Taking fish on Minnesota-Wisconsin boundary waters

What is this rule about?

This rulemaking will change the rules for fishing seasons on Minnesota’s border waters with Wisconsin.

What will this rulemaking will do?

The proposed expedited rules are about adjusting Minnesota's fishing on the boundary waters shared with Wisconsin to ensure consistent regulations for all anglers. The rule amendments modify possession limits for taking walleye and sauger, northern pike, channel and flathead catfish, shovelnose sturgeon, crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, and white and yellow bass in the Mississippi River, including Lake Pepin. The rule amendments also modify length limits for walleye, sauger, northern pike, channel catfish, and flathead catfish.

With few exceptions, regulations on possession and size restrictions for gamefish on the Minnesota and Wisconsin border waters of the Mississippi River have been largely unchanged since the 1940s and 1950s. The most recent changes were in 1990, when minimum size limits for bass (14 inches) and walleye (15 inches) were implemented. Over the last 20 years, however, regulations for gamefish in inland waters of both states have undergone substantial changes, and regulations on the border waters are now very different than those in either state.

In addition, aquatic habitat loss in backwaters and side channels due to sedimentation, chemical and hydrologic changes due to land use practices and climate change, and increasing abundance of invasive species all have the potential to significantly impact the long term health of fish populations on the Mississippi River. The proposed changes are intended to be a proactive measure that will allow the river to sustain high quality fish populations into future decades.

The DNR is using an expedited rulemaking procedure to make these changes effective by March 1, 2020, to coincide with Wisconsin’s similar regulation change.

Who might be affected by these rule changes?

  • Recreational anglers
  • Officials in bordering states

Where do I send my comments?

The comment and request for hearing period has closed on this rule.

Administrative Law Judge Schlatter approved this rule as to legality on Feb. 4 and the rule was filed with the Office of Secretary of State on Feb. 11.

The DNR now is doing a final check-in with the Office of the Governor and has requested a notice of adoption from the Office of Revisor of Statutes.

We are aiming to publish the notice of adoption in the State Register by the end of February. These rules will take effect on the date the notice of adoption is published.

Where can I get more information?

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

DNR contact person

Shannon Fisher
Fish and Wildlife Division
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020
[email protected]