more than one county. If a lake is located in more than one county, the
county boards of the affected counties may jointly provide for the erection and maintenance of
screens. The expense of the screens and maintenance must be paid equally between the counties,
and the county boards must appropriate money from the county treasury of their respective
counties to pay the expenses of the screens and maintenance.
History: 1990 c 391 art 8 s 26
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. The
commissioner shall charge a fee for the permit that recovers the costs of issuing the permit and of
monitoring the activities allowed by the permit. The commissioner may waive the fee under this
subdivision for a charitable organization. Notwithstanding section 16A.1283, the commissioner
may, by written order published in the State Register, establish contest permit fees. The fees are
not subject to the rulemaking provisions of chapter 14 and section 14.386 does not apply.
    (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.
    (c) The permit fee for any individual contest may not exceed the following amounts:
    (1) $120 for an open water contest not exceeding 100 participants and without off-site
weigh-in;
    (2) $400 for an open water contest with more than 100 participants and without off-site
weigh-in;
    (3) $500 for an open water contest not exceeding 100 participants with off-site weigh-in;
    (4) $1,000 for an open water contest with more than 100 participants with off-site weigh-in;
or
    (5) $120 for an ice fishing contest with more than 150 participants.
    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; 2007 c
57 art 1 s 101
97C.085 PERMIT REQUIRED FOR TAGGING FISH.
A person may not tag or otherwise mark a live fish for identification without a permit from
the commissioner, except for special fish management tags as authorized under section 97A.551.
History: 1993 c 231 s 52; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 2 s 114
97C.087 SPECIAL FISH MANAGEMENT TAGS.
    Subdivision 1. Tags to be issued. If the commissioner determines it is necessary to require
that a species of fish be tagged with a special fish management tag, the commissioner shall
prescribe, by rule, the species to be tagged, tagging procedures, and eligibility requirements.
    Subd. 2. Application for tag. Application for special fish management tags must be
accompanied by a $5, nonrefundable application fee for each tag. A person may not make
more than one tag application each year. If a person makes more than one application, the
person is ineligible for a special fish management tag for that season after determination by the
commissioner, without a hearing.
History: 1Sp2005 c 1 art 2 s 115

PROPAGATION

97C.201 STATE FISH STOCKING PROHIBITED WITHOUT PUBLIC ACCESS.
The commissioner and state agencies may only stock fish in waters where there is public
access. The commissioner may stock fish in any stream within privately owned lands where the
public is granted free access to and use of the stream for fishing purposes.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 18; 1986 c 424 s 2
97C.203 DISPOSAL OF STATE HATCHERY PRODUCTS.
The commissioner shall dispose of fish hatchery products according to the following order of
priorities:
(1) distribution of fish eggs and fry to state hatcheries to hatch fry or raise fingerlings for
stocking waters of the state for recreational fishing;
(2) transfer to other government agencies in exchange for fish or wildlife resources of equal
value or private fish hatcheries in exchange for fish to be stocked in waters of the state for
recreational fishing;
(3) sale to private fish hatcheries or licensed aquatic farms at a price not less than the fair
wholesale market value, established as the average price charged at the state's private hatcheries
and contiguous states per volume rates;
(4) transfer to other government agencies, colleges, or universities for cooperative fish
management and research purposes; and
(5) sale of not more than $25 fair market value to any school, museum, or commercial
enterprise for curriculum implementation, educational programs, public exhibition, or cooperative
displays.
History: 1987 c 318 s 3; 1992 c 566 s 18; 1993 c 226 s 16; 1996 c 410 s 42; 2005 c 146 s 43
97C.205 TRANSPORTING AND STOCKING FISH.
(a) Except on the water body where taken, a person may not transport a live fish in a quantity
of water sufficient to keep the fish alive, unless the fish:
(1) is being transported under an aquaculture license as authorized under sections 17.4985
and 17.4986;
(2) is being transported for a fishing contest weigh-in under section 97C.081;
(3) is a minnow being transported under section 97C.505 or 97C.515;
(4) is being transported by a commercial fishing license holder under section 97C.821; or
(5) is being transported as otherwise authorized in this section.
(b) The commissioner may adopt rules to allow and regulate:
(1) the transportation of fish and fish eggs; and
(2) the stocking of waters with fish or fish eggs.
(c) The commissioner shall prescribe rules designed to encourage local sporting organizations
to propagate game fish by using rearing ponds. The rules must:
(1) prescribe methods to acquire brood stock for the ponds by seining public waters;
(2) allow the sporting organizations to own and use seines and other necessary equipment;
and
(3) prescribe methods for stocking the fish in public waters that give priority to the needs
of the community where the fish are reared and the desires of the organization operating the
rearing pond.
(d) A person age 16 or under may, for purposes of display in a home aquarium, transport
largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, rock bass, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill
pumpkinseed, green sunfish, orange spotted sunfish, and black, yellow, and brown bullheads
taken by angling. No more than four of each species may be transported at any one time, and any
individual fish can be no longer than ten inches in total length.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 19; 1993 c 231 s 53; 1996 c 410 s 43; 2006 c 281 art 2 s 47
97C.209 [Repealed, 1992 c 566 s 23]
97C.211 PRIVATE FISH HATCHERIES.
    Subdivision 1. License required. A person may not operate a private fish hatchery without
a private fish hatchery license. A private fish hatchery is a facility for raising fish, including
minnows, for sale, stocking waters, angling, or processing. A private fish hatchery license is valid
for five years but must be renewed annually.
    Subd. 2. Rules for operation. The commissioner shall prescribe rules that allow a person
to maintain and operate a private fish hatchery to raise and dispose of fish. The commissioner
shall establish and assess a fee to cover the cost of inspection and disease certification of private
hatcheries.
    Subd. 2a. Acquisition of fish. (a) A private fish hatchery may not obtain fish outside of the
state unless the fish or the source of the fish are approved by the commissioner. The commissioner
may apply more stringent requirements to fish or a source of fish from outside the state than are
applied to fish and sources of fish from within the state. The commissioner must either approve
or deny the acquisition within 30 days after receiving a written request for approval. Minnows
acquired must be processed and not released into public waters, except as provided in section
97C.515, subdivision 4. A request may be for annual acquisition.
(b) If the commissioner denies approval, a written notice must be submitted to the applicant
stating the reasons for the denial and the commissioner must:
(1) designate approved sources to obtain the desired fish or fish eggs; or
(2) sell the fish or fish eggs from state fish hatcheries at fair market value.
    Subd. 3. Fishing license not required for persons to take fish. A person may take fish by
angling without a fishing license at a licensed private fish hatchery or an artificial pool containing
only fish purchased from a private fish hatchery, if the operator of the hatchery or pool furnishes
each person catching fish a certificate prescribed by the commissioner. The certificate must
state the number and species of the fish caught and other information as prescribed by the
commissioner. A person without a fishing license may possess, ship, and transport within the state
the fish caught in the same manner as fish taken by a resident with a fishing license.
    Subd. 4. License required to take sucker eggs. A person may not take sucker eggs from
public waters for a private fish hatchery without a license to do so.
    Subd. 5. Price of walleye fry. The commissioner may not sell walleye fry for less than fair
market value, defined as the average price charged by private walleye fry wholesalers located in
Minnesota.
    Subd. 6. Nonpublic records. Information on production, harvest, and sales of aquatic life by
a private fish hatchery is nonpublic information.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 20; 1987 c 318 s 5-7; 1987 c 404 s 134; 1988 c 588 s 11,12;
1997 c 226 s 37,38
97C.215 SPECIAL PERMITS FOR UNITED STATES AGENTS.
The commissioner may issue a special permit, without a fee, to an authorized agent of the
United States to conduct fish culture operations, rescue work, and related fishery operations.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 21

FISHING METHODS

97C.301 LICENSE REQUIRED TO TAKE FISH.
    Subdivision 1. Requirement. Unless exempted under section 97A.445, 97A.451, or
97A.465, subdivision 1, a person must have a license to take fish as provided in this section.
