Spear Gun Fishing for Carp in Minnesota

by Terry Hollis
Take advantage of some of Minnesota's best fishing spots.

Take advantage of some of Minnesota's best fishing spots.

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If you plan on doing some carp fishing in Minnesota, you won't be disappointed. The species is common in the state's lakes, rivers and wetlands and can weigh in at over 100 lbs.. Spear fishing is a popular sport, but using spear guns is not as prevalent as conventional fishing, and the rules about spear gun use are not as widely publicized. Although it's legal, there are some things you should know, to stay safe and have fun.


According to the Mnnesota Fishing Forum, you cannot use spear guns for darkhouse fishing, that is, fishing on a frozen lake in a small house with a hole cut in the ice. When you use a spear gun, you and the gun must be fully submerged. Your arrow must be attached to the gun with a tethered line no longer than 20 feet, and you cannot use a spear gun within 1,000 feet of a beach. You cannot use a gas motor for spear gun or bow fishing.

Fishing License

You will be required to obtain a valid resident or non-resident fishing license from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to spear-gun fish in Minnesota. This allows you to fish from March to April of the following year. There are also 24-hour, lifetime and legally married Minnesota couples' licenses available that permit spear fishing. Licenses limit the amount of fish you can take, and can be revoked if you violate two or more regulations in three years.

Types Of Carp

Minnesota's Asian carp, are split into two species, Big Head and Silver carp. The Big Head carp are the largest and tend to travel in schools. They also jump out of the water when disturbed by boats. While carp do nibble at worms, most fishermen use plain bread dough for bait, or a dough made from cornmeal, salt, flour, water, cornstarch and strawberry jello. This is especially effective in Minnesota's shallow wetlands.

Types Of Spear Guns

Spear guns are divided into two main categories: band guns and pneumatic guns. Band guns operate like a bow-and-arrow, where the spear is loaded onto an elastic band and shot by releasing a trigger mechanism. Band guns tend to be noisier and can scare away fish when fired. Pneumatic guns use a chamber filled with compressed air to power the spear. These are more accurate, because they have less recoil, but they lose power the deeper you go in the water.

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