The calendar has shifted to May and the temperatures are starting to slowly climb. This means the boats will be back on the water and Minnesota’s 2022 fishing open is upon us.
The opening is Saturday May 14, but there are plenty of fish that can be caught before then.
There will be plenty of boats, kayaks, and canoes on the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, as well as the many lakes surrounding the metro area.
Here’s what to expect and some tips before the fishing season opens.
What is the first step to fishing?
The first and most important step is to purchase a fishing license. A license is required for anyone aged 16 or over.
A person must be a legal resident of Minnesota for at least 60 consecutive days, be at least 16 years old, and if over 21, must have a current Minnesota driver’s license or state ID dated at least 60 days.
If you are not a resident of Minnesota, there are options to purchase a non-resident license for the entire season as well as a few days depending on how long you will be in the state. Non-resident licenses are a bit more expensive than resident licenses.
When are the opening days for the different fish this season?
The opening for brook trout was April 16th.
The most common fishing opening is May 14 for walleye, pike and bass.
The opening of the muskie is June 4th.
Can I catch fish all year round?
Some of the most common fish found in Minnesota lakes and rivers are open to fishing any time of the year. Fish such as crappie, sunfish, bass, white bass, channel catfish, perch, bullhead, roughfish, smelt and whitefish, cisco (tullibee) and burbot all have continuous seasons throughout the year.
Are there free fishing weekends?
Yes. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources hosts free fishing weekends to get people interested in outdoor activities.
This year there are two free weekends. The first arrives the weekend of May 7-8 for “Take a Mom Fishing Weekend.” This allows Minnesota resident mothers to fish those two days without a license.
The other weekend runs from June 10-12 and is called “Take a Kid Fishing Weekend”. This allows Minnesota residents 16 and older to fish without a license if they are with children under 16.
What are my fishing limits for different fish in the Saint-Cloud area?
The St. Cloud area is below the North Central area and will have different boundaries than other places in the state. If you choose to travel north or south of the state, check the Minnesota DNR Fishing Regulations 2022 before hitting the water.
Here is a list of common limits for inland fishing in the St. Cloud area. There may be specific limits depending on certain lakes, so check fishing regulations.
- Northern Pike: 10 (no more than two over 26 inches, all 22-26 inches must be immediately released)
- Walleye and Sauger: Six total (no more than one walleye over 20 inches in possession)
- Muskellunge/muskellung hybrid: a combined total (minimum size of 54 inches)
- Largemouth Bass: Six largemouth or smallmouth bass combined from May 28 to February 26. Catch and release only until May 27.
- Smallmouth Bass: Six largemouth or smallmouth bass combined from May 28 to September 11. Catch and release only until May 27 and September 12 to February 26.
- Crappie: 10 combined total
- Sunfish: 20 combined total
- Rock bass: 30
- White bass: 30
- Catfish (channel and flathead): five in total. No more than two can be flathead (only one catfish over 24 inches). The Flathead season lasts until November 30, while the Chains season is continuous.
- Perch: 20 per day, 40 in possession
- Bullhead: 100
- Whitefish, cisco (tullibee) and burbot: No limit
- Raw fish (excluding bullhead): No limit
- Smelt: No limit
- Lake sturgeon or shovel: Catch and release only. No label needed.
- Paddlefish: No open season
- Lake trout (summer): two
- Lake trout (winter): two
Are there specific regulations for the Mississippi River?
There are not many specific regulations for the Mississippi River compared to the normal limits listed above. The only specific rules in the St. Cloud area on the river include a catch and release policy for muskellunge.
Additionally, for smallmouth bass, all 12-20 inch bass should be immediately released from the Crow River confluence above St. Cloud Dam, including tributaries at posted limits. The possession limit is three with one over 20 inches.
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Local places to buy a license in person
Don’s I-94 Convenience Store, 310 Eighth St. S, 320-845-4646
Albany Holiday, 800 Shamrock Ln., 320-845-7075
Casey’s General Store, 202 Avon Ave. S, 320-356-7273
St. Anna’s Store, 37215 Stearns County Road 9, 320-356-7878
Central Lakes Convenience, 216 Red River Ave, 320-685-3583
Wenner Company, 319 Main St., 320-685-8673
Speedway of Cold Spring, 215 Red River Ave S, 320-685-8673
Kiess Bros Shell, 204 Sauk River Road, 320-685-4300
Casey’s General Store, 115 Minnesota State Highway 55, 320-398-2600
Country Store & Deli, 221 Maus Dr., 320-398-3420
Jack’s of Richmond, 30 Fourth St. SW, 320-597-2173
Riverside Resort, 21026 Minnesota State Highway 22, 320-597-2473
Channel Marine & Sport Inc., 101 Fourth St. SW, 320-597-5975
Mini Mart, 208 First St. NE, 320-342-2240
Casey’s General Store, 6515 Stearns County Road 136, 320-253-9828
Mini Mart, 24876 Stearns County Road 7, 320-252-3040
Stop Light Bait, Tackls & Guns, 45 Eighth Ave. SE, 320-255-9689
Holiday Stationstore, 730 US Highway 10 S, 320-529-8307
Bait Den, 3267 Roosevelt Road, 320-257-0162
Walmart, 3601 Second St. S, 320-251-0924
Walmart, 21 Stearns County Road 120, 320-259-1527
Speedway, 24 Birch Street West, 320-363-7272
Sam’s Outdoor & More, 219 Cedar Street East, 320-557-0090
St. Stephen Gas & Grocery, 202 Central Ave. N, 320-253-9508
Fleet Farm, 2630 Division St., 320-253-8889
Stearns County License Center West, 3301 Stearns County Road 138, 320-656-6540
Scheels, 40 Waite Ave North, 320-252-9494
Dick’s Sporting Goods, 40 Second St., 724-273-3226