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#2588049 - 05/18/11 08:54 AM
Possession limits and gifting fish
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
I don't mean (and don't want) this question to open up a huge ethical debate.....I just want the cut-and-dried legal scoop:

Let's say Angler A has his limit of walleyes in the fridge on a Monday night. If they follow all the proper procedures and give those fillets to another licensed angler (Angler B) who has none of that species of fish in possession that same evening, does Angler A's possession "status" go back to zero?

In other words, can Angler A wake up on Tuesday morning and go catch another limit of walleyes?

The regulations don't seem to spell this out. They just say that gifting is legal--they don't say what it does to the gifters possession status.

If this is legal and does indeed bring Angler A back to zero, is there any limit (again, legally not ethically) to how often/how frequently this can be done?
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#2588072 - 05/18/11 09:26 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
pushbutton Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 4647
Loc: central mn
If you are no longer in possesion of the fish and the proper procedure/labeling has been performed in the gifting, yes, you could go out the next day and get another. I suppose you legally could do it 364 days out of the year if you really wanted to.
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#2588086 - 05/18/11 09:42 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: pushbutton]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Thanks for the clarification. And to clarify myself, I certainly don't want to do this with any degree of frequency, much less 364 days a year smile

I've just gotten to wondering about this because last summer, there was this old retired farm couple who stayed at the same resort as some friends and me. We were catching walleyes like crazy, but they just couldn't catch one.

They were the nicest folks you could possibly imagine and we felt bad that they hadn't caught any walleyes, so we gave them their limit worth of walleyes out of the fish we'd caught.

I honestly can't recall if we headed back out on the lake the next day and kept more walleyes or not, but should a similar situation ever come up again, I want to know the law and do the right thing.
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#2588124 - 05/18/11 10:25 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
MuskieJunkie Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1395
Loc: Minnetonka, MN
Originally Posted By: Troller
Let's say Angler A has his limit of walleyes in the fridge on a Monday night. If they follow all the proper procedures and give those fillets to another licensed angler (Angler B) who has none of that species of fish in possession that same evening, does Angler A's possession "status" go back to zero?


Yes that is the way I read it in the regs. Also Angler B doesn't need to be licensed, it can be anyone you gift those to.

- Brian
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#2588153 - 05/18/11 10:57 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: MuskieJunkie]
GrizzlyAdams Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/05/08
Posts: 561
Loc: Mankato, MN
Person "B" does not have to have a license, however if you gift them to a non licensed person then you need to have your name, address and license number with the gifted fish so that, if checked, a CO officer will know who caught them and if that person has a valid license.

Not 100% sure on what info is needed but I would assume similar to what is needed to donate/gift deer/wild game meat to a friend or family member, etc.

And yes YOUR possession limit would then be down to zero. If gifted to a licensed angler then no other info should be needed as they are legal to possess and transport a limit of fish regardless of who caught them. Think "party" fishing. If three of us are in the boat, legally I can catch three limits of fish if the other 2 don't catch any. However I could not transport any additional limits (other than my own limit) with out those friends in the car with me or without the proper documentation. Still wouldn't take that chance either. Best to transport your own limit at that point.
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#2588174 - 05/18/11 11:12 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: GrizzlyAdams]
Castinski Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 139
Loc: MN
Originally Posted By: GrizzlyAdams
Think "party" fishing. If three of us are in the boat, legally I can catch three limits of fish if the other 2 don't catch any.


Are you sure about that? I was once ice fishing with a group of friends on a lake where the panfish limit was 10. We ended up keeping around 30 for 4 of us. A CO had been watching us all day and approached us as we left the lake. He wanted to know specifically how many each of us had kept that day, not the total and warned us that we had to keep our catches separate from one another. I thought it was rediculous at the time, but maybe he was just giving us a hard time because he watched us catch fish all day and thought he was going to bust us with more than our total limit. He was not what I would call a pleasant fellow.


