Ask a Conservation Officer: Fishing on the St. Louis River
Q: If I am fishing on the St. Louis River with a Minnesota license do I have to stay on the Minnesota side?
A: No, there is no need to stay on either side of the river. Minnesota Rule 6266.0100 subpart 1 states that you may fish adjacent states' boundary waters only if in possession of a valid resident angling license or otherwise authorized to angle in this state. Residents of an adjacent state may fish the boundary waters only if in possession of a valid resident angling license of that state or otherwise lawfully authorized to angle in that state.
What this means is that if you are a Minnesota resident, you may fish shore to shore on the St. Louis River but you must have a Minnesota resident angling license. If you are a Wisconsin resident, you may also fish shore to shore, but you must have a Wisconsin resident angling license. Remember, if you are a resident of either state you cannot fish border water with a non-resident license from the state you don't reside in. If you are not a resident of either state a non-resident license from either Minnesota or Wisconsin will allow you to fish shore to shore.
A reminder for Wisconsin residents that even though Wisconsin regulations do not require you to carry a paper copy of your license while fishing inland waters, both Minnesota and Wisconsin regulations DO require that you carry a physical copy of the license while angling on border waters. Minnesota and Wisconsin Conservation Officers are granted concurrent jurisdiction on border water so a Minnesota CO may check a Wisconsin angler on the St. Louis River; without the paper copy of the license they would not be able to readily verify your license status.
Jake Willis is a Minnesota State Conservation Officer covering the Brookston Station. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.