Minnesota House Bill 1076 to Add Gar to List of Game Fish

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Tyler W
Tyler W's picture
Minnesota House Bill 1076 to Add Gar to List of Game Fish
Breaking News. Minnesota House Bill 1076 was amended yesterday to add gar to the list of game fish. https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/MIfCUHTBG0unDepTrA_UDg.pdf Text of the amendment: Subd. 25. Game fish. "Game fish" means fish from the following families and species: 1.6 Acipenseridae (lake sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon), Anguillidae (American eel), 1.7 Centrarchidae (black crappie; largemouth bass; rock bass; smallmouth bass; white crappie; 1.8 and sunfishes, including bluegill, green sunfish, longear sunfish, orangespotted sunfish, 1.9 pumpkinseed, and warmouth), Esocidae (muskellunge and northern pike), Gadidae (burbot), 1.10 Ictaluridae (blue catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish), Lepisosteidae (gar), Moronidae 1.11 (white bass and yellow bass), Percidae (sauger, walleye, and yellow perch), Polyodontidae 1.12 (paddlefish), and Salmonidae (Atlantic salmon, brook trout, brown trout, chinook salmon, 1.13 cisco (tullibee), coho salmon, kokanee salmon, lake trout, lake whitefish, pink salmon, and 1.14 rainbow trout). Game fish includes hybrids of game fish. The amendment was adopted by the committee!
kernel j

The Paddlefish, eh?

Now, if this means all categories of gamefish are subject to the same rules and laws that's pretty cool.  However, I wonder how gar will be viewed in this new categorization.  Much like a largemouth bass and not snaggable/shootable or is there going to be some different critieria for gar species? 

The fact that paddlefish are on the list and, at least from my experience with them, they are kinda/sorta/always snagged.  Yes, I've caught dozens of them in the Wabash on crappie jigs under floats, but we know how those things really happen.  It's in the mouth albeit not very intentionally by the fish.

Could be a great advancement for gar species depending on what the regs actually are.  Could also kinda suck to put them as a gamefish, yet allow shooting and other means of rude procurement.



andy's picture
Wow count me in

This is great, and yes it would mean that gar would not be on the Bowfisher's menu legally and I don't think there's much debate there.  All other gamefish are off-limit.

There are other very immportant fishes on this list as well - 

lake whitefish

Sneak them guys in there too.



TonyS's picture

Hey even if it is symbolic, that's a step in the right direction.  Regarding Paddlefish, they are totally protected in MN - no season at all, so the gamefish designation really means nothing to them.  Burbot, Cisco and Whitefish made the list in 2019 I think it was.  You can still gill net Whitefish and Cisco.  You can still dark house spear pike and whitefish.  You can't bowfish for any of those species so if Gar get moved to the gamefish list then I'd expect they'd be off the bowfishing list - but knows how it will all shake out, bowfishers have money

Jacopo's picture
Take Action

Thanks to the Reps Hansen and Lee for proposing this bill.

Find your Representive and contact them to ask them to support this bill. I believe short concise emails actually get read more then long wordy ones. The more emails they get, the more they listen.  https://www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts/

Additionally you can email your state senator asking them to support companion legislation to MN house bill 1076. There is not companion legislation in the senate yet. Same link as above.

If you're not much for writing you can use this text below as a starter or to copy and paste in your email.  

I am writing to encourage you to support MN House bill 1076 classifying Gar as a game fish in Minnesota. I support this bill because I believe that Longnose and Shortnose Gar are important apex predators in our ecosystem and provide excellent angling opportunities in bodies of water that dont typically support populations of other more common sport fish in MN such as the walleye. Thanks for your time and consideration of this bill.



Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
at the very least, even if

at the very least, even if bowfishing is still allowed for gar, their gamefish status should at least grant them some regulation in that arena, which is still a big step forward


"I swear if you catch another drum"

Tyler W
Tyler W's picture
Symptom and problem

I really believe the underlying problem is the disrespect. If people generally respected "rough" fish, then wanton waste would be no worse than for game fish. It isn't as if archery is INHERENTLY a disrespectful way to harvest animals. Bow hunters often pursue deer with a semi-religious fervor. I wish I knew who through more fish on the bank? The more numerous anglers or the more effective archers? 


Which is a long way of saying, the gar amendment would go a long way to change the way gar are perceived. Even if it doesn't pass, it creates the idea that gar are close to game fish... and that helps.