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Fishing tournament regulations 2007

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  • Smallmouth
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  • Location: Minnesota
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The popularity of fishing contests (tournaments) in recent years is reflected by the nearly 600 permits issued annually by DNR to contest organizers. The DNR regulates fishing contests to reduce the potential for conflicts with other water recreationists at public access sites and on the water. Since 2001, the DNR has limited the number of contests issued monthly on any water body, which serves to distribute contests across many lakes and rivers.

New for 2007!
Deadlines for the early application period have moved up one month earlier.
Limits for rivers have been defined.
Permit Requirements
Permits are issued without a fee to Minnesota residents only.

A permit is required for any fishing contest that is limited to specifically named waters if one or more of the following apply:

There are greater than 30 participants for open-water contests or 150 participants for ice-fishing contests
The entry fee is greater than $25 per person
The total prize value is greater than $25,000 or
The contest is limited to trout species only.
Contests limited to youth age 18 and under do not need a permit. Statewide and regional fishing contests do not need a permit, unless they are limited to trout species only.

If entry fees are over $25 per person, or total prizes are valued at more than $25,000, and if the applicant has not previously conducted a permitted fishing contest, or has ever failed to make required prize awards in a fishing contest conducted by the applicant, the applicant will be required to furnish evidence of financial responsibility in the form of a surety bond or bank letter of credit in the amount of $25,000.

Permitted fishing contest means an open-water fishing or ice-fishing contest that requires a permit from the DNR.
Permitted fishing contest day means a day on a water body where a permitted fishing contest is held. Two permitted fishing contests that are held on the same water body on the same day count as two permitted fishing contest days.
Large permitted fishing contest means an open-water fishing contest with more than 50 boats or 100 participants that requires a permit from the DNR.
Established or traditional fishing contest means a fishing contest that was issued permits in 1999 and 2000 or was issued permits four out of five years from 1996 to 2000 for the same lake and time period. Beginning with 2001, established or traditional fishing contests must continue to be conducted at least four out of five years for the same lake and time period to remain established.
Off-site weigh-in means a weigh-in of fish from a fishing contest at a location that is not adjacent to the waters listed on the fishing contest permit.
Pre-fishing means fishing by participants of a permitted fishing contest prior to the scheduled dates of the contest on waters listed on the fishing contest permit.
Participant means a person who is taking part in a fishing contest
2007 Permit Application Process
Permit applications for 2007 will be accepted starting August 1.
Applications for fishing contests need to be sent to the appropriate regional fisheries office. A map showing regional boundaries and addresses can be found in the fishing regulations book, on the online office locator, or in the tournament permit application.
Multiple-region contest applications should be sent to 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN, 55155-4020
If permit applications received from August 1 through the last Friday in September (September 29) exceed the monthly limits for a given water body, the DNR will notify the applicants that their application will be subject to a drawing. Applicants would then be given seven days to change their application, but could not change to a location and time period for which applications are already at or above the limit.
The DNR will conduct a drawing for all locations and time periods for which applications exceed limits. First preference in the drawings will be given to applicants for established or traditional fishing contests. Preference points will be given to contests based on the number of times they have been unsuccessful in previous drawings. Contests lose all accumulated preference points after being successfully drawn.
Results of the drawing and any applications received by 4:30 p.m. on September 29 will be announced no later than November 7.
Permit applications received after September 29 may be approved if the approval does not result in the limits on the number of permitted fishing contests being exceeded. These applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A person may not transfer a fishing contest permit to another person.
Monthly Limits on Number of Fishing Contests
The monthly limits in the table are based on the size of the lake and the size of the tournament. Sizes for multiple-basin (lake or Mississippi River pools) tournaments will be based on individual lake acreage (Note: see definition for bolded items). The acres for border waters will be based on Minnesota area only.

Lake size (acres)
 Maximum number of permitted fishing contests
 Maximum number of large permitted fishing contests
 Maximum number of permitted fishing contest days
less than 2,000
more than 55,000
 no limit
 no limit
 no limit

 Maximum number of permitted fishing contests
 Maximum number of large permitted fishing contests
 Maximum number of permitted fishing contest days
Mississippi River pool #1,2,3,5,5a,6,7,8,9
 4 (each pool)
 2 (each pool)
 8 (each pool)
Mississippi River pool #4
Lake St. Croix
St. Croix River
All other rivers

Fishing contest waters for Mississippi River navigation pools are limited to no more than one lockage up- or down-stream from weigh-in site.
Contest waters for Lake St. Croix are bounded by the U.S. Highway 10 bridge at Prescott upstream to the Acola bar. Contest waters for the St. Croix River are bounded by the Acola bar upstream to the Wisconsin state line.
For all rivers other than the Mississippi River and St. Croix River border waters, contest waters are limited to no more than 60 continuous river miles.
Up to five additional permits beyond the monthly limits listed above may be issued for fishing tournaments on lakes that are 5,000 acres or larger. No more than one additional permit may be permitted on one body of water per year. The tournament applicant must demonstrate that the contest will: provide economic benefits to the local area; promote public awareness of fishing and the state's resources; and conform to best management practices for the lake. These permits are issued from the office of the Fisheries Management Chief through the regional office where the water body is located.

Weekend Limitations
On any water body 55,000 acres or less, the DNR may require at least two weekends per month with no permitted fishing contests.
The DNR may require that Permitted fishing contests conducted for more than one day may not include more than one weekend day from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Permitted fishing contests may not be held on the weekend of fishing season openers if the contest would target a species that the season is opening for.
Other Items
The DNR may include the following restrictions as part of a fishing contest permit:

Limits on pre-fishing and proof that such limits were communicated to contest participants and enforced;
Restrictions on hours that a fishing contest is conducted including specified start and stop times;
Restrictions on off-site weigh-ins, or denial of off-site weigh-ins to prevent undue loss of fish; and
Limits on the use of parking spaces at state-owned public water access sites and proof that such limits were communicated to the participants and enforced.
Failure to comply with fishing contest permit restrictions may be considered grounds for denial of future permit applications.

Minnesota statute requires tournaments to obtain a permit from the sheriff of the county where the event is to originate.

Fishing tournament laws: Minnesota rules 6212:2400-2800; Minnesota Statutes 97C.081, 86B.121
Jon Chapman
NAIFC Pro Staff