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Community Concerns

Bait Bucket Rules  (View Full .PDF)

Can I use bait in Minnesota waters?

  • You can fish with a variety of live or dead bait including worms, night crawlers, insects and larva. If you are fishing with minnows or leeches, a number of restrictions apply.

  • If you choose to keep your bait when done fishing, you must exchange water in bait buckets with tap or bottled water prior to leaving any water body, except when you are fishing through the ice. The exception for ice fishing does not apply when fishing on Lake Superior.

  • You can’t dispose of unwanted minnows and leeches in Minnesota waters. Unused bait, including worms and night crawlers, should be disposed of in the garbage.

  • You can’t use whole or parts of game fish, goldfish, carp, or salamanders (including mudpuppies) for bait.

When can I harvest bait from infested waters?

Minnows and leeches may be taken for personal use from waters infested solely with Eurasian watermilfoil using a cylindrical trap not exceeding 16 inches in diameter and 32 inches long.

Do I have to bring in fresh or bottled water to transport minnows taken from a water body?

Yes. You can’t transport water from a lake or stream at any time in Minnesota (exception for ice fishing, see page 31). See the transportation section on pages 34-35.

After I’ve kept minnows, leeches or bait, can I dispose of what I don’t want back into the lake or stream?

No. You can’t dispose of unused or unwanted minnows or leeches in any Minnesota water. Dispose of unused bait, including worms,  in the trash. For more information see the bait section on page 31 of these regulations.

Where can I get more information about bait?

Check the Other Species section of the online regulations or contact the Minnesota DNR Information Center at 888-MINNDNR.

Illegal Activities  (View Full .PDF)
  • You must remove drain plugs from bilges, livewells, and bait buckets at the water access. Drain plugs must be out and all other water draining devices must remain open while trailering or transporting boats or other water-related equipment.

  • You can’t drag boat anchors or other weights through aquatic vegetation with a motor-propelled boat.

  • You can’t dispose of any rubbish (including parts of fish, fish guts or other animals), poisonous substances, fish line or chemicals harmful to aquatic life into public waters, onto ice, or onto lake and stream shores.

  • You can’t deposit fish parts or other material (chum) into waters to attract fish.

  • If you catch a fish and you don’t intend to use it for anything, you must return it immediately back into the water alive. You can’t waste a fish by leaving it, or any usable portion of it, on the ice, on the bank, or by intentionally killing it and returning it back into the water.

Helpful Links

Stage Agencies

DNR - Lake Finder

DNR - Aquatic Invasive Species

DNR - Fishing Regulations

U of M -  Lake Data

MNPCA – Water Quality Reports

Weed Control Companies

Waterfront Restoration


Other Links

DNR - Public Landing

Meeker County Beacon Search

AIS Information

Starry Stonewort (SSW)

Containing The Invasive Starry Stonewort On Big Turtle Lake


Invasive Water Plants

Aquatic Invasive Species - Above and Below the Waterline









Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center


News Articles


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In one Minnesota lake, researchers remove invasive 'lake killer' by hand

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Minnesota DNR ends invasive-species grants to local groups, citing budget crunch

Even as zebra mussels, starry stonewort weed, and giant...

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