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So...... Where is the border?

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I’ve done a search on this site and found a few older discussions on the topic and it looks like the consensus was that the DNR or MNR could pick the rule that best suited the conditions. Some say right down the middle of the river others say it is the middle of the navigable channel. Any recent opinions different than that? Below is a note a friend of mine sent to the DNR today. I doubt they will respond since they would not want to be on the hook if it became a legal situation……


A group of us go to the Rainy River/Lake of the Woods to fish each year and we always come up with the same question.

What defines the US and Canadian border on the Rainy River? Some of us think its defined as the "navigatable channel" while others define it as "shore to shore". In most places on the river they are both the same but there are areas where the definition of "navigatable channel" and "shore to shore" can be extremely different.

The reason I ask is that a few years ago a boat in our group was ticketed by the Canadian DNR for being in Canadian water. The DNR person said that the border was defined as "navigatable channel". By that definition they were guilty of being in Canadian water but if applying the "shore to shore" definition they would have been in US water. The people were in an area that is very popular with Americans and the Canadians could have chosen to ticket a number of boats. We had always deemed this as American water as we had used the "shore to shore".

I know that is always better to error on the side of safety but we were wondering if Minnesota uses the same terms to define the border and where can I find the "official" document that defines it.

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I just look at the Mn. Shoreline and make sure Im closer to that than the Canadian side.

There is a grey area and if they want to nail ya in that grey area they probably could. I havent seen the Canadians be real unfair about the line but I know a few guys who have had issue with the line the Canadians lazered down the river. Just dont play out in the middle too much and you will be fine. Fishing last week was way better away from the middle anyways. Current was very strong in the middle 2/3rds of the river. 14-8' is where most of our fish came from.

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Thanks NL. I think the best thing to do is keep an eye out for the MNR and pick up and go if you see them coming

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If you know who they are. Oh and at times they can be pretty slick. In the spring you can usually waych all the boats get out of the middle to the Mn. side more but in the fall there isnt usually enough boats for that. I just make sure I dont give them any reason to come by my boat.

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