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      Minnesota Fishing Report Clubs - ONLY 20 FREE MEMBERSHIPS Per Area - Join Today - FREE   03/08/2018

      Fishing Minnesota has added a new menu item (see above) called Fishing Report Clubs. It's a way to keep the really good fishing reports coming and being shared only with those who also provide detailed fishing reports. We will only approve new members who request to join if they have already posted a recent fishing report in the area forum, associated with the Fishing Report Club area  you want to join. Initially we are going to limit the number of regular memberships, in the Fishing Report Clubs, to the top 20 members in each Club, to those with the best frequency and quality fishing reports provided in the club and less so in the regular fishing report forum open to all members. The higher quality fishing report reserved for the club of course. If  you want see detailed fishing reports/tips  around your area and will share your detailed fishing report as soon as you join, then Join Now! Some of the clubs are starting to fill fast. Use the Fishing Reports Club link in the Menu above (after you've posted a fishing report in the regular area forum) and request to Join.

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Fish house License

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Changes to fish house rules during the close of the 2007 Legislative session will greet anglers in Minnesota this ice fishing season, particularly those leaving such structures unattended on the ice overnight. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) expects the changes to generate some questions since the 2007 Fishing Regulations Handbook does not reflect the new statute language.

Col. Mike Hamm, DNR’s chief conservation officer, said the changes are pretty straightforward. “If you haul a fish house out and leave it unattended on the ice overnight, it needs a fish house license,” Hamm said. The rule change applies to both dark houses and fish houses.

The legal definition for a “fish house” means a structure set on the ice of state waters to provide shelter while taking fish by angling.

For a fish house or a dark house to require a shelter license, it has to be left unattended on the ice overnight and used for taking fish. “Overnight” is defined as the hours between sunset and sunrise outlined in the DNR’s sunrise/sunset tables in the 2007 Fishing Regulations Handbook.

Also under new provisions of the statute, residents and nonresidents are treated the same. This means in most cases a nonresident using a fish house during daylight hours will not need a fish house license. Likewise, if a nonresident angler is found occupying a fish house during the night, no fish house license will be required. However, if a nonresident places a fish house on a lake and leaves it unattended overnight, a nonresident shelter license will be required.

“For the 2007-2008 winter season, residents and nonresidents will need the appropriate fish house license only if the fish house is left unattended on the ice overnight,” Hamm said.


Question: Resident or nonresident is angling with a fish house for five hours during the day. Person leaves ice with the fish house. Does angler need a fish house license?

Answer: No. A fish house license is not required in this instance.

Question: Resident or nonresident angler stays overnight in a fish house. Does person need a fish house license?

Answer: No. A fish house license is not required in this instance, as long as the fish house is occupied.

Question: Resident or nonresident angler leaves fish house unoccupied on an area lake overnight in front of the resort angler is staying at. Does the fish house require a fish house license?

Answer: Yes. A fish house license would be required in this instance. Anytime the fish house is left unattended overnight, a fish house license is required.

Question: A group of (resident or nonresident) anglers pulls a fish house on the ice for a weekend of ice fishing. The fish house is designed with a wheel system that allows for easy access and removal from the lake. The anglers stay in the house and never leave it unoccupied during the course of the weekend. Does the fish house require a license?

Answer: No. A fish house license is not required as long as the fish house is attended. This includes daylight, as well as nighttime use.

Question: A group of anglers (resident or nonresident) anglers constructs an 8- by - 8- by 12-foot fish house on a local lake. Regularly the group, or members of the group, will meet at the fish house after work to fish. By 9 p.m. they’ve all left and return the following day at 5 p.m. for more fun. Does this fish house require a license?

Answer: Yes. Depending on who owns the fish house, a resident or a nonresident fish house license would be required.

The following regulations apply to fish houses, dark houses and portable shelters used on all Minnesota waters, unless noted in the 2007 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Handbook.

- A person may not take fish from a dark house or fish house that is left unattended on

the ice overnight unless the house is licensed and has a license tag attached to the

exterior in a readily visible location. The commissioner must issue a tag with a dark

house or fish house license, marked with a number to correspond with the license

and the years of issue. A dark house or fishing house is not required of a resident on

boundary waters where the adjacent state does not charge a fee for the same activity.

- Nonresidents may obtain a license for a fish shelter.

- All shelters (including dark houses, fish houses and portable shelters) placed on the

ice of Minnesota waters must have either the complete name and address, driver’s

license number, or the nine-digit Minnesota DNR number on the license of

the owner plainly and legibly displayed on the outside in letters, and figures at least

two inches in height.

- A tag, furnished with the license, must be attached to the exterior in a readily visible location.

- Dark houses, fish houses and portable shelters must have a door that can be opened from the outside at any time when in use.

- Fish houses left on the ice overnight need to have at least two square inches of

reflective material on each side of the house.

