Harvesting wild rice is open to Minnesota residents and nonresidents. Nonresidents must purchase a one-day license and residents may purchase either a season or one-day license. All harvesters are required to be licensed unless they are residents under 18 years of age and accompanied by a licensed harvester. Wild rice licenses are available from ELS license agents. Fees from wild rice harvest and buyer licenses are deposited in a special account for wild rice management.
As of 2016: Tribal band members who possess a valid tribal identification card from a federally recognized tribe located in Minnesota are deemed to have a license to harvest wild rice, and will not need the additional state wild rice harvesting license.
Season Dates and Hours
August 15 to September 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The harvest of “green” (unripe) wild rice is unlawful.
National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges are closed to wild rice harvesting, except when authorized by special permits. Harvest is allowed on state wildlife management areas, except where specifically closed by posting or rule.
Destruction of wild rice plants by cutting, pulling, or removing is unlawful except when cut above the waterline and used for shooting or observation blinds. All aquatic vegetation must be removed from watercraft before leaving any body of water to prevent the spread of exotic vegetation such as purple loosestrife and Eurasian watermilfoil.
Watercraft used in harvesting wild rice may not exceed 18 feet in length or 36 inches in maximum width. Any extension that increases normal capacity is prohibited.
Push poles used to propel watercraft for harvesting wild rice must be forked at the end. The forks must be less than 12 inches in length.
Flails used to harvest wild rice must be made of round, smooth wood no longer than 30 inches and weigh no more than one pound. Flails must be hand held and operated.
The use of any machine or mechanical device to harvest wild rice is prohibited unless the operator holds fee title to all the property that surrounds the public water where the harvest is taking place and the public water is less than 125 acres in size, within the original boundaries of any Indian reservation, and there is no public access directly or through a channel or watercourse.
Any person violating any of the laws or rules pertaining to wild rice is subject to a fine up to $1000 and/or 90 days in jail.
Indian Reservation Restrictions (General)
All native wild rice within the existing boundaries of the White Earth, Leech Lake, Bois Forte, Grand Portage, Fond du Lac, and Mille Lacs Indian Reservations is managed by the respective reservation wild rice committees. These committees establish the opening date, days, and hours of harvest no less than 24 hours prior to the opening. These regulations may be altered by the wild rice committees after the season has been announced by posting the major entrances to affected waters no less than 12 hours prior to the changes taking effect.
It is unlawful for any person to take wild rice grain from any of the waters within the original boundaries at the White Earth, Leech Lake, Nett Lake, Vermilion Lake, Grand Portage, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs reservations except for Native Americans or residents of the reservation upon which said wild rice grain is taken.
Special Leech Lake Indian Reservation Restrictions
In addition to the above regulations, all non-tribal members must have Leech Lake Reservation permits to harvest or buy wild rice within the boundaries of the Leech Lake Reservation.
Help Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers
There is a risk of spreading aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil while engaging in many activities on the water, including harvesting wild rice. Learn what you can do to make sure you are not transporting aquatic invaders you move from lake to lake.