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Fish mn

Fishing basics

Do I need a license?

You need to buy a Minnesota fishing license if you're 16 or older. Annual licenses allow you to fish from March 1 to the last day of February the following year. Lower-cost licenses are available for shorter time periods. There is an added cost to fish for trout, salmon or sturgeon. In most cases, Minnesotans don't need a license if you're fishing in a state park. The DNR's complete listing of fishing licenses can help you decide what to buy.

Buy a license online
When can I fish?

You can fish in spring, summer, fall and winter. You can fish any day of the year if the kind of fish you're trying to catch can be legally caught on the day you're fishing.

What can I catch?

You can catch some fish such as crappie, catfish, sunfish, perch and bullhead at any time. Fish such as walleye, northern pike and bass – commonly called gamefish – can only be caught during certain times of the year. Those time periods can vary depending on where you are fishing. Use the DNR LakeFinder to find specific regulations for a particular lake, river or stream. If you're fishing for trout, check out the Trout Fishing Regulations.

How can I fish?

You can catch fish with a line attached to a fishing pole. When the water isn't frozen, you must use only one fishing pole. When the water is frozen, you can use two lines, which don't have to be attached to a fishing pole. Regardless of the time of year, if your line is in the water you have to be right there. In some places and for some fish, spearing, netting and using a bow with an attached arrow are allowed. Use the DNR LakeFinder to find specific regulations for a particular lake, river or stream.

Where can I fish?

You can fish on lakes, rivers and streams.  To get to a fishing area, don't cross private property without permission. Some areas may have fishing and access restrictions posted. Use the DNR LakeFinder to find specific regulations for a particular lake, river or stream.

What if I catch fish?

Use the DNR LakeFinder to find the number of fish you may catch each day in a particular lake, river or stream. No matter where you fish, the number of fish you catch each day are part of the total number of fish in your possession. Fish you have at home in a freezer or back at camp in a cooler are considered to be in your possession and count toward your limit.

Programs & events

Shiloutte of a person fishingSpending time with someone who already fishes is the easiest way to learn to fish. If that's not an option, explore these fishing programs and events.

Get started

Use the information we've gathered here to help build your fishing knowledge and skills.

Where to go

Fish safely

Remember to wear a life jacket and follow our safety tips when you're out with family and friends trying to land that lunker.

Contact us

Connect with others

Discover fishing organizations that can help you connect with the outdoors.

Help others learn

Discover how you can help others learn and involve them in the outdoors. Special grants often are available.

Fishing Regulations

Find a lake

Get lake specific information including regulations, fish species, stocking reports and lake maps.

Screenshot of moble LakeFinder application for smart devices

Go mobile!

Get the same information but in a portable, mobile-friendly format that knows exactly where you're at with LakeFinder mobile.

Check the regulations

View the online version. If device service will be limited, check the regulations page before leaving or download the complete version.

Trout fishing

Special considerations

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