Ask a Conservation Officer: How can you tell where the border is while fishing?
Q: I have a Wisconsin fishing license. When I am fishing border waters, such as the St. Louis River, how can I tell what state I am in? What signs on the water can provide this information to me?...
Q: I have a Wisconsin fishing license. When I am fishing border waters, such as the St. Louis River, how can I tell what state I am in? What signs on the water can provide this information to me?
A: I am not aware of any border markers along the St. Louis River. It is the angler's responsibility to be aware of where they are fishing, either with a GPS unit or a detailed navigation chart.
For fishing the Minnesota-Wisconsin border waters that include the St. Louis River, an angler from Minnesota or Wisconsin is required to have an angling license from their home state. With this license, the angler is permitted to fish all waters of the St. Louis River, St. Louis Bay and Superior Bay through a license reciprocity agreement between the two states.
However, the reciprocity agreement only covers licensure. You must follow the individual regulations of the state in which you are fishing. For instance: Wisconsin allows the use of three lines per angler, but this would be limited to the Wisconsin waters of the St. Louis River.
If in doubt, following the more-restrictive regulations will keep you fishing legally. Please note that Lake Superior is not covered by a border waters agreement; you must have a Minnesota license to fish Minnesota waters, and a Wisconsin license to fish in Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior.
For more information on fishing on border waters, see pages 53 and 61 of the 2017 Minnesota Fishing Regulation synopsis.
Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org .