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deholf16

Fishing before the openers...

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Is it still okay to fish for bass and northern before their openers? I'm going up north a week or 2 before the openers in May and was wondering if it's still okay to fish for them if we throw them back?

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that's a good one since I was wondering the same thing. I watched a In-Fisherman special this weekend and they were in northern minnesota targeting pre-spawn smallies just after ice out. That made me curious as if I had read and heard the rules wrong, but maybe they were somewhere else... confused.gif

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Nope, it's illegal as well as immoral and unethical. You need to make sure that your rigging is geared towards the species legally available that time of the year (panfish).

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The bass opener in parts of northern MN is before the opener in the southern part of the state, so with an ice out sometime in the beginning of May they could have been 100% legal.

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The season dates concern fishing for particular species, they have nothing to do with keeping fish. For example, even in catch-and-release only waters it is illegal to fish out of season.

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Quote:

that's a good one since I was wondering the same thing. I watched a In-Fisherman special this weekend and they were in northern minnesota targeting pre-spawn smallies just after ice out. That made me curious as if I had read and heard the rules wrong, but maybe they were somewhere else...
confused.gif


That was Large Mouth in El Salto Mexico...

The guys were talking about Ice Out, as in they had just left MN at Ice out and flown down to El Salto...

That's why they were saying things like "It sure beats using a snowshovel."

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You could probably make a case to a CO if you were throwing a spinnerbait for pike and happened to land a bass but if you genuinely are targeting bass it would still be illegal.

This is an entirely different scenario than in the fall when smallies close (possession) early in September but you can still fish for them without a problem as long as you return them immediately to the water.

Daze Off

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Talked to a CO about this, though I don't have any "written rules or proof" of it. He said that if you are using a lure obviously not meant for a species (i.e. large spinnerbait for crappies) that would get a ticket. Also even if you are using correct lure (i.e. 1/16th oz. jib and crappie minnow) for crappies, but you are catching bass, that you must move on down the line from where you were catching the bass. However, if you were catching crappies, and just once in a while a bass hit, you would be okay.

Very common sense. I sort of wish we could target pike earlier, so we could fish them like they do in Canada in the shallow bays, but we can't so no biggie. We did a couple nice walleyes last year the weekend before opener, while targeting crappies, and we just moved down the line after the second one bit. No more after that, but still plenty of crappies there too.

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Depends how far north you are going! Canada-MN border waters regulations state that northern pike and bass (largemouth and smallmouth) are a CONTINUOUS SEASON with a limit of 6 pike and 6 bass (either or combined).

Exceptions are LOW where the limit of pike is 3, all 30"-40" must be released and 1 over 40" may be kept;

Basswood Lake where the limit of pike is 6, but the release slot is 24"-36" and you may keep 1 over 36";

Rainy Lake where the limit of pike is 3 and you can only keep 1 over 28".

All this is on page 47 of the 2007 fishing regs book.

Just make sure you are on a "border water" and not one connected to it when you are fishing---like Crane Lake and Kabetogama (illegal) and Sand Point, Namakan, and Rainy (legal). tongue.gif

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