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 four 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

All tournaments are required to contact the county sheriff prior to their event. If using a state-owned boat launch, tournament organizers cannot use more than 50% of the parking spaces nor hold a weigh-in on state property without additional authorization and an approved parking plan. Generally, tournament organizers should do everything they can to avoid crowding public boat launches before and after the event. Distribute participants across launches and hold weigh-ins on private property when possible.

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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