Anglers will find a variety of changes in the 2020 Minnesota fishing regulations booklet, including new possession and length limits on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters of the Mississippi River. This is the first comprehensive update of regulations on the Mississippi River border waters in nearly 70 years.
The new border waters possession and length limits for most gamefish species went into effect March 1, and were developed based on decades of biological data, as well as substantial public input during 2018 and 2019.
“We've heard positive feedback about the changes from anglers who care a great deal about sustaining the high quality fish populations and the fishing opportunities on these Mississippi River border waters,” said Kevin Stauffer, the Department of Natural Resources area fisheries supervisor in Lake City.
The new regulations for the Mississippi River border waters and Lake Pepin include lower possession limits, and changes to some length limits, for walleye and sauger, northern pike, channel and flathead catfish, shovelnose sturgeon, crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, and white and yellow bass.
The changes are proactive measures that will help both states manage the effects that changing river conditions, invasive species and increased angling effectiveness have on fish. Wisconsin has approved identical regulations that will go into effect April 1. Some examples include:
- Walleye and sauger limit has decreased from 6 to 4.
- Crappie, sunfish, and yellow perch limit has decreased from 25 to 15 each.
- White and yellow bass limit has decreased from 25 to 10.
With the exception of minimum size limits for bass (14 inches) and walleye (15 inches) implemented in 1990, possession and size restrictions for gamefish on the Minnesota and Wisconsin border waters of the Mississippi River had been largely unchanged for the last seven decades.
Page 7 of Minnesota's new regulations book highlights changes for 2020 throughout the state, including:
Special regulations modified for several Minnesota lakes
- The 17-26 inch protected slot limit for walleye has changed to a 20-24 inch protected slot with only one over 24 inches allowed, on the following Itasca County lakes: Moose, Split Hand, Swan and Trout.
- The 40 inch minimum length limit for northern pike in Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Crow Wing lakes (Hubbard County) and Mitchell Lake (Crow Wing County) has changed to a 24-36 inch protected slot, with only one over 36 inches allowed and a possession limit of three.
- The 26-44 inch protected slot limit for northern pike on Upper Red Lake has changed to a 30-40 inch protected slot, with only one over 40 inches allowed and a possession limit of three.
- The catch and release regulations for largemouth bass on Turtle Lake (Ramsey County) have changed to a 14-20 inch protected slot, with only one over 20 inches allowed.
- The 12-20 inch protected slot limit for smallmouth bass on Turtle Lake (Itasca County) has changed to a 14-20 inch protected slot, with only one over 20 inches allowed.
New special regulations
- The possession limits for walleye on Green Lake (Kandiyohi County), Horseshoe and Minnewawa lakes (Aitkin County) have been reduced to three.
- The possession limit for black crappie in Mound Lake (Todd County) has been reduced to five.
Dropped special regulations
- Special regulations for northern pike have been dropped on the following lakes: Ada (Cass County), Big (Beltrami County), Big Carnelian (Washington County), Elephant (St. Louis County), Elk (Clearwater County), Eunice (Becker County), Little Cascade (Cook County), Loon (Cook County), Maud (Becker County), Prairie (St. Louis County), Ten Mile (Cass County).
- Special regulations for muskellunge on Elk Lake (Clearwater County) have been dropped.
- The 17-26 inch protected slot limit for walleye on Deer, Battle and Pickerel lakes in Itasca County have been dropped.
The new 2020 Minnesota fishing regulations are available online and anywhere Minnesota fishing licenses are sold.