License Minnesota

Fishing Tournament Permit

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Agency contact information:

Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Department of
500 Lafayette Rd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
(651) 296-6157 | (888) 646-6367 | (651) 296-5484 (TTY) | (800) 657-3929 (TTY)
(651) 259-5200
(651) 297-4916 (fax)


Fishing Tournaments

Fishery permits

DNR Mobile Apps

Social Media Page

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages the state's natural resources. Hunting, fishing, state forests and parks, lakes, rivers and streams, boating and water safety, trails, snowmobiling, skiing, education, enforcement, wildlife management, lands and minerals are managed by the DNR.


Minn. Stats. 97C.081


MINNESOTA RULES 6212.2400 - 6212.2800


Application to Conduct a Fishing Tournament

Online Fishing Tournament Application

Regulations and application form are available on the DNR website, Permits, Fishery permits section at Fishing tournament application.

Contact local Fisheries offices



  • Permitted fishing contest means an open-water fishing or ice-fishing contest that requires a permit from the DNR.
  • Permitted fishing contest day means a day on a water body where a permitted fishing contest is held. Two permitted fishing contests that are held on the same water body on the same day count as two permitted fishing contest days.
  • Large permitted fishing contest means an open-water fishing contest with more than 50 boats or 100 participants that requires a permit from the DNR.
  • Established or traditional fishing contest means a fishing contest that was issued permits in 1999 and 2000 or was issued permits four out of five years from 1996 to 2000 for the same lake and time period. Beginning with 2001, established or traditional fishing contests must continue to be conducted at least four out of five years for the same lake and time period to remain established.
  • Off-site weigh-in means a weigh-in of fish from a fishing contest at a location that is not adjacent to the waters listed on the fishing contest permit.
  • Pre-fishing means fishing by participants of a permitted fishing contest prior to the scheduled dates of the contest on waters listed on the fishing contest permit.
  • Participant means a person who is taking part in a fishing contest.

Permit Requirements

  • A person may conduct a contest without a permit provided any one of the following apply:
    1. There are 25 boats or less (replaces threshold based on number of participants)or 150 participants or less for ice fishing contests, entry fee is $25 or less, total prize value is $25,000 or less, and the contest is not limited to trout;
    2. The contest is not limited to specifically named waters, and the contest is not limited to trout;
    3. All the participants are 18 or younger;
    4. The contest is limited to rough fish; OR,
    5. The total prize value is $500 or less
  • The charitable fee waiver has been eliminated. All contests must pay a fee for a tournament permit.
  • Permit fees for open-water contests have been reduced by 50%, as shown below:
    • Fee for open-water contests without off-site weigh-ins (weigh-in is located on contest waters):
      • Small contests (50 or fewer boats): $60
      • Large contests (more than 50 boats): $200
    • Fee for open-water contests with off-site weigh-ins:
      • Small contests: $250
      • Large contests: $500
  • Fee for ice contests (more than 150 participants) is $120
  • The DNR permit may allow for live-release weigh-ins at public accesses.
    If a permit is required, and if entry fees are over $25 per person, or total prizes are valued at more than $25,000, and the applicant has not previously conducted a permitted fishing contest or has ever failed to make required prize awards in a fishing contest, the applicant will be required to furnish evidence of financial responsibility in the form of a surety bond or bank letter of credit in the amount of $25,000.

  • Fishing tournament regulations: Permit application process

    2013-2014 Permit Application Process

    • Permit applications for 2014 will be accepted starting August 1, 2013
    • Applications and associated fees for fishing contests must be sent to the appropriate regional fisheries office. A map showing regional boundaries and addresses can be found in the fishing regulations book, on the online office locator, or on page 2 of the tournament permit application. The appropriate fee must be submitted along with the application.
    • Applications may also be submitted online. However, permit fees and tournament rules (if any) must still be mailed or delivered to the appropriate regional manager's office.  No application is complete until fees have been submitted.
    • Multiple-region contest applications should be sent to 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN, 55155-4020.
    • If permit applications received from August 1 through the last Friday in September (September 27, 2013) exceed the monthly limits for given water body, the DNR will notify the applicants that their application will be subject to a drawing. Applicants would then be given seven days to change their application, but could not change to a location and time period for which applications are already at or above the limit.
    • The DNR will conduct a drawing for all locations and time periods for which applications exceed limits. First preference in the drawings will be given to applicants for established or traditional fishing contests. Preference points will be given to contests based on the number of times they have been unsuccessful in previous drawings. Contests lose all accumulated preference points after being successfully drawn.
    • Results of the drawing and any applications received by 4:30 p.m. on September 27 will be announced no later than November 7.
    • There are limits on the number of contests held each month based on lake size.
    • Permit applications for 2014 received after September 27, 2013 may be approved as long as the additional permits do not exceed the monthly limit on permitted fishing contests. These additional applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    • A person may not transfer a fishing contest permit to another person.
    • The contest fee is non-refundable except for applications denied following a drawing or withdrawn by the applicant prior to issuance of a permit. Once a permit has been issued, fees are not refundable.


Permit fees: 

Small contests (31-100 participants, 50 or fewer boats) - $60
Large contests (more than 100 participants or more than 50 boats) - $200
Small, Offsite Weigh-In - $250
Large, Offsite Weigh-In - $500 
Ice contests - $120

Fee must be submitted with the application. The contest fee is non-refundable except for applications denied following a drawing or withdrawn by the applicant prior to issuance of a permit. Once a permit has been issued, fees are not refundable.
Fees may be waived for charitable organizations. To be considered for a waiver of the fee, the organization must be registered with office of the Minnesota Attorney General as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Refer to The Minnesota Attorney General website, Charities Division.