Edited by Castinski (05/18/11 11:13 AM)
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#2588180 - 05/18/11 11:17 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Castinski]
RiverFish Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 1396
Loc: Central, WI
Remember also that you can not gift a limit of fish and then go out the same day to catch another limit.

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau
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#2588200 - 05/18/11 11:37 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: GrizzlyAdams]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Thanks, Grizzly. Your party fishing analogy is 100 percent correct. And you took the words of my next question right out of my mouth, as I was wondering why the "paperwork" of a receipt would be necessary if gifting to another licensed angler.

After all, the license gives them the right to possess their limit of fish. And if gifting truly brings the "gifter" back to zero, the gifter's name, license number, etc. aren't relevant.

Originally Posted By: GrizzlyAdams
Person "B" does not have to have a license, however if you gift them to a non licensed person then you need to have your name, address and license number with the gifted fish so that, if checked, a CO officer will know who caught them and if that person has a valid license.

Not 100% sure on what info is needed but I would assume similar to what is needed to donate/gift deer/wild game meat to a friend or family member, etc.

And yes YOUR possession limit would then be down to zero. If gifted to a licensed angler then no other info should be needed as they are legal to possess and transport a limit of fish regardless of who caught them. Think "party" fishing. If three of us are in the boat, legally I can catch three limits of fish if the other 2 don't catch any. However I could not transport any additional limits (other than my own limit) with out those friends in the car with me or without the proper documentation. Still wouldn't take that chance either. Best to transport your own limit at that point.
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#2588204 - 05/18/11 11:38 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: RiverFish]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Yup, I knew that much. Thanks.

Originally Posted By: RiverFish
Remember also that you can not gift a limit of fish and then go out the same day to catch another limit.
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#2588242 - 05/18/11 12:32 PM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: RiverFish]
Castinski Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 139
Loc: MN
Originally Posted By: RiverFish
Remember also that you can not gift a limit of fish and then go out the same day to catch another limit.

So this would make it pretty much illegal to party fish. You wouldn't be able to give your limit to angler B, then catch your own. That must've been the view of the CO in my story above. Funny, because I don't think that anyone keeps there catches separate like that when out on the lake. You just put them all in the livewell or something.
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#2588251 - 05/18/11 12:47 PM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Castinski]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Originally Posted By: Castinski
So this would make it pretty much illegal to party fish. You wouldn't be able to give your limit to angler B, then catch your own. That must've been the view of the CO in my story above. Funny, because I don't think that anyone keeps there catches separate like that when out on the lake. You just put them all in the livewell or something.


Huh? I don't follow.... How would what RiverFish said make it illegal to party fish?

What RiverFish was saying is that you can't catch a limit, give that limit away, and catch another limit ALL on the same calendar day. For example, you couldn't go out in the morning, keep 6 walleyes, give them to your cabin neighbor over lunch, and then head back out and catch another daily limit in the evening.

The warden who gave you a hard time must have just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.....cuz he was just plain wrong. No where in the regs does it state that an individual must catch their own limit. In fact, it says this:

A party is defined as a group of two or more persons:
angling from a single watercraft; or
if not in a watercraft, maintaining unaided visual and vocal contact
with each other.
The total number of fish possessed by the party may not exceed the
combined limits of the numbers of the party
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#2588276 - 05/18/11 01:39 PM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Ohhhhh, I understand you now, Catinski. I just got it.

You're saying that party fishing (assuming the individual anglers in a party are catching different numbers of fish) is essentially gifting your fish to another angler right there on the boat.

So, for example, if you and your buddy are fishing walleyes, and you're catching them all, you actually "gift" your limit to your fish-less friend the moment you put walleye No. 6 in the livewell and start fishing for No. 7.

But you're saying this presents a problem because at that same moment, you're now starting to fish for your second daily limit--same as if you came in at lunchtime, gave the six fish to your cabin neighbor, and headed back out to fish for another limit.

Gothca. Good point.....although I don't think the spirit of the law is intended this way. Still, I can see how an ornery CO might see it this way, too.