- Fish houses must comply with the identification requirements of the state for which

the angler is licensed.

- No person may erect a dark house, fish house or shelter within 10 feet of an existing

dark house, fish house or shelter.

- Portable dark houses, fish houses and shelters may be used for fishing within the

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), but must be removed from the

ice each night. The structure must be removed from the BWCAW each time the

occupant leaves the BWCAW.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • tipupsonly
      Ice fishing has exploded to the point where one should worry about LOTW, Red, Mille Lacs, etc. Fortunatley,  LOTW is massive. However, the north end of the US waters are getting hit harder and harder. It’s insane how many people are on the lake on weekends. The amount of pressure on any lake is a turn off to me personally. I’d rather catch less fish away from the crowds and it’s getting harder to get away. The slot is the key on this lake and so many. I do think the limits could come down or the slot tightened, but it doesn’t NEED to yet. No one cares about the sauger but they keep you and your flasher busy. 4 and 4 is a good number but maybe you go to 3 walleye and 5 sauger in the winter? Most buckets are filled with more sauger anyways.  It’s amazing it keeps kicking them out. 
      This topic comes up again from time to time, and it's a good thing to be conservation-minded about this amazing fishery.  Since this is an open forum, I'll share a few of my observations of this lake.  Please keep in mind, I currently live 1 1/2 hrs south of the lake, and I've fished this lake for roughly 40 years of my life.  I'm also a very conservation centered person, and I'd be the first in line to make personal sacrifices to see the long-term improvement of this lake, and it's surrounding wildlife. These are issues I find troubling. 1) Summer resort guided fishing pressure.  Literally dozens and dozens of launches leave the resort docks every morning during the open water season, with hundreds of guests.  These launches invariably return each day with coolers full of walleyes, day after day after day.  Even though this harvest is closely regulated, I worry about the long-term impact this level of harvest might have on the fishery. 2) Sport fishing pressure during the Spring Spawning run up the Rainy River.  Although the allowable harvest (daily bag limit 2/person) is very conservative, I still worry about the impact this catch and release fishing pressure has on the overall spawning pattern of these fish.  Yes, there are millions of fish in the river, but there are also thousands of anglers catching and releasing these fish, many large spawning females, during a critical time in their reproductive cycle.  I'd personally like to see them left alone during the spawn.  It's not allowed on inland waters.  I'm not sure why it's allowed on these border waters? 3)  A body of water this size (and in consideration of the overall increase in sport fishing pressure) should have more Conservation Officers assigned to it's management.  I'm not sure how many of you routinely read the CO reports from this lake, but each week the few officers we do have canvas large sections of the lake.  There isn't a day that goes by when they don't find multiple people overharvesting fish, fishing without proper licensing, fishing with too many lines, or fishing with unattended lines.  I believe the reason why this behavior is so common is because most people know it's unlikely they'll ever be checked by CO's while on the lake.  I really think we'd see much less of this behavior if there were a few more CO's regularly assigned to enforcement on this lake. These are issues I'm pleased to see have been changed. 1) The overall harvest of shiner minnows during the fall run up the Rainy River.  When this first really got going it was a "Silver Rush", and the harvest of minnows was out of control.  Everyone was seeing dollar signs in their dreams.  There's no way to quantify how many 5-gallon buckets full of minnows were lifted from the river each night, but it was a free-for-all, and there's little doubt it was having a negative impact on the forage base of the entire southern basin.  In my opinion, it's likely one of the reasons why the Fall Walleye run up the Rainy River trickled down to darn near nothing for a few years.  There were WAY fewer minnows going up the river.  Since then, the MN DNR has implemented reasonably stringent regulations on the overall harvest of this incredibly important resource, and it's my humble opinion that this one single conservation agenda will greatly help to stabilize this whole ecosystem.  2) Commercial netting has either been eliminated altogether, or dramatically reduced and closely regulated across the entire expanse of this lake...including the Canadian side. 3) A much more conservative slot limit was placed on Northern Pike.  I don't know how many of you were fishing this lake 25 years ago, but I was, and I distinctly recall watching people fishing pike in the spring and stacking them like cordwood on the ice.  Again, a free-for-all.  Large groups (6-12 people per group) tip-up fishing, and killing dozens and dozens of big spawning pike, day after day after day.  Putting a stop to this has had a major impact on the number of trophy pike in the southern end of the lake.  There's very few places in the WORLD where you can almost guarantee catching multiple trophy-sized pike in a single day of fishing! Additionally, a much more conservative slot limit was placed on walleyes, and their daily bag limit per person.  It's truly astonishing how many 20-26 inch walleyes are now in this lake!  It's these prime reproductive females that are the future of this fishery, and from a conservation standpoint protecting these fish is critical to generations of fish to come. Lake of the Woods is almost certainly the best walleye fishery in the world.  You can go out there anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE, drop a  line and catch some fish.  That's where this discussion needs to be put into perspective.  Has there been a pretty dramatic increase in fishing pressure?  Yes.  But please keep in mind, particularly during the ice season, the vast majority of sport fishing pressure is confined to a pretty small portion of the lake, and according to the DNR creel counts, the largest percentage of angler harvest occurs during the winter months. When we're lined up on a fairly thin strip of ice on the southern shore of the lake it seems darn near impossible that ANY fish could go without being caught beneath the thousands of fish houses.  But take a moment to look to the north.  It's the north end of this lake that is it's saving grace.  There are literally THOUSANDS of square miles of water out there that goes completely untouched by sport fishing every year.  We can see, on a clear day, 30-35 miles north across the southern basin, but Lake of the Woods runs another couple hundred miles north of the southernmost islands (Oak, Garden, Big Island, etc.).  It's connected on the Western shore to Lake Winnipeg and the Red River of the North by rivers.  It's connected on the Southeastern shore to Rainy Lake and countless other bodies of water beyond, by the Rainy River.  To say this body of water is huge is a gross understatement.  One could spend a lifetime exploring this water and you wouldn't put a scratch in the tip of the iceberg! Many years ago (25-30 yrs?) I was talking with a couple CO's out on the lake while ice-fishing.  I still do this today every time they come around.  It's great to discuss their conservation ideas with the source.   Anyway, we were talking about the overall impact that sport fishing has on the lake.  One of these CO's told me this.  "We could open up Lake of the Woods to UNLIMITED sport fishing, no limits, and it would have NO long term impact on the walleye population in this lake!"  The other CO agreed. I'm not sure I agree entirely with this perspective, but knowing the lake as well as I do, I don't think these folks are too far off on their guess.  This lake, including it's vast untapped water in Canada, and including all it's tributary rivers, bays, bogs, streams, and connecting waterways, is a fish producing factory!  We are SO SPOILED by this lake!  Where else can you go and actually think catching ONLY 15-20 fish is a pretty crummy day of fishing?!?! But again, in my humble opinion, it's NEVER wrong to be conservative with the natural resources we have in this great country.  When you do all the studies, and evaluate all the populations, and complete all the mathematics, it still boils down to a finite number of living creatures for all of us to share.  Taking care of these resources, and being good stewards of what we have is never the wrong thing to do. On a side note, I could certainly be wrong about a few of my personal observations.  I'm not so foolish or prideful to say I'm always right about everything I say.  These are just my observations, coupled with a love for this lake.  I'll be the first to admit I may not have all my facts perfectly straight. I honestly miss topics of conversation like this one on this site.  It's a good question, and a good post.  For a few years there it looked like this website was rapidly spinning down the t-bowl.  I'm happy to see it appears to be making a slow comeback!  
    • Rick
    • VermilionGold
      What kind of dock are you looking at adding to? I had a lift dock extended a few years ago, they were able to weld a new section to the existing dock and add an “L” section.
    • VermilionGold
      Thanks to those that have PM’d some contacts. I plan to use mine for boat storage, but if you read the regulations on Boathouses or WOAS structures there is no requirement to put a boat in it.  They cannot be used for human habitation though. Ok, carry on with your discussion.
    • Big Kype
      Minnesota, the land of 10,000 rules where it's barely legal to fish.

