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2017 Bowfising regulations

4 posts in this topic

Hello fellow bowfisher,

I am new to the sport and have done extensive research to find up to date regulations so i know 100% what exactly i can and can not do. I am finding it rediculously hard to find such details, even on the mn dnr website it pulls up regs and posts from years ago. Here is what i have found thus far, though from 2009.

Anyone have a link of up to date regulations?

Have a wider range of available bowfishing lakes ie aitkin or crow wing areas?

Relating to the bottom 2013 post i found, now this it is "regular season", i can now shoot from land on backwaters and creeks?

Any tips on where to try are welcome, seems like the carp should be about to spawn given water temps if im not mistaen.....


A bow may be transported uncased and discharged while taking rough fish in a boat powered by an electric motor. Crossbows may not be used to take rough fish, except by disabled persons who have a valid crossbow permit. Permit applications are available from the DNR Information Center or through the DNR Web site.

  • Arrows must be attached to the bow with a tethered line. Broadheads must have barbs for night bowfishing.
  • Night bowfishing noise levels may not exceed 84 decibels.
  • Must take reasonable measures to retrieve arrows and wounded fish.
  • Rough fish may not be taken by spear, harpoon, archery, or dip net in designated trout lakes or streams.
  • Check local firearms and archery ordinances that may apply while bow-fishing in or near cities.
  • Licensed anglers and children under 16 may take rough fish by spearing, harpooning, archery, and hand-held dip nets on all inland waters, except where taking fish is prohibited. All rough fish, except cisco (tullibee), may be bought and sold.
  • Hand-held dip nets shall not have hoops exceeding 24 inches in diameter. (For more on smelt, see page 19.)
  • Harpoons (spears) must have a tethered line not more than 20 feet long, may be discharged only when the equipment and the operator are entirely under the surface of the water, and may not be used within 1,000 feet of a swimming beach.
  • It is unlawful to possess at or near waters a spear, net, or any device other than angling line that can take fish from Feb. 25, 2008–April 30, 2008 and Feb. 16, 2009–April 30, 2009. The exception is landing nets used for angling.
  • Speared or dead rough fish may not be returned to the water or left on the ice or banks of any lake or stream.