This is why I wish they'd spell stuff out better in the regs....
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#2588630 - 05/19/11 05:23 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
Castinski Offline
HSOShow.com Family

Registered: 12/11/09
Posts: 139
Loc: MN
Yep, that's what I was getting at.
I never saw this as an illegal act either, until that CO gave us a hard time. It's probably not illegal since they actually talk about party fishing in the regs.
HA, just another area of the regs that the CO's can interpret however they want I guess.
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#2588663 - 05/19/11 06:38 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Castinski]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
When you say the warden "gave you a hard time," what exactly happened? Did he give you a ticket or not?

I assume you had no idea how many fish each member of your party really kept, and I assume someone must have personally kept more than 10.

So did you admit that or just make up numbers to satisfy him?
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#2588667 - 05/19/11 06:44 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
Ed Carlson Offline
HSO Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/16/99
Posts: 8869
Loc: A van, down by the river.
Any fish kept counts against your personal daily possession limit, even if it is gifted.

Once you get your limit in the well...your done keeping fish for the day.

Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson ~ ~ ><,sUMo,> ~ ><CD
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#2588669 - 05/19/11 06:47 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Ed Carlson]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Originally Posted By: Ed Carlson
Any fish kept counts against your personal daily possession limit, even if it is gifted.

Once you get your limit in the well...your done keeping fish for the day.


Yes, there's no disputing that. How does that mesh with party fishing, however, as Catinski has pointed out?

Because, as said in the regs, party fishing is legal.

And while I have your ear, Ed, what's your take on my original question--if you gift your limit on Monday evening, are you legally back to zero on Tuesday morning?


Edited by Troller (05/19/11 06:52 AM)
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#2588676 - 05/19/11 06:56 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
RiverFish Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 1396
Loc: Central, WI
From the MN fishing regulations:
Daily and possession limits (bags) For most species of fish, the
daily and possession limit is the same. One exception would be the inland
limit on yellow perch, which is 20 per day and 40 in possession. The daily
and possession limits include fish possessed by the person at all locations
including such places as livewell, cold storage, at home, or at a resort.
Daily limit is the number of fish an angler can take in one calendar day.
Eating those fish or gifting them away on the same day does not allow an
angler to possess additional fish taken in the same calendar day.

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau
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#2588680 - 05/19/11 06:59 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: RiverFish]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Yes, as I just said, I don't think anyone disputes that. But how does that jive with the fact party fishing is legal according to the regs.

As Catinski has pointed out, there seems to be a contradiction here....

Thanks.

Originally Posted By: RiverFish
From the MN fishing regulations:
Daily and possession limits (bags) For most species of fish, the
daily and possession limit is the same. One exception would be the inland
limit on yellow perch, which is 20 per day and 40 in possession. The daily
and possession limits include fish possessed by the person at all locations
including such places as livewell, cold storage, at home, or at a resort.
Daily limit is the number of fish an angler can take in one calendar day.
Eating those fish or gifting them away on the same day does not allow an
angler to possess additional fish taken in the same calendar day.
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#2588683 - 05/19/11 07:04 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: RiverFish]
Ed Carlson Offline
HSO Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 12/16/99
Posts: 8869
Loc: A van, down by the river.
*And while I have your ear, Ed, what's your take on my original question--if you gift your limit on Monday evening, are you legally back to zero on Tuesday morning?

As I understand it...the DNR and the NDG&F rules a daily possession as running from midnight to midnight....so yes...that would be the next day....and a new personal daily possession limit to do with as you see fit.

The possession limit accumulatively is twice the daily limit at any one time, and it also applies to gifted fish as well.

Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson ~ ~ ><,sUMo,> ~ ><CD
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#2588684 - 05/19/11 07:05 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
RiverFish Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 1396
Loc: Central, WI
Troller,

When I read the the party fishing regulations, I take it as you can party fish legally. But when you leave the lake/river you can only have your legal possession limit on you or in your vehicle.

