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General Regulations

  • Two lines may be used through the ice (other than on designated trout
    lakes and streams).
  • Residents age 90 or older may take fish without a license.
  • Anglers must remain within 200 feet of their tip-up.
  • Residents age 16 through 64 must have a dark house spearing license and
    an angling license. Residents age 65 years old and older are exempt from
    the dark house spearing license, but must have an angling license to spear.
  • Party fishing does not apply while spearing.
  • A person may take fish by angling in a dark house if only one angling line
    is in use and any fish caught is immediately released or placed on the ice.
    For more information see the DNR Web site.
  • A legislative change on July 1, 2009 now permits a nonresident to take fish by spearing; establishes nonresident spearing and darkhouse fees.
  • Using an artificial light to see fish when spearing is unlawful. Lighted
    decoys are legal to use. Any battery that is used in lighted decoys cannot
    contain any intentionally introduced mercury.
  • Unless otherwise noted, you may use two fishing lines with one hook each while ice fishing in Minnesota. It is important to note that treble hooks are considered three individual hooks and are illegal. You may not use any game fish, gold fish or carp as bait. No explosives, chemicals or firearms may be used to aid in catching fish.

Shelters (fish houses, dark houses, and portables)

The following regulations apply to all shelters used on all Minnesota
waters, unless otherwise noted elsewhere in this Minnesota DNR Fishing Regulations booklet.

All shelters placed on the ice of Minnesota waters must have either the:

  • (1) complete name and address, (2) driver’s license number, or (3) the
    nine-digit Minnesota DNR number on the license of the owner plainly
    and legibly displayed on the outside in letters, and figures at least 2 inches
    in height.

    All houses on the ice must have an address or license number visibly displayed for purposes of identification. If your ice house is an overnight shelter, it must have a strip of at least two inches of reflective material on its exterior. Additionally, ice houses must be no less than 10 feet apart and cannot be stored at public access points.
  • A legislative change on July 1, 2009 - A "shelter" in addition to fish and dark houses must be licensed. 
  • A shelter may not be left unattended between midnight and one hour prior
    to sunrise unless the shelter is licensed.
  • Note: The Dept. of Public Safety - DVS now requires trailers used to haul
    fish houses or dark houses and enclosed trailers or recreational trailers
    used for fishing to be registered. See your local Deputy Registrar for
    trailer registration.
  • A shelter license is not required on border waters with WI, IA, ND, and SD.

Buck Anderson is the President/CEO of Jive Media Group LLC (The company that owns JustNorth Outdoors).

In addition to enjoying camping, fishing, hunting, and golf he is a well known Internet buisness training and web design coach specializing in DotNetNuke Open Source Portal technologies.

If you are interested in developing a website like JustNorth Outdoors, for your business niche, visit Buck at

Post Rating


Jeff Johnson
# Jeff Johnson
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 6:32 PM
Hey Buck Just a correction hope you don't mind the 2009 legislature passed a statute change for 2009 to allow non resident spearing. You may want to update your posting thanks JC
Buck Anderson
# Buck Anderson
Thursday, January 14, 2010 10:33 AM
Thanks for the heads up, Jeff. Article has been updated.
# Jason
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 9:35 AM
I was wondering if you know the law about locking a fish house from the inside while fishing Thanks foe any info, Jason.
Buck Anderson
# Buck Anderson
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 11:37 AM
Jason, last year, in Minnesota, my fishing buddy was greeted at the fish house by the local game warden. Although, in recent years, the game warden must ask to be invited into your house, he let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that the door should not be locked from the inside. My buddy was just trying to keep the door from blowing open in a strong wind and promptly added a non-locking new door handle.

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