Review frozen bait regulations
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges anglers who fish with frozen or imported dead bait to review regulations that govern the use of emerald shiners, spottail shiners, bluntnose minnows and other baitfish that are susceptible to the fish-killing disease, viral hemmorhagic septicemia (VHS).
"VHS is a highly contagious and pathogenic fish virus emerging in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. and Canada," said Paula Phelps, DNR aquaculture and fish health consultant.
Anglers purchasing dead or frozen VHS susceptible or imported bait from a vendor should only purchase packages affixed with a label stating that the bait will not pose a threat of VHS to Minnesota waters. Anglers are required to keep the label with the bait until it is used up or discarded.
It is illegal for anyone to bring live bait into the state at any time. Nonresident anglers should either buy their bait when they get to their fishing destination or ensure that their imported dead bait is affixed with the required label.
DNR also reminds anglers that when ice fishing, portable bait containers (except on waters designated infested with VHS) are no longer required to be drained before leaving the water body as is required during the open water seasons.
More information on bait rules and regulations can be found in the 2012 Minnesota Fishing Regulations booklet or by visiting www.mndnr.gov/regulations.