  • The following described water bodies are open to night bowfishing from June 1 to the last day in August.
    County - Lake name - (DOW number) Location
    (1) Becker County:
    Big Cormorant (3-576) T.138, R.42, S.7,18,19,30; T.138, R.43, S.1,11-14,22-25
    Dahlberg (3-577) T.138, R.42, S.6; T.138, R.43, S.1; T.139, R.42, S.31; T.139, R.43, S.36
    Leif (3-575) T.138, R.42, S.5,6; T.138, R.43, S.1; T.139, R.42, S.31
    Larson (3-596) T.138, R.43, S.10
    Middle Cormorant (3-602) T.138, R.43, S.15,21,22
    Nelson (3-595) T.138, R.43, S.9,10,15,16
    Rossman (Erickson) T.138, R.43, S.3,4,9,10 (3-587)
    Upper Cormorant (3-588) T.138, R.43, S.4,5,8,9,15,16,17
    (2) Benton County:
    Little Rock (5-13) (upstream of the new T.37, R.31, S.2,3,10,11,14;
    Gordon Bridge) T.38, R.31, S.34,35
    (3) Big Stone County:
    Big Stone (6-152) T.121-124, R.46-49, S.Various
    (4) Blue Earth County:
    Loon Lake (7-96) T.107, R.28, S.2-4,10,11
    Crystal Lake (7-98) T.107, R.28, S.4,5; T.108, R.28, S.32,33
    (5) Carver County:
    Waconia (10-59) T.116, R.24, S.6,7,18; T.116, R.25, S.1,2,10-15
    (6) Chisago County:
    South Center Lake T.33, R.20, S.2,3,4,9,10; (13-27) T.34, R.20, S.34,35
    Green Lake, including T.33, R.20, S.6,7,18,19;
    Little Green (13-41) T.33, R.21, S.12,13,23,24,25,26
    (7) Cottonwood County:
    North Oaks Lake (17-44) T.105, R.38, S.5,8; T.106, R.38, S.32
    (8) Crow Wing County:
    Borden Lake (18-20) T.44, R.28, S.2,9,10,11, 14,15,16,22
    (9) Douglas County:
    Mary Lake (21-92) T.126,127, R.38, S.Various
    Maple Lake (21-79) T.127, R.37, S.19,20,29-32; T.127, R.38, S.25-36
    (10) Goodhue County:
    Byllesby (19-6) T.112, R.18, S.8,9,10,11, 14,15,16,17
    (11) Grant County:
    Pomme de Terre (26-97) T.129, R.41, S.5-7,29-32; T.130, R.42, S.12,25,36
    (12) Hubbard County:
    Upper Twin Lake (29-157) T.138,139, R.34, S.6,31
    (13) Jackson County:
    Loon Lake (32-20) T.101, R.35, S.18,19; T.101, R.36, S.13,24,25
    (14) Kandiyohi County:
    Big Kandiyohi (34-86) Bowfishing is not allowed within 330 T.117, R.34, S.3; feet of the island. T.118, R.34, S.20-23,26-29,31
    Long Lake (34-192) T.120, R.35, S.11-15,22,23
    East Solomon Lake T.120, R.35, S.20,21,28-30; (34-246) T.120, R.36, S.25
    (15) Lincoln County:
    Hendricks (41-110) T.112, R.46, S.18,19; T.112, R.47, S.13,24
    (16) Le Sueur County:
    Dora Lake (40-10) T.110, R.23, S.3,4,9,10
    Sabre Lake (40-14) T.110, R.23, S.29,30
    Gorman Lake (40-32) T.110, R.23, S.7; T.110, R.24, S.11-14
    German Lake (40-63) T.109, R.24, S.4,5,8,9
    East, Middle, and West
    Jefferson Lake (40-92) T.109-110, R.24-25, S.Various
    (17) Martin County:
    East Chain (46-10) T.101, R.29, S.7,18,19; T.101, R.30, S.13,24
    Cedar Lake (46-121) T.103, R.32, S.19,30; T.104, R.33, S.1,24,25,26
    Bright Lake (46-52) T.101, R.31, S.8,9,16,17
    (18) Meeker County:
    Jennie Lake (47-15) T.118, R.29, S.20,21,27-29,32,33
    Washington (47-46) T.118,119, R.29,30, S.Various
    (19) Murray County:
    Currant Lake (51-82) T.108, R.42, S.7,18;
    T.108, R.43, S.12,13
    Bloody Lake (51-40) T.108, R.40, S.20,28,29
    Fox Lake (51-43) T.108, R.40, S.21,22,27,28
    First Fulda
    (South Fulda Lake) T.105, R.40, S.35,36 (51-21)
    (20) Nobles County:
    West Graham Lake T.104, R.39, S.15,16,21,22 (53-21)
    (21) Olmsted County:
    Zumbro Lake (55-414) T.108, T.109, R.14, S.Various
    Shady Lake (55-5) T.108, R.14, S.7,8,17,18; T.108, R.15, S.12
    (22) Ottertail County:
    Big Pine (56-130) T.136,137, R.38, S.Various
    Eagle (56-253) T.131, R.40, S.10,11,14,15
    Jolly Ann (56-370) T.131, R.40, S.13,24; T.131, R.41, S.13,24
    Pickerel (56-475) T.134, R.41, S.10-15
    North Ten Mile (56-604) T.131, R.42, S.16,17,20,21
    Ten Mile (South Ten Mile) (56-613) T.131, R.42, S.21,27-29,32-34
    (23) Pine County:
    Pokegama (58-142) between the Pine County Highway 11 bridge on the north end of the lake and the Pine County Highway 53 bridge and Pine County Highway 7 on the south T.39, R.22, S.13,14,23,24, end of the lake 25,26,35,36
    (24) Polk County:
    Union (60-217) T.147,148, R.42,43, S.Various
    Maple (60-305) T.148,149, R.43,44, S.Various
    (25) Pope County:
    Reno (61-78) T.126,127, R.37,38, S.Various
    Minnewaska (61-130) T.125, R.38,39, S.Various
    (26) Rice County:
    Circle Lake (66-27) T.111, R.21, S.15-17,21,22
    Fox Lake (66-29) T.111, R.21, S.26,27
    Union Lake (66-320) T.136,137, R.38, S.Various
    Rice Lake (66-48) T.110, R.22, S.16,17,20,21
    (27) Scott County:
    Cedar (70-91) T.113, R.22, S.7,18,19; T.113, R.23, S.12,13,24
    (28) Swift County:
    Monson Lake (76-33) T.121, R.37, S.3; T.122, R.37, S.35,36
    Camp Lake (76-72) T.122, R.38, S.1; T.123, R.38, S.36
    Oliver Lake (76-146) T.121, R.43, S.1; T.122, R.43, S.26,27,35,36
    (29) Traverse County:
    Traverse (78-25) T.125,127, R.47-49, S.Various


