What Are the Walleye Fishing Rules in Minnesota?

by John Lindell

The walleye is a member of the perch family that, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, is one of the more popular game fish in the state's waters. The regulations that pertain to walleye fishing in Minnesota deal with legal lengths, open seasons, walleye stamps and special rules for specific bodies of water.

Walleye Stamp

The state of Minnesota does not require an angler to purchase a special walleye stamp if she decides to fish for this species. Any purchase of such a stamp is on a voluntary basis. The funds that the walleye stamps produce go into paying for the stocking of walleye into various locations to enhance the fisheries for this species. The validation for the walleye stamp will show up on the license the state issues an angler through the Electronic Licensing System.

Walleye Lengths, Limits and Season

No minimum length exists for a walleye in most of the waters of Minnesota, but the regulations set forth by the state decree that an angler may keep only one walleye 20 inches or longer per day. The creel limit---the number of walleye a person may keep each day---is six for this species unless a body of water has another limit attached to it through special regulations. The open season for walleye runs from the middle of May through the end of February, with the exact dates changing each year. These dates come to the public's attention through the Department of Natural Resources.

Specific Bodies of Water

The regulations for walleye lengths and creel limits can differ on certain Minnesota waters. For instance, anglers may keep only two walleye when fishing on Bass Lake in Todd County. Walleye anglers may possess just four walleye from the Big Stone Lake, located in Big Stone County, with only one keeper fish 20 inches in length or longer. Farm Island Lake, nestled in Aitkin County, has a very specific slot length set up for walleyes. The angler must immediately let go any walleye that falls between the lengths of 16 through 19 inches. On Cass County's Leech Lake, the walleye slot length extends from 18 inches to 26 inches. Any walleye with those measurements must go back into the depths as soon as possible. Anglers should always check for any regulations that adhere to walleye in the lakes in which they fish.

Legal Walleye Methods

The same regulations that govern the methods anglers use to catch other game fish apply to walleye in Minnesota. One is that an angler can employ a treble hook only when it is part of an artificial lure. Another is that during the ice fishing season, an angler can have no more than two lines in the water at once, while during open water fishing season in the state, one line is the limit. Minnesota regulations make it an unlawful practice to try to snag a walleye with a hook. Another important rule is that using any type of firearm, explosive, electrical current or chemical to take fish is a prohibited act.

About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.