Border waters, fishing contests, designated waters and aquatic management areas

This rulemaking will change the rules affecting Minnesota-Canada border water definitions, permitted fishing contests, designated fish management waters and general provisions for use of aquatic management areas.

What will this rulemaking will do?

1. Border Waters

The amendments clarify the regulatory boundaries of border waters between Minnesota and Ontario. DNR fisheries and enforcement staff met with their counterparts from Canada to discuss inconsistencies about where Minnesota-Ontario border waters designations begin and end. These inconsistencies create confusion for anglers and enforcement officers, and the amendments have been agreed upon by fisheries and enforcement representatives for Minnesota and Ontario.

2. Fishing Contests

Part 6212.2525 currently prohibits off-site, live-release weigh-in for bass tournaments during July/August. However, the commissioner must exempt contests on the Canadian border when specific criteria are met. This revision provides the same exemption for Chisago County contests that meet the same criteria. This will allow a Chisago County contest that predates the July/August restriction imposed in 2008 to continue without a special permit.

3. Designated Waters

The amendments to part 6264.0050, subpart 2, remove three lakes from the list of “designated trout lakes” because the lakes have become infested with northern pike. Trout stocking has been discontinued in these lakes because the survival of stocked trout is unacceptably low in lakes supporting northern pike. Part 6264.0125, subpart 4. Fish population spawning behaviors and patterns change over time. This proposed revision adds three recently identified walleye spawning areas (portions of Smith Creek in Itasca County, and an unnamed creek and the Ripple River in Aitkin County) in need of protection. The DNR would like to reduce disturbance to these areas to increase the potential for the walleye eggs to grow, hatch, and contribute to the fishery. However, anglers frequently utilize these areas targeting other fish species and the only way to keep anglers out is to close these areas for all species. The revision also removes a redundant designation (Horseshoe Lake and Sand Lake in Crow Wing County) from the list of designated spawning beds and fishing preserves because there is no longer a conservation need for these designations. (Note: Horseshoe Lake and Sand Lake are actually the same lake and have the same public water number.)

4. Aquatic Management Areas

Part 6270.0200. The DNR is amending the aquatic management areas (AMA) language governing aircraft use to provide protections similar to those in place for wildlife management areas and proposed protections for state parks.

Who might be affected by these rule changes?
  • Chisago County fishing contest participants
  • Anglers that utilize designated waters and Minnesota-Canada border waters
  • Businesses that rely on anglers using designated waters and Minnesota-Canada border waters
Where do I send my comments?

Submit comments in writing by Friday, March 8, 2024, to the DNR staff person listed below as the contact.

Where can I get more information?
Rulemaking documents

If you want a free copy of the proposed rules, call or email the DNR contact person listed below.

DNR contact person

Shannon Fisher
Fisheries populations monitoring and regulations manager
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020
[email protected]

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