TALKIN' WITH DOKKEN: Minnesota AIS laws
Q. Where do bait shops get our bait? Who provides them with minnows, leeches and nightcrawlers and how do they acquire them? A. Generally, bait comes from a wholesaler, who must be licensed to trap and transport bait, a requirement that holds tru...
Q. Where do bait shops get our bait? Who provides them with minnows, leeches and nightcrawlers and how do they acquire them?
A. Generally, bait comes from a wholesaler, who must be licensed to trap and transport bait, a requirement that holds true in both Minnesota and North Dakota. The wholesaler then supplies the bait to individual bait shops, convenience stores and other bait suppliers, who also must be licensed to possess and sell that bait.
Wholesalers trap the minnows and leeches they sell to bait shops, and again, must be licensed in the states where they sell that bait.
Especially in border towns such as Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, it's important for anglers to remember that it's illegal to cross state lines with aquatic bait they've purchased. In other words, crossing into Minnesota with minnows or leeches purchased in North Dakota is illegal, just as it's illegal to cross into North Dakota with bait purchased in Minnesota.
The restriction doesn't apply to nightcrawlers.
Types of legal live bait also vary among states. Live sucker minnows, for example, are illegal everywhere in North Dakota except the Red River.
While wholesalers trap minnows and leeches close to home, nightcrawlers are a different ballgame. Suzie Kaiser of Ceason's Bait and Tackle in Crookston said nightcrawlers are trucked in from the East Coast and sold to wholesalers, who then sell the crawlers to bait shops.
Anglers also can trap or net their own bait for personal use, but restrictions apply and anyone planning to do so should check the specific regulations for the state they're gathering bait before doing so.
More information about Minnesota's bait regulations is available on Page 21 of the 2015 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet. Information on North Dakota's bait regulations can be found on Page 12 of the 2014-16 North Dakota Fishing Guide.