Ice conditions throughout the state of Minnesota are in varying conditions. This is preventing some fishing enthusiasts from getting out and enjoying one of their favorite winter time activities. The good news is, we have ice in Northern Minnesota and ice fishing is still possible. We even have walleye fishing until April 14th, so grab your gear and head north to Voyageur.
Get the 2017 fishing regulations
The 2017 Minnesota Fishing Regulations are online.
As always, in addition to learning the regulations overall, make sure to check for special fishing regulations that apply to individual waters where you’re fishing. For lakes, you can use LakeFinder or LakeFinder Mobile to search for special regulations.
Remember to buy your 2017 fishing license
Fishing licenses for 2017 now are available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, online at mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236. All 2017 fishing licenses became effective March 1 and 2016 licenses are expired.
Customers who purchase online via a smartphone won’t receive a conventional paper license. Instead, they’ll receive a text message or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. A printed copy of the text or email also can serve as proof of a valid license.
Where can I fish right now?
The walleye season on inland lakes has closed, but fishing opportunities are out there all year.
So where can you fish right now? While not an exhaustive list, try heading to the border waters or rivers and streams that are ice-free. For starters, there’s the mighty Mississippi River.
On the Mississippi where it’s the Minnesota-Wisconsin border water, and Lake Pepin, you can catch and keep walleye, sauger, northern pike, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass all year. On the river in Ramsey, Washington, Hennepin and Dakota counties there is a continuous catch-and-release season for walleye, sauger, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass in the following stretches:
Minnesota River downstream from the Mendota Bridge
Minnehaha Creek downstream from Minnehaha Falls
Pool 2 of the Mississippi River between the Hastings and Ford dams, including all backwater lakes and connecting waters except Crosby, Pickerel, Upper, Little Pigs Eye and North Star Steel lakes.
Walleye fishing is also open all year on Minnesota-North Dakota border waters. On Minnesota-Canada border waters, walleye fishing is open until Friday, April 14.
In southeast Minnesota, catch-and-release trout fishing is open in streams in Houston, Fillmore, Mower, Dodge, Olmsted, Winona, Wabasha and Goodhue counties.
And what’s more – especially if you know of new anglers or kids who want to try fishing – seasons for panfish and under-utilized fish are open all year. Check the 2017 Minnesota Fishing Regulations online for details.
Learn how we spend your license dollars
You may have heard that the DNR is seeking a hunting and fishing license fee increase in the 2017 legislative session.
The proposed $3 fishing license increase will not add staff or build general fisheries programs. Rather, it will continue to help sustain existing programs and area office operations, many of which already are reduced.
With a license fee increase, we will continue to maintain our world-class fisheries and habitats that keep Minnesota’s place as one of the nation’s top three inland fishing destinations.
Without a fee increase, various research and management activities will be reduced, delayed or ceased at 5,500 fishing lakes and 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams that are the foundation of the state’s $4.2 billion fishing economy.
More details can be found on the DNR website about how we put your license dollars to work. If you believe Minnesota offers recreation worth paying for, it is important that you speak up.