To help prevent the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in Minnesota waters, anglers cannot use cisco or rainbow smelt as bait in any water body unless it has been preserved by a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit holder using accepted methods known to make the virus inactive.
The rule was enacted to protect Minnesota's inland waters from VHS, which is now present in Lake Superior. Cisco is known to carry VHS, and rainbow smelt are likely carriers. Both are popular baitfish used in Lake Superior and inland waters.
Smelt or cisco that were taken from designated infested waters cannot be preserved and used for bait. Anglers who harvested and froze cisco and smelt from non-infected waters for use this winter as bait can have it preserved and labeled by the authorized permit holders listed below.
When fishing using preserved cisco or rainbow smelt as bait, anglers must have in their possession the label from the batch of bait being used. The label must contain the bait processor's DNR permit number, the lot number, and the date of processing.
It remains legal to harvest cisco and rainbow smelt for personal consumption in Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland waters. VHS does not have any impact on humans through direct contact or via fish consumption.
|Business Name||Phone Number||City|
|Benson's By The Lake||507-734-5877||Balaton|
|Border View Lodge||218-634-1631||Baudette|
|Rainy River Bait||218-202-1139||Baudette|
|Winnie Trading Post||218-246-9630||Deer River|
|Gary Bait Shop||218-626-3195||Duluth|
|Jerry's One Stop||218-363-2252||Longville|
|Todd's Live Bait||320-592-3615||McGrath|
|North Country Bait||218-732-7500||Park Rapids|
|Zippel Bay Resort||218-783-6235||Williams|