    Subd. 2. Angling. A person may not take fish without an angling license.
    Subd. 3. Spearing. A person may not take fish by spearing from a dark house without a dark
house spearing license and an angling license.
    Subd. 4. Netting. A person may not take fish by netting without the required license to net
fish and an angling license.
    Subd. 5. Aquatic farms. An aquatic farm licensee may take aquatic life under the aquatic
farm license and its endorsements as authorized without additional licenses under the game and
fish laws.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 22; 1992 c 566 s 19
97C.305 TROUT AND SALMON STAMP VALIDATION.
    Subdivision 1. Requirement. Except as provided in subdivision 2 or section 97A.405,
subdivision 2
, a person over age 16 and under age 65 required to possess an angling license must
have a trout and salmon stamp validation to:
(1) take fish by angling in:
(i) a stream designated by the commissioner as a trout stream;
(ii) a lake designated by the commissioner as a trout lake; or
(iii) Lake Superior; or
(2) possess trout or salmon taken in the state by angling.
    Subd. 2. Exception. A trout and salmon stamp validation is not required to take fish by
angling or to possess trout and salmon if:
(1) the person:
(i) possesses a license to take fish by angling for a period of 24 hours from the time of
issuance under section 97A.475, subdivision 6, clause (5), or subdivision 7, clause (5), and
(ii) is taking fish by angling, or the trout or salmon were taken by the person, during the
period the license is valid;
(2) the person is taking fish, or the trout or salmon were taken by the person, as authorized
under section 97C.035; or
(3) the person has a valid license issued under section 97A.441, subdivision 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 23; 1988 c 437 s 5; 1995 c 220 s 90; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 34; 1996 c
410 s 44; 1997 c 216 s 88; 1Sp2001 c 2 s 119; 2002 c 323 s 16
97C.311 LAKE SUPERIOR FISHING GUIDE LICENSE.
    Subdivision 1. License required. A person may not operate a charter boat and guide anglers
on Lake Superior or the St. Louis River Estuary for compensation without a fishing guide
license. For purposes of this subdivision and section 97A.475, subdivision 15, "St. Louis River
Estuary" means the United States Coast Guard navigable waters of the lower St. Louis River to
the Minnesota State Highway No. 23 bridge.
    Subd. 2. Rules. The commissioner shall adopt rules for:
(1) issuance of the licenses, including qualifications for licensees; and
(2) record keeping and reporting by licensees.
    Subd. 3. Federal requirements. A person may not use a watercraft for activities authorized
under this section unless the watercraft complies with all applicable licensing and safety
requirements of the United States Coast Guard.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 24; 1993 c 231 s 54; 1999 c 57 s 2
97C.315 ANGLING LINES AND HOOKS.
    Subdivision 1. Lines. An angler may not use more than one line except:
(1) two lines may be used to take fish through the ice; and
(2) the commissioner may, by rule, authorize the use of two lines in areas designated by
the commissioner in Lake Superior.
    Subd. 2. Hooks. An angler may not have more than one hook on a line, except:
(1) three artificial flies may be on a line used to take largemouth bass, smallmouth bass,
trout, crappies, sunfish, and rock bass;
(2) a single artificial bait may contain more than one hook; and
(3) as otherwise prescribed by the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 25; 1991 c 259 s 23; 2006 c 281 art 2 s 48
97C.317 FISHING AS A PARTY.
While two or more persons are taking fish by angling as a party, the total number of fish
taken and the total number of fish possessed by the party may not exceed the limit of the number
of persons in the party that may take and possess fish by angling. For the purpose of this section,
a party means:
(1) for persons who are not on the water, the persons are maintaining unaided visual and
vocal contact;
(2) for persons who are on frozen water surfaces, the persons are maintaining unaided
visual and vocal contact; and
(3) for persons who are on open water surfaces, the persons are angling from a single
watercraft.
History: 1989 c 153 s 3; 2002 c 323 s 17
97C.321 RESTRICTIONS ON UNATTENDED LINES.
    Subdivision 1. General prohibition. A person may not take fish by angling with a set line
or an unattended line except as provided in this section and rules adopted under the game and
fish laws.
    Subd. 2. Ice fishing. A person may use an unattended line to take fish through the ice if:
(1) the person is within sight of the line; or
(2) a tip-up is attached to the line and the person is within 200 feet of the tip-up.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 26; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 35; 1997 c 226 s 39
97C.325 RESTRICTIONS ON TAKING FISH.
    (a) Except as specifically authorized, a person may not take fish with:
    (1) explosives, chemicals, drugs, poisons, lime, medicated bait, fish berries, or other similar
substances;
    (2) substances or devices that kill, stun, or affect the nervous system of fish;
    (3) nets, traps, trot lines, or snares; or
    (4) spring devices that impale, hook, or capture fish.
    (b) If a person possesses a substance or device listed in paragraph (a) on waters, shores, or
islands, it is presumptive evidence that the person is in violation of this section.
    (c) The commissioner may, by rule, allow the use of a nonmotorized device with a recoil
mechanism to take fish through the ice.
    (d) To protect water quality or improve habitat for fish or wildlife, the commissioner may
prescribe restrictions on fishing seasons, limits, or methods on specific bodies of water.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 27; 1994 c 623 art 1 s 39; 2007 c 131 art 1 s 47
97C.327 MEASUREMENT OF FISH LENGTH.
For the purpose of determining compliance with size limits for fish in this chapter or in
rules of the commissioner, the length of a fish must be measured from the tip of the nose or jaw,
whichever is longer, to the farthest tip of the tail when fully extended.
History: 1993 c 231 s 55; 2005 c 146 s 44
97C.331 SNAGGING FISH PROHIBITED.
    Subdivision 1. General prohibition. A person may not:
(1) intentionally take fish by snagging; or
(2) use a snagline, snagpole, snaghook, or cluster of fish hooks, designed to be placed in or
drawn through the water to hook the body of a fish.
    Subd. 2. Prohibition on Lake Superior tributaries. On tributaries to Lake Superior
below the posted boundaries, and on tributaries to Lake Superior with no posted boundaries, a
fish that is hooked in any part of the body except in the mouth must be immediately unhooked
and returned to the water.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 28; 1993 c 231 s 56; 1994 c 460 s 1
97C.335 USE OF ARTIFICIAL LIGHTS TO TAKE FISH PROHIBITED.
    A person may not use artificial lights to lure or attract fish or to see fish in the water while
spearing, except that while angling or spearing, a person may:
    (1) affix a lighted artificial bait with hooks attached to the end of a fishing line; or
    (2) use a lighted decoy for spearing.
    Any battery that is used in lighted fishing lures cannot contain any intentionally introduced
mercury.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 29; 2000 c 308 s 1; 2000 c 463 s 19; 2000 c 473 s 20; 2007 c
131 art 1 s 48
97C.341 CERTAIN FISH PROHIBITED FOR BAIT.
A person may not use live minnows imported from outside of the state, game fish, goldfish,
or carp for bait.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 30
97C.345 RESTRICTIONS ON USE AND POSSESSION OF NETS AND SPEARS.
    Subdivision 1. Period when use prohibited. Except as specifically authorized, a person may
not take fish from the third Monday in February to April 30 with a spear, fish trap, net, dip net,
seine, or other device capable of taking fish.
    Subd. 2. Possession. (a) Except as specifically authorized, a person may not possess a
spear, fish trap, net, dip net, seine, or other device capable of taking fish on or near any waters.
Possession includes personal possession and in a vehicle.
(b) A person may possess spears, dip nets, bows and arrows, and spear guns allowed under
section 97C.381 on or near waters between sunrise and sunset from May 1 to the last Sunday
in February, or as otherwise prescribed by the commissioner.
    Subd. 3. Dip nets. A person may possess and use a dip net between one hour before sunrise
and one hour after sunset from May 1 to the third Sunday in February.
