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I just returned from a fishing trip on Lake Michigan and used a product that I had never seen before in MN... The Automatic Fisherman... For those of you out there that have never seen one, it basically holds the rod and then you bend the tip down to a pin, when a fish hits, the rod tip is pulled from the pin and it basically sets the hook... Works well...

I then asked the question, why havent I seen these before, to someone who was with, and that lived in MN, and they told me they are illegal in our state.... I asked "why"... he said the DNR says no spring loaded tip ups, or the such.. I then commented..."There's no springs or anything of the such on this... So why is it illegal?"

My question to this group is.... Why is the automatic fisherman illegal in MN? confused

Don't tell me it's spring loaded because it has none... it uses the tip of the pole... crazy

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I have not figured this out either.

If you are trolling with a down rigger you use a release clip.. a fish hits, clip releases and than the pole sets the hook.

Or if you are just plain trolling doesn't the rod set the hook?

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BTW, the rod I saw with the Automatic Fisherman I handled in the store looks excellent for lakers. Great action and lots of guides for those types of fish.

Couple FB friends of mine who fish the Great Lakes for trout and salmon say they wouldn't get near the fish they do without the AF. Seems those trout are inclined to pick up baits, move a few feet and drop them. The AF takes care of business right away!

I'd love to be able to use them for winter lake trout.

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Basically a rod is a spring, it can hold and release energy.
Then why is a downrigger that does the same exact thing not illegal?
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Think about it, with the AF, the line goes straight from the fish to the preloaded tension of the rod. With a downrigger, the line forms a 90 degree angle between the fish, the release, and the rod(slack) that must be taken up before the hook gets set.

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I been fishing with downriggers since the seventys downriggers set the hook on fish.

Yep. Good long flexible downrigger rod loaded to the max can take out a LOT of slack right now! I've never felt the need to set a hook fishing lakers on downriggers and, since I switched all my trolling spoons over to single hooks, rarely lose a downrigger fish.

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Quote:
2012 Minnesota Statutes

Resources

About Minnesota Statutes

97C.325 RESTRICTIONS ON TAKING FISH.

(a) Except as specifically authorized, a person may not take fish with:

(1) explosives, chemicals, drugs, poisons, lime, medicated bait, fish berries, or other similar substances;

(2) substances or devices that kill, stun, or affect the nervous system of fish;

(3) nets, traps, trot lines, or snares; or

(4) spring devices that impale, hook, or capture fish.

(B) If a person possesses a substance or device listed in paragraph (a) on waters, shores, or islands, it is presumptive evidence that the person is in violation of this section.

© The commissioner may, by rule, allow the use of a nonmotorized device with a recoil mechanism to take fish through the ice.

(d) To protect water quality or improve habitat for fish or wildlife, the commissioner may prescribe restrictions on fishing seasons, limits, or methods on specific bodies of water.

What does © mean, would this allow the AF to be used. Seems to me like the AF would be better than a tip up for not allowing fish to swallow the hook.

Side note, I could not find this topic covered in the fishing regulations book. How are anglers suppose to know all these laws not covered in the fishing regs book?

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I agree with you, Riverfish, I think it would cut down on swallowed hooks. To answer your other question, the same way you found it, searching. Of course you had a reason to search, you had a question. Problem is sometimes we don't know we have a question that needs to be answered.

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  • 'we have more fun' FishingMN Creators

When downrigging the hook should be set on the strike followed by the release and rods loaded up to take the slack out. The idea of taking the slack out ASAP is the same as not giving slack when reeling up and fighting the fish.

Used in deep water and really that is what the downriggers are intended for, there is always slack time after the strike. The amount of slack time determined by set back, blow back, and belly. The forward movement in trolling also takes up slack and probably just as much or more then the loaded rods.

In comparison, if you use Dipsy Divers the hook it set on the strike.

There is no slack time after the strike and you wouldn't set the hook when using divers.

Or trolling stick baits with the rod set in the holder. Again the hook is set on the strike.

