Authorized Bait Dealers

To help prevent the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in Minnesota waters, anglers cannot use cisco or rainbow smelt as bait in any water body unless it has been preserved by a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit holder using accepted methods known to make the virus inactive.

The rule was enacted to protect Minnesota's inland waters from VHS, which is now present in Lake Superior. Cisco is known to carry VHS, and rainbow smelt are likely carriers. Both are popular baitfish used in Lake Superior and inland waters.

Smelt or cisco that were taken from designated infested waters cannot be preserved and used for bait. Anglers who harvested and froze cisco and smelt from non-infected waters for use this winter as bait can have it preserved and labeled by the authorized permit holders listed below.

When fishing using preserved cisco or rainbow smelt as bait, anglers must have in their possession the label from the batch of bait being used. The label must contain the bait processor's DNR permit number, the lot number, and the date of processing.

It remains legal to harvest cisco and rainbow smelt for personal consumption in Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland waters. VHS does not have any impact on humans through direct contact or via fish consumption.

Business Name   Phone Number City
Benson's By The Lake   507-734-5877 Balaton
Birchview Resort   218-634-1693 Baudette
Border View Lodge   218-634-1631 Baudette
Rainy River Bait   218-202-1139 Baudette
Winnie Trading Post   218-246-9630 Deer River
Chalstrom's Bait   218-726-0094 Duluth
Gary Bait Shop   218-626-3195 Duluth
LaTourell's Inc.   218-365-4531 Ely
Jerry's One Stop   218-363-2252 Longville
Todd's Live Bait   320-592-3615 McGrath
North Country Bait   218-732-7500 Park Rapids
Cabela's   763-493-8600 Rogers
Zippel Bay Resort   218-783-6235 Williams