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Good Question: Why Does MN Only Allow One Fishing Line In The Water?

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(credit: CBS) Jennifer Mayerle
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This time of year is prime fishing time. It’s a good time to get out on the water, drop a line in and hopefully catch some walleye.

Our border states allow people to fish with more than one line at a time. So why does Minnesota only allow one line in the water?

“I don’t know why they’re so worried about two lines,” says fisherman Larry Cerep. “Wisconsin does it.”

A fishing license in Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota allow people to fish with two lines at a time. And it’s two in Iowa with, the option to purchase a third line.

In Minnesota, only one line is allowed per fishing license. Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant with the Department of Natural Resources, says it all comes down to conservation.

“We’re trying to provide opportunities to catch quality fish, and while preserving the fish stocks for the future,” Stevens said.

He says the DNR have a regulating formula that works: the number of lines, bag limit and size restriction go hand in hand. If you alter one, you have to change the others.

“If we’re to jeopardize that, then there’s really no value to that, and that’s our first goal is provide good fishing,” he said.

Stevens says people raise the question quite often, even wondering if the state is missing out on making more money on licenses. He says the DNR’s budget is right where it should be.

Fishermen we talked with say they see a benefit to having more than one line.

“Better the odds of catching a fish, landing a big one,” said Ryan Flores.

Cerep says he would go for variety.

“It’d be nice to use two because I’d be fishing for pan fish and fishing for muskies at the same time,” Cerep said.

Stevens says this likely isn’t expected to change anytime soon. It’s been this way since 1920.

The rules are different with ice fishing. People are allowed two lines in Minnesota in the winter, but most of the other states allow four lines.

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