    Found this 2013 post...

    Early Bowfishing Season – We now have an area in the state which bowfishing will be allowed year round. During what we know as the closed season now we will be able to bowfish with the following restrictions:
    -The early bowfishing season zone will be south of Hwy 210.
    -You must be in a boat. NO shore shooting during the early season!
    -You must be on a lake or the Mississippi, Minnesota, or St. Croix Rivers. No creeks, streams, or tributaries!

    The start of the regular season will now be the last Saturday in April. From that point you would be able to shoot from the shore and head into areas not allowed in the early season. This is a great opportunity for bowfishers to hit the waters as soon as the ice comes off south of Hwy. 210! 





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    Well I am setting up a bow for it right now what I don't get is


    *Check local firearms and archery ordinances that may apply while bow-fishing in or near cities.


    I know lakes within cities that have a no shooting ordinance but I know everyone blowfishes the lakes is there an exception if your on a boat or what? Or can you from shore as well or is everyone breaking the rules?

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    The differing ordinances mean that on some parts of Lake Minnetonka for instance it is illegal to bowfish, and on yet others bowfishing is allowed but there are some additional regulations on top of the state laws that must be followed ie distance from docks. I was at my sisters on the north arm the other weekend and sure enough their were a couple guys bowfishing, too bad i didnt bring my rig as we saw one swim by the dock. Keeping the different rules in mind and figuring out where city boundaries lie in the water have caused much confusion for people looking to bowfish.

     In Orono, people must get a permit from the police department before bowfishing and the sport is prohibited at night. The Orono City Council voiced its support at its Feb. 11 meeting for one lake-wide ordinance that bans nighttime bowfishing and requires a permit through the LMCD or Water Patrol.


    Again, this was published in 2013

    but i have heard that you may need to contact local law enforcement for a permit

    Now that the official season has started we are allowed to bowfish from shorelines, i recall my dad saying he saw a kid last year bowfishing the drainage ditches in ham lake by the sod farms, he said it was an over flow from the rice creek chain.

    The general rule(s) of thumb are pretty obvious, despite there being a lot of them. Don't be a dick, don't leave traces you were there (Fish on the shore), don't knowingly trespass, don't shoot near people's boats, don't shoot towards houses if you can avoid it (Or at the very least make sure you're a good ~100yds+ away from it if shooting in that direction), never, ever, ever shoot near swimmers/divers/swimming areas, don't shoot near kids, don't shoot sportfish, never aim at anything you don't intend to shoot, if someone complains, don't argue, just apologize and move on. Basically, all that boils down to use common sense, and go out of your way to avoid confrontations/issues

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    I guess I will have to call the dnr about the couple spots I am in question of. Ones a darn and you can easily pick them off all day almost year round

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