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?
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.
DNR - Lake Finder
DNR - Aquatic Invasive Species
DNR - Fishing Regulations
U of M - Lake Data
MNPCA – Water Quality Reports
Weed Control Companies
DNR - Public Landing
Meeker County Beacon Search
Starry Stonewort (SSW)
Invasive Water Plants
U of M – MAISRC