    Subd. 4. Exceptions. Subdivisions 1 to 3 do not apply to:
(1) nets used to take rainbow smelt during the open season;
(2) nets used to land game fish taken by angling;
(3) seines or traps used for the taking of minnows for bait;
(4) nets, seines, or traps possessed and used under an aquatic farm license; and
(5) angling equipment.
    Subd. 5. Rules. The commissioner may adopt rules to regulate the use of nets to take fish.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 31; 1987 c 149 art 1 s 52,53; 1992 c 566 s 20; 1993 c 231 s
57,58; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 36-38; 2005 c 146 s 45
97C.347 [Repealed, 1988 c 588 s 17]
97C.351 FISH NETS MUST HAVE TAG ATTACHED.
A person may not possess a fish net unless specifically authorized or a tag is attached bearing
the name and address of the owner when the net is not in use and the name and address of the
operator when the net is in use, as prescribed by the commissioner. This section does not apply to
minnow nets, landing nets, dip nets, and nets in stock for sale by dealers.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 32; 1992 c 462 s 17
97C.355 SHELTERS ON ICE; DARK HOUSES AND FISH HOUSES.
    Subdivision 1. Identification required. All shelters on the ice of state waters, including dark
houses and fish houses, must have: (1) the owner's name and address, (2) the owner's driver's
license number, or (3) the "MDNR#" license identification number issued to the owner legibly
displayed on the exterior with characters at least two inches high.
    Subd. 2. License required. A person may not take fish from a dark house or fish house that is
left unattended on the ice overnight unless the house is licensed and has a license tag attached to
the exterior in a readily visible location, except as provided in this subdivision. The commissioner
must issue a tag with a dark house or fish house license, marked with a number to correspond with
the license and the year of issue. A dark house or fish house license is not required of a resident on
boundary waters where the adjacent state does not charge a fee for the same activity.
    Subd. 3. Door must open from outside. A person may not use a dark house or fish house
unless the door is constructed so that it can be opened from the outside when it is in use.
    Subd. 4. Distance between houses. A person may not erect a dark house or fish house within
ten feet of an existing dark house or fish house.
    Subd. 5. Burning of structures. A person may not burn a structure on the ice of state
waters without permission of the commissioner. The commissioner may allow burning only after
determining that the structure cannot be removed from the ice by another reasonable manner. The
owner must remove the remains of the burned structure from the ice.
    Subd. 6.[Repealed, 2006 c 281 art 2 s 58]
    Subd. 7. Dates and times houses may remain on ice. (a) Except as provided in paragraph
(d), a shelter, including a fish house or dark house, may not be on the ice between 12:00 a.m. and
one hour before sunrise after the following dates:
(1) the last day of February, for state waters south of a line starting at the Minnesota-North
Dakota border and formed by rights-of-way of U.S. Route No. 10, then east along U.S. Route
No. 10 to Trunk Highway No. 34, then east along Trunk Highway No. 34 to Trunk Highway No.
200, then east along Trunk Highway No. 200 to U.S. Route No. 2, then east along U.S. Route
No. 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border; and
(2) March 15, for other state waters.
A shelter, including a fish house or dark house, on the ice in violation of this subdivision is
subject to the enforcement provisions of paragraph (b). The commissioner may, by rule, change
the dates in this paragraph for any part of state waters. Copies of the rule must be conspicuously
posted on the shores of the waters as prescribed by the commissioner.
(b) A conservation officer must confiscate a fish house, dark house, or shelter in violation of
paragraph (a). The officer may remove, burn, or destroy the house or shelter. The officer shall
seize the contents of the house or shelter and hold them for 60 days. If the seized articles have not
been claimed by the owner, they may be retained for the use of the division or sold at the highest
price obtainable in a manner prescribed by the commissioner.
(c) When the last day of February, under paragraph (a), clause (1), or March 15, under
paragraph (a), clause (2), falls on a Saturday, a shelter, including a fish house or dark house, may be
on the ice between 12:00 a.m. and one hour before sunrise until 12:00 a.m. the following Monday.
(d) A person may have a shelter, including a fish house or dark house, on the ice between
12:00 a.m. and one hour before sunrise on waters within the area prescribed in paragraph (a),
clause (2), but the house or shelter may not be unattended during those hours.
    Subd. 7a. Houses left overnight. A fish house or dark house left on the ice overnight must be
marked with reflective material on each side of the house. The reflective material must measure a
total area of no less than two square inches on each side of the house. Violation of this subdivision
is not subject to subdivision 8 or section 97A.301.
    Subd. 8. Confiscation of unlawful structures; civil penalty. (a) Structures on the ice in
violation of this section may be confiscated and disposed of, retained by the division, or sold at
the highest price obtainable, in a manner prescribed by the commissioner.
    (b) In addition to other penalties provided by law, the owner of a structure left on the ice in
violation of this section is subject to a civil penalty under section 115A.99.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 33; 1989 c 199 s 1; 1991 c 84 s 1; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1993
c 172 s 57; 1995 c 65 s 1; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 39,40; 1996 c 403 s 1; 1998 c 252 s 2; 2001 c 185 s
31,32; 2003 c 28 art 1 s 15,16; 2004 c 215 s 28; 2006 c 281 art 2 s 49; 2007 c 57 art 1 s 102;
2007 c 131 art 1 s 49
97C.361 RESTRICTIONS ON FISH HOUSES AND DARK HOUSES IN THE BOUNDARY
WATERS CANOE AREA.
A person may only use a portable fish house or dark house within the Boundary Waters
Canoe Area. The house must be removed from the waters and collapsed or disassembled each
night. The house may not remain in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area if the person leaves the
Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 34
97C.365 [Repealed, 2007 c 131 art 1 s 96]
97C.371 SPEARING FISH.
    Subdivision 1. Species allowed. Only rough fish, catfish, lake whitefish, and northern pike
may be taken by spearing.
    Subd. 2. Dark houses required for certain species. Catfish, lake whitefish, and northern
pike may be speared only from dark houses.
    Subd. 3. Restrictions while spearing from dark house. A person may not take fish by
angling or the use of tip-ups while spearing fish in a dark house, except that a person may take
fish by angling if only one angling line is in use and any fish caught by angling is immediately
released to the water or placed on the ice.
    Subd. 4. Open season. The open season for spearing through the ice is December 1 to
the last Sunday in February.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 36; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 41; 2006 c 281 art 2 s 50,51
97C.375 TAKING ROUGH FISH BY SPEARING OR ARCHERY.
A resident or nonresident may take rough fish by spearing or archery during the times, in
waters, and in the manner prescribed by the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 37; 1993 c 269 s 26
97C.381 HARPOONING ROUGH FISH.
A resident or nonresident may use a rubber powered gun, spring gun, or compressed air gun to
take rough fish by harpooning. The harpoon must be fastened to a line not more than 20 feet long.
The commissioner may prescribe the times, the waters, and the manner for harpooning rough fish.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 38; 1994 c 467 s 1
97C.385 COMMISSIONER'S AUTHORITY TO REGULATE WINTER FISHING.
    Subdivision 1. Summer angling season to be closed in same proportion. If the
commissioner closes the statutory open season for the spearing of a game fish species in any
waters, the commissioner must, in the same rule, close the following statutory open season for
angling for the same species in the waters in the same proportion.
    Subd. 2. Summer angling limits must be same as spearing. If the commissioner reduces
the limit of a species of game fish taken by spearing in any waters under section 97A.045,
subdivision 2
, the commissioner must reduce the limit for taking of the species by angling in the
waters during the following open season for angling.
    Subd. 3. Closing lakes and streams in a county. The commissioner may not close the open
season for taking game fish through the ice on more than 50 percent of the named lakes or streams
of a county under section 97A.045, subdivision 2.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 39; 1991 c 259 s 23
97C.391 BUYING AND SELLING FISH.
