When Does Fishing Season End in Minnesota?

Called the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota is one of the most outstanding fishing destinations in the world. The state’s 11,842 lakes are home to some of the most popular freshwater fish species, including northern pike, walleye, musky, bass, and trout.

If you’re planning to target some of these species, you need to know when the fishing season ends in Minnesota.

The general inland fishing season in Minnesota ends on February 26. Lake Superior and St. Luis River fishing season for lake and shovelnose sturgeon end March 14. Minnesota fishing season for crappie, sunfish, channel catfish, perch, bullhead, whitefish, rock, and white bass is open all year. 

Keep reading to learn more about Minnesota fishing regulations, inland water seasons, and possession limits. 

General Fishing Laws and Season in Minnesota

General Fishing Laws and Season in Minnesota

To legally fish in Minnesota, person ages 16 to 89 needs a valid fishing license unless an exemption applies. Different types of fishing licenses are available, depending on residency status, type of angling, and duration of a fishing trip. 

Minnesota has a variety of fishing regulations designed to keep the state waters well-stocked and clean. Before heading out on the water, check the Minnesota DNR site for more information on current DNR fishing regulations.

General Laws

To keep the state fisheries stocked, Minnesota has fishing regulations that specify daily bag, length, and possession limits for all fish species found in state waters.

Walleye and Sauger

The daily bag limit for walleye and sauger is six combined, with no more than one walleye being over 20 inches long.

Northern Pike

In the Northeast zone, the daily bag limit for northern pike is two, with no more than one fish being 40 inches long. All northern pike between 30 and 40 inches long must be immediately released. 

In the North-central zone, anglers can bag 10 northern pikes, but not more than two fish can be over 26 inches long. Anglers must immediately release all northern pikes that are 22 to 26 inches long.

In the Southern zone, anglers can possess only two northern pikes with a minimum size of 24 inches. 


The daily possession limit for muskellunge is one fish with a minimum size of 54 inches. 

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass

In the Northeast zone, north and east of Highway 53 from Duluth to International Falls, Pelican, and Ash Lakes in St. Louis County, the daily possession limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass are six combined. 

In the rest of the state, for two weeks in May, all caught smallmouth and largemouth bass must be released immediately. For the rest of the fishing season, there is a daily bag limit of six largemouth and smallmouth bass combined. 

Largemouth Bass

The daily bag limit for largemouth bass in the rest of the state is six fish. There is no minimum length limit for largemouth bass.

Smallmouth Bass

In the rest of the state, anglers can only catch and release smallmouth bass throughout the fishing season. 


The daily bag limit for crappie is 10, and there is no minimum length limit.


The daily possession limit for sunfish is 20.

Rock & White Bass

The daily bag limit for rock and white bass is 30 fish of each species. 

Channel and Flathead Catfish

The daily limit for channel catfish is five in combination with flathead catfish, and only one fish can be over 24 inches long. The daily possession limit for flathead catfish is two, with only one fish over 24 inches long in combination with channel catfish.

Fishing Seasons

When the fishing season ends in Minnesota varies depending on fish species. Minnesota fishing opener changes each year, but the general fishing season for walleye, northern pike, and bass starts the same day.

Walleye and Sauger

Minnesota walleye season starts on May 14 and ends on February 26.

Northern Pike

The fishing season for northern pike in the Northeast, North-central, and Southern zones starts on May 14 and closes on February 26. 


Minnesota fishing opener for muskellunge is on June 4, and the season closes on December 1.

Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass 

Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass north and east of Highway 53 catches and releases only from May 14 to May 27. In the rest of the state, largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing season starts on May 28 and closes on September 12.


Panfish fishing, including crappie, perch, sunfish, rock, and white bass, is allowed all year. 

What Fish Are in Season in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s lakes are home to many fish species. Panfish fishing in Minnesota is open all year. 

Other popular fish in season include walleye, trout, sauger, northern pike, muskellunge, smallmouth, and largemouth bass. 

Can You Fish Year-Round in Minnesota?

Yes, anglers can fish all year round in Minnesota. Fishing for crappie, perch, sunfish, rock, and white bass continues throughout the year.

Can You Fish in Minnesota in December?

Yes, anglers can fish in Minnesota in December. The general fishing season in inland waters is open from May 14 to February 26, so anglers can fish for walleye, sauger, and northern pike in December.

Can You Fish in Minnesota in the Winter?

Yes, fishermen can fish in Minnesota in the winter. Fishing licenses in Minnesota are effective from March until the end of February the following year, giving anglers a chance to target fish in the state waters in the winter. 

Minnesota offers a winter season, but anglers must purchase a trout stamp for winter trout fishing.


Minnesota offers some of the best fishing opportunities for novice and experienced anglers. With over 10,000 lakes, this state is home to many different fish species, including walleye, northern pike, trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, crappie, sauger, and many more.

Before visiting Minnesota, check out the state’s fishing rules and regulations to support lawful fishing and local fisheries.