Minnow Dealer License

A minnow dealer license allows for the taking, possessing, buying, and selling of minnows from public waters that can be legally accessed. Leeches are considered and defined as minnows. A minnow dealer can sell minnows at one retail outlet under their minnow dealer license, but must obtain a minnow retailer license for each additional retail outlet where minnows are sold at retail. An aquatic farm or private fish hatchery licensee that purchases a minnow dealer endorsement and chooses to sell minnows at retail must list the address of one minnow retail outlet on their license. Vehicles used to transport more than 12 dozen minnows must be licensed as minnow dealer vehicles. An Exporting Minnow Dealer License is required to export minnows out of the state.


Aquatic Invasive Species Training

If you are a Minnow Dealer or a person working under a Minnow Dealer license (unless you only sell minnows at a retail location), you are required by law to annually complete an online Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) training course prior to taking, selling, or transporting for sale minnows within the state.


Harvesting Minnows in Designated Infested Waters

Minnow harvest is prohibited in designated infested waters, except under a permit. Permits are available for minnow harvest in waters designated as infested with Eurasian watermilfoil, flowering rush, spiny waterflea, faucet snail, and/or zebra mussel. Permit applications not received by March 1 will not be accepted until the following year.


Harvesting Minnows in Designated Trout Waters

Minnow harvest is prohibited in designated trout waters, except under a permit. For more information or to apply for a permit to harvest minnows from designated trout waters, please contact your Regional Fisheries Manager.


Harvesting Minnows within Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)

Minnow harvest is prohibited within the boundaries of WMAs, except under a permit. For more information or to apply for a permit to harvest minnows within WMAs, please contact your Area Wildlife Manager.


Fish Health Inspection and Certification

Rainbow Smelt, Cisco, and minnows on the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) list of species affected by Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSV) may only be harvested from lakes that have tested negative for VHS in the past year.


There are two labs in the state of MN that can perform a fish health inspection:

  1. The MN DNR Pathology Laboratory
  2. The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

You can also choose to use any accredited testing laboratory located out-of-state. 


Certified fish collectors:

Dr. Jeff Lukken218-864-5695Battle LakeMN
Dr. John Howe218-326-9668Grand RapidsMN
Dr. Glen Zebarth320-762-1575AlexandriaMN
Dr. Jamie Litke320-630-0151PierzMN
Dr. Spencer Wayne507-215-1604PipestoneMN

Dr. Robert Smith

Dr. Michael Bjorklund507-256-7237Clarks GroveMN
Dr. Amanda Covington320-458-3311WinstedMN
Dr. Kevin Haroldson218-732-9866Park RapidsMN
Dr. Rachel Bakeberg320-289-2484AppletonMN
Dr. Kelvin Rudolph218-346-2120PerhamMN


Report Forms

As part of your minnow dealer license renewal, you must complete and return an Annual Report of Live Bait Sales. This report must be submitted even if no production or sales occurred during the licensing period.



$310 – Minnow Dealer License

$15/vehicle – Minnow Dealer Vehicle License (one vehicle license is required)

Variable – Fish Health Inspections (when applicable)


Request an Application

Click here to request a license application.


License Renewal Information

License renewal packets will be mailed out to all current minnow dealer licensees in January. You can renew your license by completing and returning the enclosed license application.


Optional permit applications

Bait Preservation Permit (233.77 K, 2 pages)

Permit to harvest minnows in designated infested waters


Helpful Links

Minnow Statutes

Minnow Rules

Infested Waters List

Invasive species information

VHS susceptible species

Fish Health Information


Questions? Contact us!

Sean Sisler, Acting Aquaculture and Fish Health Consultant

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