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau
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#2588686 - 05/19/11 07:09 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
reinhard1 Offline
HSO Legacy Member

Registered: 05/25/10
Posts: 11020
Loc: Mn. USA Andover
here is what is says in the regs:

a party is defined as a group of rtwo or more persons:angling from a single watercraft; or if not in a watercraft, maintaining unaided visual and vocal contact with each other.

the total number of fish possessed by the party may not exceed the combined limits of the numbers of the party.

each party member may transport only an individual limit of fish.

daily and possission limits are the same unless otherwise noted. fish are in an angler's possission whether on hand, in cold storage, in transport, or elsewhere.

and here is a new one: once a daily or possession limit of fish has been reached, no culling or live well sorting is allowed. no culling is allowed on mille lacs or wisconsin border waters [ see pages 25 and 58 ].

lawfully taken fish may be transferred as a gift if accompanied by a reciept containing: name and address of the owner, name and address of recipient, date of transfer, description of the gift, and license number [dnr number or transaction number] under which the fish was taken. the reciept must remain with the gift. the recipient cannot possess more than the statewide possession limit. good luck.

You Know You Have Gone Too Far When You Turn Your Fireplace Into A BBQ Pit.
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#2588695 - 05/19/11 07:19 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Ed Carlson]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Thanks, Ed. Sorry if it's an obvious question/answer and I seem dense for asking it.

Gifting fish is something I do only once in a blue moon, and almost never at a time/place where catching a limt of the same species the next day is even a possibility, much less likely.

Like I said, I asked because I found myself in that rare situation last summer, and I wanted to make sure that should that ever happen again, I know the rules and can follow them to the letter.

I felt it necessary to ask because it seems everything is illegal these days, and I kinda assumed that the DNR would have found it necessary to limit "gifting" to prevent people from taking it to the extreme, catching a limit 10 days in a row and giving the fish to their mother, father, neighbor, wife, kids, etc. each day.
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#2588701 - 05/19/11 07:33 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Ed Carlson]
Maverick1951 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/10/06
Posts: 482
Loc: Ottertail County
Originally Posted By: Ed Carlson
*And while I have your ear, Ed, what's your take on my original question--if you gift your limit on Monday evening, are you legally back to zero on Tuesday morning?

As I understand it...the DNR and the NDG&F rules a daily possession as running from midnight to midnight....so yes...that would be the next day....and a new personal daily possession limit to do with as you see fit.

The possession limit accumulatively is twice the daily limit at any one time, and it also applies to gifted fish as well.


In Minnesota the possession limit is the same as the daily limit except for perch. Might be different in North Dakota.

Troller, the rules around this are very straight forward, just read the regulations as posted by RH1.
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#2588711 - 05/19/11 07:48 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Maverick1951]
Troller Offline
IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 29
Loc: Mayer, MN
Maverick, did you actually read Catinski's posts? He points out what seems to be an obvious (albeit overlooked) contradiction.

How is catching all 12 of you and your buddy's party limit for walleyes while fishing together any different than going out by yourself in the morning, catching your limit, bringing them to the same buddy's cabin at midday, and then going back out by yourself again and catching another daily limit in the evening.

You're giving your fish to your buddy either way.....the only differnce is the distance traveled to give them. In the first scenario, you're reaching across the boat. In the second, your driving the boat to shore.

One is legal and one is definitely not. How is this not a contradiction?

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you that party fishing seems to be very much legal (as described in the regs), AS IT SHOULD BE. But I'm just saying that the DNR needs to do something to eliminate this contradiction.
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#2588724 - 05/19/11 08:09 AM
Re: Possession limits and gifting fish [Re: Troller]
pushbutton Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 4647
Loc: central mn
You have to be in the same boat to party fish. You can't drive back to the cabin and gift fish and fish the same day, so it is not a contrdiction. Hopefully we all can get out and fish soon so we won't be deliberating possible hickups in the reg books this intensely wink
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