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Ask a C.O.: Leave skin patch on when filleting fish before transport

Q: After fishing on a lake with a walleye slot limit, may I fillet my fish to transport them to my home?

A: Yes, as long as a 1-inch by 1-inch patch of non-belly skin is left on each walleye fillet to allow for species identification. Per state law, any fish with a special regulation length limit on a certain lake must be kept intact and measurable while on that body of water. Once an angler is done fishing for the day and reaches shore, the fish may be reduced to fillets for transport. The only time a fish on a lake with special length limits may be filleted on the water is when a person is docked or moored and preparing the fish for a shore lunch, in which case the carcasses must be retained to be measureable. Other fish with statewide length limits must be kept undressed and measurable for transport, but walleyes and northern pike can be filleted before you leave for home.

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Conservation Officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit.

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