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Darkhouse spearing opens Dec. 22 on Dakota border waters

Darkhouse spearing becomes legal on Minnesota waters bordering North Dakota and South Dakota on Monday, Dec. 22, when a new law allowing spearing of northern pike takes effect.

“Darkhouse spearing for northern pike has long been popular on inland waters of Minnesota but until Dec. 22 has not been allowed on any of Minnesota’s border waters,” said Al Stevens, fisheries program consultant. “This new law lets people spear northern pike and rough fish from darkhouses on the Dakota border waters.”

The season for darkhouse spearing on Dakota border waters and inland waters continues until the last Sunday in February, which in 2015 is Feb. 22. Each year, the season begins on Nov. 15.

Darkhouse spearing of northern pike continues to be illegal on Minnesota border waters shared with Wisconsin, Iowa and Canada.

Some regulations for darkhouse spearing on the Dakota border waters differ from inland water spearing regulations. On Dakota border waters:

The bag limit for northern pike is three, with no size restrictions.

Carp, buffalo, sheepshead (also called freshwater drum), sucker, redhorse, bowfin and gar may be speared in unlimited quantities.

Catfish are not allowed to be speared anywhere along the North Dakota border waters.

Catfish are not allowed to be speared on South Dakota border waters formed by the Bois de Sioux River from White Rock Dam to the North Dakota border. However, on Mud, Traverse, Big Stone and Hendricks lakes catfish can be speared from a darkhouse and the limit is five, and only one of the five can be longer than 24 inches.

Rules for identification of darkhouses used on border waters are the same as for inland waters. More information on rules for darkhouse and fishing shelters used on the ice is found on page 68 of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations and at www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.