    Subdivision 1. General restrictions. A person may not buy or sell fish taken from the
waters of this state, except:
(1) minnows;
(2) rough fish excluding ciscoes;
(3) smelt taken from Lake Superior and rivers and streams that flow into Lake Superior;
(4) fish taken under licensed commercial fishing operations;
(5) fish that are private aquatic life; and
(6) fish lawfully taken and subject to sale from other states and countries.
    Subd. 2. Restrictions on certain game fish. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock
bass, muskellunge, and sunfish may be bought or sold by a private hatchery or aquatic farm, or
as prescribed by the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 40; 1987 c 318 s 8; 1992 c 566 s 21; 1993 c 231 s 59
97C.392 [Never effective, 2004 c 215 s 29; 2004 c 255 s 51]
97C.395 OPEN SEASONS FOR ANGLING.
    Subdivision 1. Dates for certain species. (a) The open seasons to take fish by angling
are as follows:
(1) for walleye, sauger, northern pike, muskellunge, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass,
the Saturday two weeks prior to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to the last Sunday in
February;
(2) for lake trout, from January 1 to October 31;
(3) for brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, and splake, between January 1 to October 31
as prescribed by the commissioner by rule except as provided in section 97C.415, subdivision
2
; and
(4) for salmon, as prescribed by the commissioner by rule.
(b) The commissioner shall close the season in areas of the state where fish are spawning and
closing the season will protect the resource.
    Subd. 2. Continuous season for certain species. For sunfish, white crappie, black crappie,
yellow perch, catfish, rock bass, white bass, lake whitefish, and rough fish, the open season is
continuous.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 41; 1989 c 242 s 2; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 42; 2005
c 146 s 46
97C.401 LIMITS.
    Subdivision 1. Commissioner authorized to prescribe limits. Unless otherwise provided in
this chapter, the commissioner shall, by rule, prescribe the limits on the number of each species of
fish that may be taken in one day and the number that may be possessed.
    Subd. 2. Walleye; northern pike. (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a person may take
no more than one walleye larger than 20 inches and one northern pike larger than 30 inches daily.
(b) The restrictions in paragraph (a) do not apply to boundary waters.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 42; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1993 c 185 s 2; 1994 c 523 s 1; 2005
c 146 s 47
97C.402 [Repealed, 1988 c 588 s 17]
97C.403 [Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52]
97C.405 MUSKELLUNGE SIZE LIMITS.
(a) Except as allowed under paragraph (b), if a person catches a muskellunge less than 40
inches long, the person must immediately release the fish into the waters.
(b) The commissioner may designate lakes north of Trunk Highway No. 210 where
muskellunge less than 40 inches, but not less than 30 inches long, may be retained.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 43; 1993 c 231 s 60
97C.411 STURGEON AND PADDLEFISH.
Lake sturgeon, shovelnose sturgeon, and paddlefish may not be taken, bought, sold,
transported or possessed except as provided by rule of the commissioner. The commissioner
may only allow the taking of these fish in waters that the state boundary passes through and
in tributaries to the St. Croix River.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 44; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1996 c 410 s 45
97C.415 TROUT AND SALMON.
    Subdivision 1. Hours for taking trout restricted. A person may not take trout, except lake
trout, between 11:00 p.m. and one hour before sunrise.
    Subd. 2. Lake Superior streams. The commissioner may prescribe the open season and
conditions for taking brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead trout, and salmon in any
portion of a stream that flows into Lake Superior.
    Subd. 3. Salmon. The commissioner may prescribe, by rule, the method of taking and
possessing salmon.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 45; 1991 c 259 s 23
97C.417 REPORTING ASIAN CARP.
    A person who takes any of the following Asian carp species must report the type of carp
taken to the commissioner within seven days of taking:
    (1) grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella);
    (2) bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis); or
    (3) silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix).
History: 2007 c 131 art 1 s 50

MINNOWS

97C.501 MINNOW LICENSES REQUIRED.
    Subdivision 1. Minnow retailers. (a) A person may not be a minnow retailer without a
minnow retailer license except as provided in subdivisions 2, paragraph (d), and 3. A person must
purchase a minnow retailer license for each minnow retail outlet operated, except as provided by
subdivision 2, paragraph (d).
(b) A minnow retailer must obtain a minnow retailer's vehicle license for each motor vehicle
used by the minnow retailer to transport more than 12 dozen minnows to the minnow retailer's
place of business, except as provided in subdivision 3. A minnow retailer is not required to obtain
a minnow retailer's vehicle license if minnows are being transported by common carrier and
information is provided that allows the commissioner to find out the location of the shipment in
the state.
    Subd. 2. Minnow dealers. (a) A person may not be a minnow dealer without a minnow
dealer license except as provided in subdivision 3.
(b) A minnow dealer must obtain a minnow dealer's vehicle license for each motor vehicle
used to transport minnows. The serial number, motor vehicle license number, make, and model
must be on the license. The license must be conspicuously displayed in the vehicle.
(c) A minnow dealer may not transport minnows out of the state without an exporting
minnow dealer license. A minnow dealer must obtain an exporting minnow dealer's vehicle
license for each motor vehicle used to transport minnows out of the state. The serial number,
motor vehicle license number, make, and model must be on the license. The license must be
conspicuously displayed in the vehicle.
(d) A person with a minnow dealer's license may sell minnows at one retail outlet. A minnow
dealer must obtain a minnow retailer license for each additional retail outlet operated. A minnow
dealer operating a retail outlet under a minnow dealer's license must list the following information
for the retail outlet: name of the business; city; state; zip code; and legal description or fire number.
The retail outlet name and location may be changed by making application to the commissioner.
    Subd. 3. License exemption for minors selling leeches. A resident under age 18 may take
leeches, sell leeches at retail, and transport leeches without a minnow retailer or dealer license.
    Subd. 4. Nonresident exporting minnow dealers. (a) A nonresident must obtain an
exporting minnow dealer's vehicle license for the motor vehicle used to transport minnows. The
serial number, motor vehicle license number, make, and model must be on the license. The license
must be conspicuously displayed in the vehicle.
(b) Only one nonresident exporting minnow dealer vehicle license may be issued to a
nonresident exporting minnow dealer.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 46; 1990 c 502 s 4; 1997 c 216 s 89; 2000 c 495 s 42,43;
2004 c 255 s 39
97C.505 MINNOWS.
    Subdivision 1. Authority to take, possess, buy, and sell. (a) Minnows may be taken,
possessed, bought, and sold, subject to the restrictions in this chapter and in rules adopted by the
commissioner under paragraph (b). A person may not take, possess, or sell minnows except for
use as bait or for ornamental or aquacultural purposes.
(b) The commissioner may adopt rules for the taking, possession, purchase, sale, and
transportation of minnows.
    Subd. 2. Continuous open season. The open season for taking minnows is continuous,
except as provided in subdivisions 3 and 4.
    Subd. 3. Closing waters. The commissioner may close any state waters for commercially
taking minnows if a survey is conducted and the commissioner determines it is necessary to close
the waters to prevent depletion or extinction of the minnows.
    Subd. 4.[Repealed, 1Sp1995 c 1 s 48]
    Subd. 5. Restrictions on taking from trout waters. A person may not take minnows from
designated trout lakes or trout streams without a special permit issued by the commissioner.
    Subd. 6. Approved equipment required. A person must use equipment approved by
the commissioner to possess or transport minnows for sale. This subdivision does not apply
to licensed aquatic farms.
    Subd. 7. Interference prohibited. A person may not knowingly damage, disturb, or interfere
with legal commercial minnow harvest operations.
    Subd. 8. Possession for minnow dealers. When nets and traps are lawfully set and tended,
minnows and incidentally taken game fish under four inches in length are not considered to
be in possession until the minnows or game fish are placed on a motor vehicle or trailer for
transport on land.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 47; 1992 c 566 s 22; 1993 c 231 s 61; 1997 c 226 s 40; 2002
c 270 s 8
97C.511 MINNOW SEINES.