A Jaw Jacker or Whipper Snapper are fished stationary and are intended to set the hook on a bite. I say on the bite because there is a huge difference between a fish striking at a trolled lure and hitting resistance of a downrigger ball or Dipsy as apposed to nibbling a dangled bait under the ice.

IN MN we do allow devices that will give movement to a bait or lure as long as they don't set the hook.

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A Jaw Jacker or Whipper Snapper are fished stationary and are intended to set the hook on a bite. I say on the bite because there is a huge difference between a fish striking at a trolled lure and hitting resistance of a downrigger ball or Dipsy as apposed to nibbling a dangled bait under the ice.

IN MN we do allow devices that will give movement to a bait or lure as long as they don't set the hook.

So what is the point of the law? If these devices could/would actually be less harm to the fish, compared to a tip up, why have this law in the books? This is a 30+ year old law on the books. MN and I think NJ are the only two states that have such a law.

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Just an FYI.... I was out with Eric Haataja, you may know him, in the Milwaukee Harbor a couple weeks ago and we rigged all of our setups with slack in the line... this would allow the fish to travel prior to the rod setting the hook.... work quite well.... pretty much all lipped hooked fish...

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IN MN we do allow devices that will give movement to a bait or lure as long as they don't set the hook.

If you ever look at a full setup of an Automatic fisherman, they allow you to give slack to the line so the fish can travel prior to it setting the hook...

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Heartman,

Here is the verbage to look at:

Quote:
(4) spring devices that impale, hook, or capture fish.

(B) If a person possesses a substance or device listed in paragraph (a) on waters, shores, or islands, it is presumptive evidence that the person is in violation of this section.

© The commissioner may, by rule, allow the use of a nonmotorized device with a recoil mechanism to take fish through the ice.

Is the AF a "spring device" - Technically no, would I wager my wallet on it - no. The AF uses the flex of the Rod to set the hook.

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"If you ever look at a full setup of an Automatic fisherman, they allow you to give slack to the line so the fish can travel prior to it setting the hook"

Exactly! And if they show you how to allow the fish to run before, and I quote, "setting the hook", then the AF is indeed covered under the DNR's prohibition. But then again, what do I know. I do know that many a CO will probably side with the current definition, and thus leave a user a few bucks poorer. Are you really trying to convince us, or yourself that these things are legal? A simple phone call to your local CO will clear everything up and probably save you a couple hundred bucks.

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I sent the DNR an inquiry just now. It typically takes them awhile to get back to folks. I'll post the response here.

If the rod is considered a spring, so too IMO is a loaded downrigger rod a spring.

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I sent the DNR an inquiry just now. It typically takes them awhile to get back to folks. I'll post the response here.

If the rod is considered a spring, so too IMO is a loaded downrigger rod a spring.

Totally agree with you guys. I think the biggest problem is the name.

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Short and simple. Here's what the DNR said: "Sorry, that is not legal because it sets the hook."

I bet you didn't ask about the loaded downrigger rod grin

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I bet you didn't ask about the loaded downrigger rod grin

Actually, I responded thanking the DNR for settling the matter. In that response, I did point out we were uncertain partly because the AF sets the hook in exactly the same way as a fully loaded downrigger rod.

No way the DNR will outlaw downrigger rods, right? Gazillions of Lake Superior and inland trout/salmon anglers and charter captains, as well as the growing cadre of LOW walleye downrigger users, would open up a big ole can of whup arse!

I know. I'm so bad. shocked

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Steve... The same response I got from one of a person in Wisonsin who had ties with the Automatic fisherman... "... it sets the hook." That's what they were told is the reason it's illegal in MN....

Sounds like an old school response since the fish I saw caught on it were easily released without any hook damage... never had a chance to swallow the hook..

The reason I say "Old School"... Old school to me is when a fish is caught, it is kept... In todays world of fishing, more people practice catch and release... which the "Automatic Fisherman" is a great tool for..

Until our DNR starts to think in terms of today... it will be illegal to use one...

And yes... I think the Automatic fisherman was a poor name for it.. don't even have to see it to make it illegal...

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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