When Does Bass Fishing Open in MN?

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Fishing is one of Minnesota’s most popular activities with even tourists traveling down for the fishing season. With this growing level of interest, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has had to implement regulations to ensure the rivers and lakes stay stocked. So, when does bass fishing open in MN?

When Does Bass Fishing Open in MN? 

Bass fishing opens at the beginning of summer in Minnesota. This is usually early in May, with a specific day announced ahead of the season each year. Over a half a million anglers are usually waiting for this day every year.

An image of a freshly caught fish

Bass is not the only fish that is included in the season opener. Other species of fishes that are found in Minnesota waters like trout, walleye, and northern pike are also included. Asides from the popular fishing season opener in May, fishing seasons for species like the muskie and stream trout are open on later dates.

When Does the 2022 Fishing Season Open in MN?

Usually, the fishing season opener comes right after the Mother’s Day weekend. However, like last year, things are slightly different this year, with the fishing season opening a week later on May 14. This is because of certain specifications according to Minnesota’s state statute.

YearBass, Walleye, Northern PikeMuskieStream Trout
2022May 14June 4April 16
2021May 15June 5April 17
2020May 9June 6April 18

What Will Happen If You Bass Fish Out of Season in MN?

The bass fishing season closes by February the following year in Minnesota. During this period, you are not allowed to fish for bass at all. If you catch bass by mistake during this period, you have to return it to the water immediately. This is because taking pictures of out-of-season fish is a ticketable offense in Minnesota.

If you take pictures of bass you caught outside the bass fishing season, you can be ticketed by an environmental conservation officer. This can attract a fine of $250 and/or a 15-day imprisonment period.

What to Pack for Bass Fishing

The fishing season for bass is almost always on. However, you need to be prepared for the weather which can be hot or cold depending on the season.

Two people fishing

A lot of anglers prefer using strong rods with heavy lines. This is because it helps them reel in the bass that could have been tangled in cover very quickly.

You can pack either live or artificial baits for bass fishing since they both work. More importantly, you need to be armed with your skill and experience.

Minnesota Fishing Licenses

Before fishing in Minnesota, you must have a fishing license. Everyone between the age of 16 and 89 years need a license to legally fish except an exemption applies to them. You are required to carry your fishing license on you at all times when you are fishing or returning from where you were fishing.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers a wide variety of licenses. The type of license you get depends on your type of angling, your residency status, and the duration of the license. Here are some of the most popular fishing licenses to get in Minnesota:

  • Individual Angling: This license permits just one person to fish.
  • Combination Angling: This license is for married couples. It permits them to fish individually or together.
  • Individual Sports: This license permits just one person to fish and hunt small game.
  • Combination Sports: This license is also for married couples. It combines the perks of the Combination Angling and Individual Sports licenses. It allows one spouse to fish and hunt small game, while the other spouse can only fish.
  • Non-Resident Angling: This license permits non-residents to fish anytime during the license year whenever they are in Minnesota.
An image of a fishing rod

Related Questions

How Long Does a Bass Have to Be to Keep in MN?

While angling in Minnesota waters, you are only allowed to keep bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, that are less than 14 inches long or more than 20 inches long. This means that if you catch bass that is between 14 and 20 inches in length, you must return them to the water immediately.

Can You Bass Fish All Year Round in MN?

The bass fishing season in Minnesota closes in February of the following year. This means you can only fish bass for most of the year. As seasons change, the behavior of the bass will change. To successfully catch them, your techniques have to adjust your fishing techniques to match their behaviors and eating habits in each season.


The fishing season regulations in Minnesota only exist to ensure the continual availability of bass and other species. Ensure you only fish during the open season and your fishing license is always on you when fishing.