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Fishing Before Opener


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Hello,

 

I am fairly new to fishing and was just curious about laws/regulations about fishing before opener on May 14th. I am under the assumption that you are allowed to fish for pan fish year round. My question is, am I allowed to fish with a slip bobber at any point before opener? Could I just put a minnow on and fish off the bottom for anything that bites? I do not plan on keeping anything I catch, I just wanna get on the lake when it thaws and get a line in the water. Any help would be appreciated!

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There are fish that one can target all year round.  That includes sunfish/crappies/suckers.

(I will personally say fishing the sucker-run April in the river is some of the most fun fishing I will have all year.)

 

"anything that bites" is always awesome fishing, but a conservation officer is going to want to identify what you are targeting (so if you are fishing before May 14th, you're going to be asked what you are fishing for).  The fish you are targeting must be legal; furthermore, the challenge is that the species you are "targeting" is at the discretion of a conservation officer.

I can't imagine any officer would be upset with you using a slip bobber with a panfish jig (?flu flu, piece of night crawler, crappie minnow) even though all of us have probably caught bass or northerns with that setup...  

BTW, I have caught many crappies on small rapalas over the years and I would warn you:  Do not use rapalas, spoons or crank baits to "target" crappies before the opener.  Just because you claim to de targeting crappies, the officer can conclude you are targeting bass out of season.

On that note, every year I fish the Mississippi river in the early spring and see yahoos throwing crank baits... (there was one punk using 2 lines at once and since there was snow/ice on the bank, he said he was ice fishing)  Illegal!  So fair warning to ya'll:  If you're sharing the riverbank with me in April, I do keep the TIPS phone number saved in my phone.

 

If you have any by-catch, The fishing guidebook clarifies any fish caught incidentally out-of-season must be immediately released (to which I'd communicated with the DNR about what "immediately" means: I was told if I catch a walleye as by-catch and get seen measuring it and taking a picture before releasing it, I could very well be cited by a conservation officer for breaking the law.)

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9 hours ago, Colton Adams said:

Hello,

 

I am fairly new to fishing and was just curious about laws/regulations about fishing before opener on May 14th. I am under the assumption that you are allowed to fish for pan fish year round. My question is, am I allowed to fish with a slip bobber at any point before opener? Could I just put a minnow on and fish off the bottom for anything that bites? I do not plan on keeping anything I catch, I just wanna get on the lake when it thaws and get a line in the water. Any help would be appreciated!

Welcome to the forum. 

The best bet for learning fishing is learn the rules and laws first. I would go to the MN DNR .com web page and read the rules. 

I will say that fishing with a slip bobber for panfish this time of year will work better then "trolling" 👍 

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One tip that I have is to fish with an ultra light rod with light line. That usually convinces the game wardens that you're fishing for crappies and bluegills or whatever. Using "crappie" minnows shouldn't be interpreted as fishing for walleyes and northerns, but like another member said, try not to use rapalas or other small crankbaits. Those can be seen as bass lures easily, which kind of stinks because one of my killer crappie lures is the rapala UL minnow 04. Good luck!

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