    Subdivision 1. Size restrictions. Except as provided in subdivision 2, a person may not take
minnows with a seine longer than 25 feet, and deeper than:
(1) 148 meshes of 1/4 inch bar measure;
(2) 197 meshes of 3/16 inch bar measure; or
(3) four feet of material of less than 3/16 inch bar measure.
    Subd. 2. Licensed minnow dealers. A minnow dealer may take minnows with a seine that is
not longer than 50 feet, and not deeper than:
(1) 222 meshes of 1/4 inch bar measure;
(2) 296 meshes of 3/16 inch bar measure; or
(3) six feet of material of less than 3/16 inch bar measure.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 48
97C.515 IMPORTED MINNOWS.
    Subdivision 1. General prohibition. A person may not bring live minnows into the state
except as provided in this section.
    Subd. 2. Permit for transportation. A person may transport minnows through the state with
a permit from the commissioner. The permit must state the name and address of the person, the
number and species of minnows, the point of entry into the state, the destination, and the route
through the state. The permit is not valid for more than 12 hours after it is issued.
    Subd. 3. Use in home aquariums allowed. A person may bring live minnows into the
state for home aquariums.
    Subd. 4. Private fish hatchery or aquatic farm. A person with a private fish hatchery or
aquatic farm license may transport minnows from contiguous states to the private fish hatchery
or aquatic farm, provided the minnows are used for processing or feeding hatchery fish. The
commissioner may require inspection of minnows transported from outside the state.
    Subd. 5. Special permits. (a) The commissioner may issue a special permit, without a fee, to
allow a person with a private fish hatchery license to import minnows from other states for export.
A permit under this subdivision is not required for importation authorized under subdivision 4.
(b) An applicant for a permit under this subdivision shall submit to the commissioner
sufficient information to identify potential threats to native plant and animal species and an
evaluation of the feasibility of the proposal. The permit may include reasonable restrictions on
importation, transportation, possession, containment, and disposal of minnows to ensure that
native species are protected. The permit may have a term of up to two years and may be modified,
suspended, or revoked by the commissioner for cause, including violation of a condition of
the permit.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 49; 1988 c 588 s 13; 1993 c 226 s 17,18; 1993 c 269 s 27
97C.521 TRANSPORTATION OF CARP FINGERLINGS PROHIBITED.
Except as provided in section 17.4984, subdivision 2, paragraph (g), a person may not
transport live carp fingerlings.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 50; 2000 c 331 s 5
97C.525 RESTRICTIONS ON TRANSPORTATION OF MINNOWS.
    Subdivision 1. Applicability. This section does not apply to the transportation of 24 dozen
minnows, or less, or to transportation with a permit issued under section 97C.515, subdivision 2.
    Subd. 2. Transporting out of the state. A person may not transport minnows out of the
state, except as provided in this section.
    Subd. 3. Minnow dealers. A resident minnow dealer or a nonresident exporting minnow
dealer may transport minnows out of the state. A nonresident exporting minnow dealer must
possess a bill of lading issued by a resident minnow dealer with an exporting minnow dealer's
license. The bill of lading must be on a form furnished by the commissioner and must state the
nonresident exporting minnow dealer's name and address, the route through the state, number and
species of minnows, and the time it was issued.
    Subd. 4. Minnow retailers. A minnow retailer transporting minnows from a place of
wholesale purchase to the retailer's place of business must use the most reasonably direct route.
    Subd. 5. Out-of-state vehicles. The nonresident exporting minnow dealer must transport
the minnows out of the state within 24 hours of the time of issuance stated on the bill of lading.
A person may not transport minnows in a motor vehicle licensed in another state without an
exporting minnow dealer's vehicle license.
    Subd. 6. Common carrier. An exporting minnow dealer may transport minnows by common
carrier and must provide on request by the commissioner information pertaining to product,
quantity, and destination.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 51; 1990 c 502 s 5; 1993 c 226 s 19; 2004 c 255 s 40,41

AMPHIBIANS

97C.601 FROGS.
    Subdivision 1. Season. The open season for frogs is May 16 to March 31. The commissioner
may, by rule, establish closed seasons in specified areas.
    Subd. 2. License required. (a) A person may not take or possess frogs without an angling
license if the person is required to have an angling license to take fish.
(b) A person may not purchase, possess, and transport frogs for purposes other than bait
without a license to purchase, possess, and transport frogs.
(c) A person may not take, possess, transport, and sell frogs for purposes other than bait
without a license to take, possess, transport, and sell frogs.
    Subd. 3. Taking with cloth screens prohibited. A person may not use cloth screens or
similar devices to take frogs.
    Subd. 4. Taking with artificial lights. The commissioner may issue permits to take frogs
with the use of artificial lights in waters designated in the permit.
    Subd. 5. Limits. (a) A person may possess frogs, up to six inches long, without limit if the
frogs are possessed, bought, sold, and transported for bait.
(b) Unless the commissioner prescribes otherwise, a person may possess frogs over six
inches long and:
(1) transport the frogs, except by common carrier; and
(2) sell the frogs in any quantity during the open season.
(c) The length of a frog is measured from the tip of the nose to the tip of the hind toes,
with the legs fully extended.
    Subd. 6. Rules. The commissioner shall prescribe rules for taking, buying, selling,
possessing, importing, and transporting frogs for purposes other than bait.
    Subd. 7. For human consumption. The commissioner may issue permits for importing,
raising, and selling frogs for human consumption.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 52; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1993 c 231 s 62

REPTILES

97C.605 TURTLES.
    Subdivision 1. Resident angling license required. In addition to any other license required
in this section, a person may not take, possess, or transport turtles without a resident angling
license, except as provided in subdivision 2c.
    Subd. 2. Turtle seller's license. (a) A person may not take, possess, buy, or transport turtles
for sale; sell turtles; or take turtles for sale using commercial equipment without a turtle seller's
license, except as provided in subdivision 2c.
(b) Except for renewals, no new turtle seller's licenses may be issued after August 1, 2002.
(c) A turtle seller's license is transferable by the turtle seller licensee by making application
to the commissioner. A turtle seller's license may be transferred only once under this paragraph
and the transfer must be to a child of the person holding the turtle seller's license.
    Subd. 2a. Recreational turtle license. A person who does not possess a turtle seller's
license must obtain a recreational turtle license to take turtles for personal use with commercial
equipment.
    Subd. 2b. Turtle seller's apprentice license. (a) A person with a turtle seller's license may
list one person as an apprentice on the license. A person acting as an apprentice for a turtle seller
licensee must have an apprentice license and may assist the turtle licensee in all licensed activities.
(b) The turtle seller licensee or turtle seller's apprentice licensee must be present at all turtle
operations conducted under the turtle seller's license. Turtle operations include going to and from
turtle harvest locations; setting, lifting, and removing commercial turtle equipment; taking turtles
out of equipment; and transporting turtles from harvest locations.
(c) A turtle seller's apprentice license is transferable by the turtle seller licensee by making
application to the commissioner. A person listed as an apprentice by a turtle seller licensee must
not be listed as an apprentice by another turtle seller licensee nor may an apprentice possess a
turtle seller's license or a recreational turtle license.
    Subd. 2c. License exemptions. A person does not need a turtle seller's license or an angling
license:
(1) when buying turtles for resale at a retail outlet;
(2) when buying a turtle at a retail outlet;
(3) if the person is a nonresident buying a turtle from a licensed turtle seller for export
out of state. Shipping documents provided by the turtle seller must accompany each shipment
exported out of state by a nonresident. Shipping documents must include: name, address, city,
state, and zip code of the buyer; number of each species of turtle; and name and license number
of the turtle seller; or
(4) to take, possess, and rent or sell up to 25 turtles greater than four inches in length for the
purpose of providing the turtles to participants at a nonprofit turtle race, if the person is a resident
under age 18. The person is responsible for the well-being of the turtles.
