Minnesota Musky Regulations Quick Reference

Minnesota's statewide muskellunge season opens in early June and closes in early December. It varies on waters bordering other states so check the fishing regulations based on where you want to fish. Some waters have special regulations for muskellunge.

  • Inland waters within Minnesota
  • Border waters that border other states or countries
  • Special waters that have special or experimental regulations in place that differ from statewide regulations.

Typically, muskellunge fishing doesn't "heat up" until middle or late summer, which is when water temperatures are warmer and this species is more active. Many of the largest muskellunge are caught in October and November. Fishing in late autumn on big water can be darn cold and dangerous but many devout muskellunge anglers look forward to this time of year.

Like many predator species, muskellunge tend to be most active near dawn and dusk so these are good times to fish. Cool overcast days are often better for muskellunge fishing than hot sunny days. Still, do know that muskellunge, like all fish, are cold blooded, which means their body temperature is a direct reflection of their environment. As such, during early summer and late fall muskellunge may be at their most active during the warmest periods of the day.

Northern Pike 5/13/23 - 2/25/24 Angling: 2 (not more than 1 over 40" in possession. All from 30-40" must be immediatley released).
Northeast zone
Northern Pike 11/15/23 - 2/25/24 Darkhouse spearing: 2 (Not more than 1 over 26").
North-central zone
Northern Pike 5/13/23 - 2/25/24 Angling: 10 (not more than 2 over 26". All from 22-26" must be immediatley released).
North-central zone
Northern Pike 11/15/23 - 2/25/24 Darkhouse spearing: 10 (only 1 between 22-26" and 1 over 26"; or, only 2 over 26").
Southern zone
Northern Pike 5/13/23 - 2/25/24 Angling: 2 (Minimum size 24").
Southern zone
Northern Pike 11/15/23 - 2/25/24 Darkhouse spearing: 2 (Minimum size 24").
Muskellunge 6/3/23 - 12/1/23 1, minimum size 54"


To what waters do these regulations apply?

Seasons and regulations apply to the following waters:

  • Cook County: Clove Lake, Devils Elbow Lake, North Fowl Lake, South Fowl Lake, Gneiss (Round) Lake, Granite Lake, Granite River, Gunflint Lake, Little Gunflint Lake, Lily Lake (Fan, Vaseux), Magnetic Lake, Maraboeuf Lake, Moose Lake, Mountain Lake, North Lake, Little North Lake, Pigeon River, Pine River, Rat Lake, Rose Lake, Rove Lake, Saganaga Lake, South Lake, and Watap Lake.
  • Koochiching and Lake of the Woods counties: Rainy River.
  • Koochiching and St. Louis counties: Rainy Lake (including Black Bay).
  • Lake County: Basswood Lake (except Jackfish, Pipestone, Hoist, and Back Bays, which are considered inland waters), Basswood River, Birch Lake, Carp Lake, Cypress Lake, Knife Lake (except South Arm), Little Knife Lake, Knife River, Melon Lake, Seed Lake, Sucker Lake, and Swamp Lake.
  • Lake and St. Louis counties: Crooked Lake.
  • Lake of the Woods and Roseau counties: Lake of the Woods.
  • St. Louis County: Bottle Lake, Iron Lake, Lac La Croix, Loon Lake, Loon River to Loon River Falls, Namakan Lake, Sand Point Lake, and Little Vermilion Lake.

Are daily and possession limits different?

Daily and possession limits are the same unless otherwise noted.

How many lines can I use?

One line per angler is allowed, except two lines may be used when ice fishing.

In what waters can't I fish?

  • Saganaga Narrows is closed to fishing April 1-May 22, 2015.
  • Saganaga Falls (Granite River mouth) and the channel between Little Gunflint and Little North lakes are closed to fishing April 1-May 31, 2015.

How many fish can I keep?

While in Minnesota, anglers may not keep more fish than Minnesota law allows in Canada-Minnesota border waters. Fish from Canadian inland waters may be kept and brought to Minnesota in excess of the Minnesota limit only if the angler has proof – such as lodging receipts or verification through U.S. Customs – that the fish were taken from inland Canadian waters.


Special Regulations