Fishing tournament regulations

Permit requirements

  • Unless your fishing tournament meets one of the exceptions listed below, you will need a tournament permit if any of the following are true:
    1. There are more than 25 boats for open-water contests, more than 150 participants for ice-fishing contests, or more than 100 participants for shore-fishing contests;
    2. Entry fees are more than $25 per person; OR
    3. The contest is listed to trout species.


A person may conduct a contest without a permit provided any one of the following three criteria apply (note, even if not required large events are encouraged to apply for a permit to avoid significant crowding issues):

  1. The contest is not limited to specifically named waters;
  2. The contest is limited to rough fish taken via hook-and-line (bowfishing tournaments require a permit); OR
  3. The total prize value is $500 or less

Permit fees

  • Fee for open-water contests without off-site weigh-ins (weigh-in is located on contest waters):
    • Youth contests where all participants are 18 or younger: $50
    • Small contests (50 or fewer boats or shore-based contests): $70
    • Large contests (more than 50 boats): $225
  • Fee for open-water contests with off-site weigh-ins:
    • Small contests: $280
    • Large contests: $560
  • Fee for ice contests (more than 150 participants) is $135

Fishing tournament regulations (Minnesota Administrative Rule 6212.2700) state that “No contest may preempt use of a boat ramp or parking spaces at public access to contest waters. Contests shall not use more than 50 percent of the parking spaces at state-owned sites unless authorized by the permit. A contest organizer who seeks to use more than 50 percent of the parking spaces at a state-owned site must submit a plan on how to manage parking, on a parking plan form provided by the commissioner, when the organizer submits the contest application.”

DNR Fisheries is asking for your cooperation to minimize conflicts at accesses by submitting parking plans as part of your permit application.

If a permit is required, and if entry fees are over $25 per person, or total prizes are valued at more than $25,000, and the applicant has not previously conducted a permitted fishing contest or has ever failed to make required prize awards in a fishing contest, the applicant will be required to furnish evidence of financial responsibility in the form of a surety bond or bank letter of credit in the amount of $25,000.

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