BWCA Fishing

I have some questions about fishing in the BWCA. I would like to go fishing there and would like to know what the limits on the amount of fish that one can catch are. I would also like to know if one can catch fish and take them home to eat later.


I’ll Invite Duluth Moose Correct Me…
…if I’m wrong, since he works in Fisheries Department in MN. Northerns are usually three, walleyes 6, and smallies 6. I’m thinking lake trout are also three. There are oftentimes special regs on certain lakes, like Sag has limit of two on trophy sized walleyes. Also lakes containing “Stream trout” (brookies, 'bows, and brown’s) typically have regulations that are dependant on the specific lake. As for “Limits” and bringing home fish, I would have to discourage it. I think the responsible thing to do is catch enough for a few fish dinners and release the rest. Also, unless you were on a BWCAW lake on the periphery of the wilderness, bringing back fish would be difficult. Especially if you wanted them to taste good. Also, MN has a law where you have to leave a 1" strip of skin on the fish (with scales intact) that will make the identity easy for conservation officers. If you’re interested in taking fish home, it may be better to stay on a lake on the periphery of the BWCAW at a campground or cabin. WW

Wow! They are strict. See, I grew up in Louisiana which has a lot of good fishing spots. We have large mouth bass, what we call white perch and then crappie. There is a limit of 15 on bass and I think the same on the perch, but no limit on the crappie (those things are thicker than flies!). We would go catch enough for two or three dinners and come home and clean them and freeze them. Of course, the lakes in Louisiana are not isolated like the BWCA lakes are so it’s not a problem, nor is over fishing really a problem.

Thanks for the information!

Love To Get Back Down to LA…
…sometime. Last time, got to go out from Ponchatrain to the intracoastal and caught lots of sea trout and MY FAVORITE, Redfish. I’ve never hooked anything that fights like those things do! Let me know what you decide and I can tell you what lakes/species are best. Been going up there 20 years now, mostly Gunflint Trail area out of Grand Marais. Take care! WW

Fishing limits
Terry you pretty much nailed it, except for the lake trout limit. The limit is now 2 fish. For brook, brown, or rainbow trout lakes the limit is 5, but not more than 3 can be over 16". As Terry said, there are some waters in the BWCA that have more restrictive special regulations that apply. Special reg lakes have the regulation posted at the access and they are listed in the regs booklet. In the next few years I expect there will be more of these implemented to improve fishing quality in selected lakes.

I second Terry’s suggestion about enjoying fish meals while on the trail and releasing the rest for other canoers to enjoy catching. These lakes are very infertile waters and can only sustain a relatively small amount of harvest every year.