    Subd. 3. Taking; methods prohibited. (a) A person may take turtles in any manner, except
by the use of:
(1) explosives, drugs, poisons, lime, and other harmful substances;
(2) traps, except as provided in paragraph (b) and rules adopted under this section;
(3) nets other than anglers' fish landing nets; or
(4) commercial equipment, except as provided in rules adopted under this section.
(b) Until new rules are adopted under this section, a person with a turtle seller's license
may take turtles with a floating turtle trap that:
(1) has one or more openings above the water surface that measure at least ten inches by
four inches; and
(2) has a mesh size of not less than one-half inch, bar measure.
    Subd. 4.[Repealed, 2002 c 351 s 34]
    Subd. 5. Interference with commercial or recreational turtle operations. A person
may not:
(1) knowingly place or maintain an obstruction that will hinder, prevent, or interfere with
a licensed turtle operation;
(2) remove turtles, other wild animals, or fish from a floating or submerged trap licensed
under the game and fish laws; or
(3) knowingly damage, disturb, or interfere with a licensed turtle operation.
    Subd. 6. Rules. The commissioner may adopt rules for taking turtles. The commissioner may
prescribe seasons, limits, closed areas, and other restrictions and requirements the commissioner
deems necessary for the conservation of turtles.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 53; 1989 c 266 s 2,3; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 43; 2000 c 495 s 44,45;
2002 c 351 s 23; 2003 c 107 s 28; 2004 c 215 s 30,31
97C.611 SNAPPING TURTLES; LIMITS.
A person may not possess more than three snapping turtles of the species Chelydra serpentina
without a turtle seller's license. Until new rules are adopted under section 97C.605, a person may
not take snapping turtles of a size less than ten inches wide including curvature, measured from
side to side across the shell at midpoint. After new rules are adopted under section 97C.605, a
person may only take snapping turtles of a size specified in the adopted rules.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 54; 1989 c 266 s 4; 2002 c 351 s 24
97C.615 [Repealed, 1989 c 266 s 5]
97C.621 AREAS MAY BE CLOSED TO TAKING TURTLES.
The commissioner may prohibit the taking of turtles from state waters where operations
are being conducted to aid fish propagation.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 56

MUSSELS AND CLAMS

97C.701 TAKING MUSSELS.
    Subdivision 1. Commissioner's authority. The commissioner may by rule set size limits
and prescribe conditions for the taking, possession, transportation, sale, and purchase of mussels.
    Subd. 1a. Hand-picking required. A person may only harvest mussels by hand-picking.
    Subd. 2.[Repealed, 1993 c 269 s 32]
    Subd. 3.[Repealed, 1993 c 269 s 32]
    Subd. 4.[Repealed, 1993 c 269 s 32]
    Subd. 5.[Repealed, 1993 c 269 s 32]
    Subd. 6. Possession, sale, and transportation. Mussels and clams may be possessed,
bought, sold, and transported in any quantity during the open season and seven days after the
season closes.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 57; 1993 c 269 s 28,29
97C.705 MUSSEL SEASONS.
    Subdivision 1. Open seasons. (a) The open season for taking mussels is from May 16
to the last day of February.
(b) The commissioner may by rule restrict the open season for taking mussels for commercial
purposes.
    Subd. 2. Closed areas. The commissioner may close up to 50 percent of the
mussel-producing waters of the state to the taking of mussels.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 58; 1993 c 269 s 30
97C.711 UNDERSIZED MUSSELS.
A person must return undersized mussels to the water without injury.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 59; 1993 c 269 s 31

NETTING AND COMMERCIAL FISHING

97C.801 TAKING ROUGH FISH ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
    Subdivision 1.[Repealed, 1997 c 216 s 90; 1997 c 226 s 51]
    Subd. 2. Commercial fish netting on Mississippi River. (a) A license is required to
commercially take rough fish with seines in the Mississippi River from the St. Croix River
junction to St. Anthony Falls.
(b) A person may take rough fish in the Mississippi River, from the St. Croix River junction
to St. Anthony Falls, only with the following equipment and methods:
(1) operations shall be conducted only in the flowing waters of the river and in tributary
backwaters prescribed by the commissioner;
(2) seines may be used only as prescribed by this section and rules adopted by the
commissioner;
(3) seines must be hauled to a landing immediately after being placed;
(4) two seines may not be joined together in the water; and
(5) a seine may not be landed between sunset and sunrise.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 60; 1997 c 216 s 90; 1997 c 226 s 41
97C.805 NETTING OF LAKE WHITEFISH AND CISCOES.
    Subdivision 1. Open season. (a) The commissioner shall, by rule, prescribe the open season
and open state waters for netting lake whitefish and ciscoes. The commissioner may open specific
lakes and waters that are otherwise closed if the commissioner posts notice of the date and time in
appropriate public places at least 48 hours before the open season begins.
(b) The commissioner may close specific lakes and waters that are otherwise open under this
subdivision if the commissioner posts notice of the closing at a minimum of three sites on the shore
of the waters, including all public water access sites. Before closing waters under this paragraph,
the commissioner shall determine that the closure is necessary to protect game fish populations.
    Subd. 2. Restrictions. (a) The netting of lake whitefish and ciscoes is subject to the
restrictions in this subdivision.
(b) A person may not use:
(1) more than two nets;
(2) a net more than 100 feet long; or
(3) a net more than three feet wide.
(c) The mesh size of the nets may not be less than:
(1) 1-3/4 inches, stretch measure, for nets used to take ciscoes; and
(2) 3-1/2 inches, stretch measure, for all other nets.
(d) A net may not be set in water, including ice thickness, deeper than six feet.
(e) The commissioner may designate waters where nets may be set so that portions of the
net extend into water deeper than six feet under conditions prescribed by the commissioner to
protect game fish. A pole or stake must project at least two feet above the surface of the water or
ice at one end of each net.
(f) A net may not be set within 50 feet of another net.
(g) A person may not have angling equipment in possession while netting lake whitefish
or ciscoes.
    Subd. 3. Fish may not be sold. Notwithstanding section 97C.391, subdivision 1, lake
whitefish and ciscoes taken under this section may not be bought or sold.
    Subd. 4. No limit on rough fish netted. Lake whitefish and ciscoes taken under this section
may be taken and possessed without limit. Rough fish caught while netting may be retained. All
other fish taken while netting must be returned to the water immediately.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 61; 1988 c 588 s 14; 1991 c 259 s 22; 1993 c 231 s 63-65
97C.811 COMMERCIAL FISHING IN INLAND WATERS.
    Subdivision 1. Inland waters defined. For the purposes of this section and section 97A.475,
subdivision 30
, "inland waters" means all waters entirely located within the boundaries of the
state and the border waters between Minnesota and North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa,
excluding those waters described in section 97C.801.
    Subd. 2. Commercial fish defined. For purposes of this section and section 97A.475,
subdivision 30
, "commercial fish" are carp; bowfin; burbot; cisco; goldeye; rainbow smelt; black
bullhead, brown bullhead, and yellow bullhead; lake whitefish; members of the sucker family,
Catostomidae, including white sucker, redhorse, bigmouth buffalo, and smallmouth buffalo;
members of the drum family, Sciaenidae, including sheepshead; and members of the gar family,
Lepisosteidae.
    Subd. 3. Regulation. The commissioner shall, by rule, regulate the taking, possession,
transportation, and sale of commercial fish, and the licensing of commercial fishing operators in
inland waters.
    Subd. 4. Licenses required. A person may not commercially fish inland waters without a
commercial fishing license. Nonresidents may only be licensed to fish waters not previously
assigned to residents. In the license application the applicant must list the number of feet of
seine of each depth to be licensed.
    Subd. 5. Season. Licenses to net commercial fish in inland waters are issued to residents
and nonresidents annually subject to this section and shall be valid for commercial fishing during
the open season for commercial fishing in inland waters from the day after Labor Day to the day
before the open season for walleye.