      The main selling point is that the JawJacker and Autos are a conservation tool. It sets the hook right away as soon as the fish bites. So a lot less fish get hooked deep and die after being released. There are limits on all these lakes anyway so it's not like people are going to over-fish lakes because the limit is the same regardless of what you use to fish with. There is a rule in the Minnesota rules that says you can't fish with spring loaded hooks. A spring loaded hook is actually a device from the 1920's and 30's that was banned because when a fish bit it would somehow latch onto the fish's mouth and disfigure destroy the fish it clamped down so hard. So the rule dates back to the 1920's and 30's and was put in the regs to ban that specific device. You might be able to find these spring loaded hooks somewhere like a fishing equipment collectors guide. So they have forgotten the specific reasoning behind that regulation and interpret the bent rod as being a spring loaded hook now which it is not and deviates from the original intent of the regulation. To change laws and regs you almost need to have some sort of a lobbying group, like a sportsmans group to pick up the cause to push the issue or talk with your local state government officials to pick up the cause. In Wyoming a CO once was saying that if a sportsmen's group or activist group comes to them and shows how the regulations have changed in states around them and they feel like they are falling behind the times on certain things then they will review the issue and change the regs if they feel that is necessary.
    • eyeguy 54
      nice fishies! 
    • monstermoose78
      I think tulipees are eating walleye fry  Or the spottailed shiners
    • monstermoose78
      Nice gills!
    • leech~~
      That's what we keep hearing and it sounds good. But, I'm starting to think our DNR fisheries doesn't even know how Jello works!