Credit: Minnesota DNR

Minnesota Expands Fish Species for Catch-and-Release Records

In Minnesota, you can set records and catch and release 22 different species of fish.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updated its record fish program so anglers can catch and release 22 different species, according to Wednesday's announcement.

The department added 18 species to the list — increasing it from just four — in response to the growing popularity of catch-and-release fishing as well as to raise the profile of the native rough fish.

Mandy Erickson, a fisheries program consultant, explained that the department made the changes after discussions with several angler and tribal groups as well as collecting input from social media pages and subscribers of the department's mailing list. "Overall, we received very positive feedback," she said.

As for the rough fish, the department describes it as a "lesser-known fish" that might garner a "what's that?" rather than a celebration. Erickson explained that the department hopes the expansion will help develop "buzz" around them. "Besides being fun to catch, are important to aquatic ecosystems," she added.

According to the rules for recording catch-and-release fish, you have to first ensure that your fish qualifies, apply using an official application, have a witness observe your catch and release, and supply photographic evidence.

While the category will continue to include muskellunge, northern pike, lake sturgeon and flathead catfish, the species being added to the catch-and-release category include:

  • blue sucker,
  • bigmouth buffalo,
  • bowfin,
  • brook trout,
  • brown trout,
  • channel catfish,
  • freshwater drum,
  • lake trout,
  • largemouth bass,
  • longnose gar,
  • rainbow trout,
  • sauger,
  • shortnose gar,
  • shovelnose sturgeon,
  • smallmouth bass,
  • smallmouth buffalo,
  • tiger muskellunge
  • and, walleye.