    Subd. 6. License invalidation. (a) A license to take commercial fish is void upon:
(1) the licensee's death;
(2) cessation of commercial fishing operations within an assigned area, except as provided
by paragraph (c);
(3) conviction of two or more violations of inland commercial fishing laws within a license
period; or
(4) failure to apply for a new or renewal license prior to June 15 of any year.
(b) A commercial inland fishing license is not subject to the license revocation provisions
of section 97A.421. Commercial fishing rights and area assignments covered by a license that
becomes void reverts to the commissioner for reassignment.
(c) A person possessing a valid inland commercial fishing license may apply to the
commissioner for transfer of an assigned commercial fishing area to another person. Upon receipt
of the application, the commissioner shall notify the applicant that the application for transfer has
been received and shall determine if other people are interested in the assigned area by:
(1) notifying the Inland Commercial Fish Trade Association in writing; and
(2) publishing notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the vicinity of the assigned area.
These notices must allow interested persons 30 days to notify the commissioner of their interest
in the assigned area. Within 60 days after publishing notice, the commissioner shall review the
qualifications of all interested persons and approve or deny the transfer based on the criteria in
section 97C.815, subdivision 2. If the transfer is denied, the licensee may retain the license or
request that it become void.
    Subd. 7. Monthly reports. A licensed inland commercial fishing operator shall submit a
report on the licensed activities the operator was engaged in to the commissioner each month. The
report must be on a form provided by the commissioner and submitted prior to the 15th day of the
following month. The report shall be submitted whether fishing activity took place unless the
operator has a written release from this obligation signed by the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 62; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1996 c 410 s 46
97C.815 COMMERCIAL FISHING AREAS.
    Subdivision 1. Designation. The commissioner shall specify inland commercial fishing
areas, taking into account the amount, size, and proximity of waters specified, the species to
be removed, and the type and quantity of fishing gear and equipment necessary to provide
an adequate removal effort. The commissioner may change inland commercial fishing area
boundaries by rule prior to a new licensing period.
    Subd. 2. Assignment. The commissioner shall assign licensed inland commercial fishing
operators to commercial fishing areas and each operator shall be obligated to fish in the area that
the commissioner has assigned to them. The commissioner's assignment shall be valid as long as
the assigned operator continues to purchase a license, continues to provide an adequate removal
effort in a good and professional manner, and is not convicted of two or more violations of laws
or rules governing inland commercial fishing operations during any one license period. In the
operator assignment, the commissioner shall consider the proximity of the operator to the area,
the type and quantity of fish gear and equipment possessed, knowledge of the affected waters,
and general ability to perform the work well.
    Subd. 3. Unused areas. If an area is not assigned, or the operator licensed for the area is not
fishing that area, the commissioner may issue a special inland commercial fishing permit for the
area. The permit may be issued to an individual holding a valid inland commercial fishing license.
The permit must describe the specific waters involved, the county, the species to be removed, the
equipment to be used, and the time period of the total operation.
    Subd. 4. Inland Commercial Fishing Trade Association; license problems. The
commissioner shall consult with representatives of the Inland Commercial Fishing Trade
Association when disagreements arise in the areas of license issuance, problems with performance
pursuant to the license, transfers of licenses, area assignments, and the entry of new commercial
fishing operators into the inland commercial fishery.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 63; 1991 c 259 s 23; 1996 c 410 s 47
97C.821 POSSESSION, SALE, AND TRANSPORTATION OF COMMERCIAL FISH.
Subject to the applicable provisions of the game and fish laws, fish taken under commercial
fishing licenses may be possessed in any quantity, bought, sold, and transported at any time.
Commercial fishing licensees may transport their catch live to holding facilities, if the licensee
has exclusive control of the facilities. Commercial fishing licensees may harvest fish from their
holding facilities at any time with their licensed gear. The commissioner may prohibit the transport
of live fish taken under a commercial fishing license from waters that contain nonnative species.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 64; 1Sp1995 c 1 s 44; 2004 c 243 s 38
97C.825 LAKE OF THE WOODS AND RAINY LAKE FISHING.
    Subdivision 1. New commercial fishing licenses prohibited. The commissioner may not
issue a new commercial fishing license that allows netting of game fish on Lake of the Woods
and Rainy Lake.
    Subd. 2. Restrictions on fish and nets. The following rules and restrictions shall apply to all
commercial fishing operations conducted in Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake unless otherwise
changed by rule of the commissioner under authority of section 97A.045, subdivision 4:
(a) Any fish, except largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, muskellunge, crappies,
sturgeon, and sunfish, may be taken subject to all other restrictions contained in the game and
fish laws.
(b) Pound net mesh and staked trap net mesh may not be less than 2-1/2 inches nor more than
four inches stretch measure in the pound or crib.
(c) Gill net mesh may not be less than four inches stretch measure, and may not be more
than 30 meshes in width.
(d) Fyke net mesh may not be less than 2-1/2 inches nor more than four inches stretch
measure in the pot or crib. Fyke nets may not have a hoop or opening more than six feet in height,
wings more than 100 feet in length, nor a lead more than 400 feet in length.
(e) Submerged trap net mesh may not be less than 2-1/2 inches nor more than three inches
stretch measure in the heart, pot, or crib. A submerged trap net may not have a pot or crib
exceeding 150 square feet in area, a lead exceeding 300 feet in length, nor a pot or lead exceeding
12 feet in depth.
    Subd. 3. Net limits for individual operators. A person may not operate more than six
pound nets, 4,000 feet of gill nets, eight submerged trap nets, ten fyke or staked trap nets, or
one pound net station.
    Subd. 4. Net location. Nets may only be set at a place consented to by the commissioner.
    Subd. 5. Net limits for Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake. (a) The maximum amount of
nets permitted to be licensed shall be:
(1) in Lake of the Woods, 50-pound nets, 160 submerged trap nets, and 80 fyke or staked
trap nets; and
(2) in Rainy Lake, 20-pound nets.
(b) Commercial fishing may be prohibited in the Minnesota portions of international waters
when it is prohibited in the international waters by Canadian authorities.
    Subd. 6.[Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52]
    Subd. 7.[Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52]
    Subd. 8.[Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52]
    Subd. 9.[Repealed, 2005 c 146 s 52]
    Subd. 10. Taking eggs for propagation; commissioner's rule. The commissioner may
require a person licensed to take fish for commercial purposes in the waters covered by this
section to take eggs for propagation purposes when it can be done in connection with the licensed
commercial fishing. The eggs must be taken under rules prescribed by the commissioner.
History: 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 386 art 3 s 65; 1991 c 259 s 23; 2005 c 146 s 48
97C.827 LAKE OF THE WOODS; COMMERCIAL FISHING OF ROUGH FISH.
    Subdivision 1. Promotion. The commissioner shall promote and encourage taking rough fish
from Lake of the Woods.
    Subd. 2. Issuance of licenses. The commissioner shall issue commercial fishing licenses
to take rough fish on Lake of the Woods. The issuance of the commercial fishing licenses may
not be restricted because a person holds other licenses under the game and fish laws or operates
particular kinds of businesses.
History: 1990 c 502 s 6
97C.831 NAMAKAN AND SAND POINT LAKES; COMMERCIAL FISHING.
    Subdivision 1. Lake whitefish and rough fish. Lake whitefish and rough fish may be taken
by licensed commercial fishing operators unless otherwise changed by rule of the commissioner,
under section 97C.805, subdivision 1, from Namakan Lake and Sand Point Lake.
    Subd. 2. Gill nets prohibited on Sand Point Lake. Gill nets may not be used in Sand
Point Lake.
    Subd. 3. Maximum amount of nets in Sand Point Lake. The maximum amount of nets
permitted to be licensed in Sand Point Lake shall be 12 pound, fyke, or submerged trap nets.
    Subd. 4. Maximum amount of nets in Namakan Lake. The maximum amount of nets that
may be licensed in Namakan Lake shall be (1) 7,000 feet of gill net, with a mesh not less than
four inches stretch measure, and (2) 12 pound, fyke, or submerged trap nets.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 66; 1991 c 259 s 23
97C.835 LAKE SUPERIOR COMMERCIAL FISHING.
