August 2009

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.





The DNR recently announced that people may fish for free in Minnesota State Parks, provided they have paid for a park permit. What other rules apply?

Specifically, the Minnesota state parks fishing license exemption allows Minnesota residents to take fish without a license when shore fishing or wading on state-owned land within a state park. All limits and special regulations in effect for the body of water being fished apply. When angling from a boat or float, the law applies only to those water bodies that are completely encompassed within the statutory boundary of the state park.

Anglers must possess a valid license when fishing in Minnesota’s six state recreation areas; on waters where a trout stamp is required; and when fishing in any city, county, regional or federal park. For more information go to

- Amy Barrett, public information officer - Minnesota DNR Division of Parks and Trails


What should anglers do if they are fishing on a catch-and-release only body of water, and they catch what they think may be a record-setting fish?

Catching a big fish regardless of the species is always a thrill for any angler. Since a potential record fish needs to be transported for weighing and identification it must be harvested and only fish that are caught and can be kept legally are eligible for state record verification. So a state record fish could not be recognized on these bodies of water. For full record fish rules go to 

However, there is another way for anglers to enjoy the rewards of catch and release. The Master Angler program, which is sponsored by the DNR and Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame, aims to recognize responsible anglers who release quality fish. The program is open to all licensed anglers in Minnesota, and includes categories for both adults and youth. Details about this program are available at

Want a memento other than a picture? Some taxidermists will build a replica from the measurements and photo you might take before releasing the fish.

Additional information on state record fish and proper catch and release techniques can be found on page 72 in the 2009 Fishing Regulations.

- Jenifer Matthees, DNR Aquatic Education coordinator


The DNR works with the University of Minnesota Extension Service in conducting the Master Naturalist program. What is the program and how does a person become a Master Naturalist?

The Master Naturalist program is a community-based natural-resource volunteer program that is open to any adult who is interested in learning more about the natural world. This program is different than the Master Gardener program as it will provide participants a broader based understanding of the state's natural environments.

Those who sign up for the program will have the opportunity to be trained in any one, or all, of Minnesota's biomes - prairie, deciduous forest or coniferous forest. However, in order to be certified as a master naturalist, volunteers must complete 40 hours of training and a supervised sponsored outreach project. Following training, these conservationists will assist the DNR, the Extension Service and other partners with public outreach and management of the state's diverse natural environments.

Additional information is available at .

- Dawn Flinn, DNR Stewardship Education coordinator



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