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Scott M

Fishing tournament applications due Sept. 26 to receive preference

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DNR News Release

People who plan to conduct a Minnesota fishing tournament will be given preference if the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) receives their application by Sept. 26 or the tournament was established before 2001 on a particular body of water.

Applications that arrive after Sept. 26 will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The DNR:

* only considers preference if the number of tournament applications on a specific body of water exceeds limits, requiring that DNR use a lottery to protect and properly manage the state’s lakes, rivers and streams by limiting the size and frequency of tournaments

* bases the number of tournaments allowed for each lake on lake size

* limits tournament size and frequency on lakes smaller than 55,000 acres as well as rivers and streams

* requires a permit for any open-water tournament that has more than 30 participants, an entry fee of more than $25 and ice fishing contests exceeding 150 participants; and

* does not require a permit for tournaments open only to youth ages 18 and younger.

“By limiting the number of contests held on any lake or stream on a monthly basis, we are addressing the concerns of lake users that fishing tournaments disturb their fishing, swimming, boating and other water recreation,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant. “Additionally, we keep two weekends each month free of permitted tournaments.”

Specifically, on lakes smaller than 2,000 acres, two tournaments - each limited to no more than 50 boats or 100 participants - per month are allowed. Lakes from 15,000 to 55,000 acres can have five contests per month, three of which may exceed 50 boats or 100 participants. There are no limits for lakes larger than 55,000 acres. In 2008, DNR issued more than 500 permits statewide for fishing contests.

A fee is required for fishing tournament permits. The fee is designed to recover administrative costs, which frees funds for fish management programs. The citizen oversight committee that monitors the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund recommended the change. It became law in 2007.

“The popularity of fishing tournaments has increased and our annual administrative expenditures has grown to $108,000,” Stevens said. “We identified the fee as a reasonable way to recover costs.”

Under the fee structure, small open-water contests (31-100 participants, 50 or fewer boats) will pay $120, while large open-water contests (more than 100 participants or 50 boats) will pay $400. For contests that involve an off-site weigh-in, where contestants travel with their fish to a location away from the boat landing to weigh their fish, the fee for small open-water contests is $500, while large open-water contests with off-site weigh-ins will pay $1,000.

The fee for ice fishing contests (more than 150 participants) of any size is $120.

The fee is required at the time of application and is non-refundable except for applications denied following a drawing or withdrawn by the applicant prior to issuance of the permit. Fees may be waived for charitable organizations.

Those wishing to have the fee waived should register with the office of the Attorney General’s Charity Division as a charitable non-profit (IRS code 501 C 3) to prove their status. The Web site is available at

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