    Subdivision 1. Commercial fishing license for Lake Superior. (a) A license to fish
commercially in Lake Superior shall be issued to a maximum of 25 residents. To qualify for
licensing, a resident must have landed fish in the previous year with a value of at least $1,500,
and must have engaged in commercial fishing for at least 30 days of the previous year. An
applicant may be issued a license, at the discretion of the commissioner, if failure to meet the
requirements for the dollar value of fish landed or number of days fished resulted from illness or
other mitigating circumstances, or the applicant has reached the age of 65 and has been licensed at
least five of the previous ten years.
    (b) A license may be issued to a resident who has not previously fished commercially on
Lake Superior and has not been convicted of a game and fish law violation in the preceding
three years, if the applicant:
    (1) shows a bill of sale indicating the purchase of gear and facilities connected with an
existing license;
    (2) shows proof of inheritance of all the gear and facilities connected with an existing
license; or
    (3) has served at least two years as an apprentice in a Minnesota Lake Superior licensed
commercial fishing operation.
    Subd. 2. Types of fish permitted. Lake trout, ciscoes, chubs, alewives, lake whitefish, round
whitefish, pygmy whitefish, rainbow smelt, and rough fish may be taken by licensed commercial
fishing operators from Lake Superior, in accordance with this section.
    Subd. 3. Pound nets and trap nets. Pound or trap nets may be used to take lake whitefish,
round whitefish, pygmy whitefish, ciscoes, chubs, alewives, rainbow smelt, and rough fish in
Lake Superior, including St. Louis Bay east of the U.S. Highway 53 bridge, under the rules
prescribed by the commissioner.
    Subd. 4. Gill nets; lake trout and lake whitefish. Gill nets for taking lake trout and lake
whitefish may not be less than 4-1/2 inch extension measure mesh. The commissioner may
prescribe rules to limit the total amount of gill net to be licensed for the taking of lake trout and
lake whitefish and may limit the amount of net to be operated by each licensee.
    Subd. 5. Gill nets; ciscoes. Gill nets for taking ciscoes and chubs may not be less than 2-1/4
inch extension measure mesh and may not exceed 2-3/4 inch extension measure mesh except that
smaller or larger mesh sizes may be used under a permit issued by the commissioner.
    Subd. 6. Maximum amount of gill net in Lake Superior. The amount of gill net licensed
in Minnesota waters of Lake Superior may not exceed 300,000 feet of net weighted to fish in
a floating or suspended position off the bottom and 300,000 feet of net weighted to fish on the
bottom.
    Subd. 7. Maximum amount of gill net for each Lake Superior licensee. A licensee may
not operate more than 6,000 feet of gill net weighted to fish in a floating or suspended position
off the bottom or 25,000 feet of gill net weighted to fish on the bottom. The commissioner may
authorize gill net footage in excess of the individual limits when the commissioner determines that
all of the gill net footage permitted for Minnesota waters of Lake Superior would not otherwise be
allocated in a license year. The commissioner must allocate this excess gill net footage equitably
among the licensees who have applied for it.
    Subd. 8. Special permits. The commissioner may issue special permits to duly licensed
commercial fishing operators for the purpose of taking lake trout, ciscoes, and lake whitefish in
Lake Superior and adjacent waters under rules prescribed by the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 67; 1996 c 410 s 48,49; 2007 c 131 art 1 s 51-53
97C.836 LAKE SUPERIOR LAKE TROUT EXPANDED ASSESSMENT HARVEST.
    The commissioner shall provide for taking of lake trout by licensed commercial operators
in Lake Superior management zones MN-3 and MN-2 for expanded assessment and sale. The
commissioner shall authorize expanded assessment taking and sale of lake trout in Lake Superior
management zone MN-3 beginning annually in 2007 and zone MN-2 beginning annually in 2010.
Total assessment taking and sale may not exceed 3,000 lake trout in zone MN-3 and 2,000 lake
trout in zone MN-2 and may be reduced when necessary to protect the lake trout population or to
manage the effects of invasive species or fish disease. Taking lake trout for expanded assessment
and sale shall be allowed from June 1 to September 30, but may end earlier in the respective zones
if the quotas are reached. The quotas must be reassessed at the expiration of the current ten-year
Fisheries Management Plan for the Minnesota Waters of Lake Superior dated September 2006.
History: 2007 c 131 art 1 s 54
97C.841 APPRENTICE LICENSE.
A person with a commercial fishing license may list one person as an apprentice on the
license. A person acting as an apprentice for a commercial fishing licensee must have an
apprentice license. The commercial fishing licensee or the apprentice listed on the license must be
present at all commercial fishing operations including going to and from fishing locations, or in
setting or lifting nets, or removing fish from nets. A person possessing an angling license may
assist the holder of a master's or apprentice license in going to and from fishing locations, or in
setting or lifting nets, or removing fish from nets.
An apprentice license is transferable to another by the holder of a master's license applying
to the commissioner.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 68; 1996 c 410 s 50
97C.843 POSSESSION FOR COMMERCIAL NETTING.
When commercial nets, seines, bags, or cribs are lawfully set and tended, incidentally taken
fish not included in the license are not considered in possession if they are returned to the water
or if they are tagged in accordance with section 97C.835 before they are placed on a motor
vehicle or trailer for transport on land.
History: 2002 c 270 s 9
97C.845 INTERFERENCE WITH COMMERCIAL FISHING.
A person may not:
(1) knowingly place or maintain an obstruction that will hinder, prevent, or interfere with a
licensed commercial fishing operation;
(2) remove fish from nets licensed under the game and fish laws; or
(3) knowingly damage, disturb, or interfere with commercial fishing nets.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 69
97C.851 COMMERCIAL FISHING IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS; RESORT
OWNERS.
A license to buy or sell fish or to take fish commercially in international waters extending
from Pigeon Point West to the North Dakota boundary line may not be issued to a person engaged
in the business of conducting a summer resort, or to a member of the person's household or to
an employee of the person.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 70
97C.855 UPPER AND LOWER RED LAKE AND NETT LAKE; TRANSPORTATION,
SALE, AND DISPOSAL.
The commissioner may, by rule, allow the transportation, sale, and disposal of fish taken
within the Red Lake Indian Reservation on Upper Red Lake and Lower Red Lake and from
waters within the Nett Lake Indian Reservation also known as Bois Forte Indian Reservation.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 71; 1991 c 259 s 23
97C.861 FISH VENDOR REQUIREMENTS.
    Subdivision 1. License required. A person may not sell fish with the use of a motor vehicle
without a fish vendor's license.
    Subd. 2. Misrepresentation of fish. (a) A licensed fish vendor or the vendor's employee
may not misrepresent a species of fish to be sold. If a licensed fish vendor or employee of the fish
vendor is convicted of misrepresenting a species of fish that is sold, the license shall be revoked,
and the licensee is not eligible to obtain a fish vendor's license for one year after revocation.
(b) Misrepresentation includes the designation of fish by a name other than its common
name in:
(1) the state; and
(2) in the locality where it was taken if it is not generally known by any common name in
the state.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 72
97C.865 FISH PACKERS.
    Subdivision 1. License required; records. (a) A person engaged in a business providing
services to a person taking fish may not prepare dressed game fish for shipment without a fish
packer's license. The fish packer must maintain a permanent record of:
(1) the name, address, and license number of the shipper;
(2) the name and address of the consignee; and
(3) the number of each species and net weight of fish in the shipment.
(b) The records of the fish packer must be made available to an enforcement officer upon
request.
    Subd. 2. Rules. The commissioner may adopt rules establishing requirements for labeling
and packing fish under a fish packer's license.
History: 1986 c 386 art 3 s 73; 1993 c 231 s 66
97C.871 CRAYFISH.
The commissioner may adopt rules, including record-keeping requirements, for taking,
importing, buying, selling, possessing, and transporting crayfish.
History: 1993 c 231 s 67