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Boreal Community Media

Know Before You Go: 2024 Fishing Opener

May 09, 2024 03:21PM ● By Editor
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From Superior National Forest - May 9, 2024

Minnesota’s fishing opener is almost here and officials on the Superior National Forest would like to remind anglers and other visitors to recreate responsibly and safely, and plan ahead before traveling to the Superior NF. Conditions can vary widely across the State and even across the 3 million acres of the Superior NF.

Check conditions

While fishing opener is approaching, spring temperatures and access road conditions vary. Lakes in northern Minnesota remain cold through summer and can be dangerous, and even lethal if exposed for several minutes. Always wear your life vest!

While most lakes are open, large, Canadian border lakes could still have ice on them. Be careful that you do not get stuck on a lake by the wind blowing ice around and blocking you in bays and other areas. Learn more about cold-water safety on the Minnesota DNR website.

If you chose to have a campfire in a designated fire grate, make sure there is not a fire restriction or ban in effect for your area. Keep fires small and contained. Have water nearby and never leave your campfire unattended. Do not build a fire on windy days. Consider using a camp stove, they have less impact and work well during rainy weather. Be prepared for a range of spring weather conditions by planning ahead and preparing your gear.

If you are interested in particular lakes or roads, please call ahead to the local district ranger office to inquire about status. Outfitters and guides are also great resources for local conditions.

Find a fishing spot

The Superior NF boasts hundreds of lakes and 77 boat accesses. Motorized and non-motorized boating opportunities are available. As a rule, areas listed under motorized boating are lakes or campgrounds with a drive down boat ramp for launching a trailered boat. These lakes can also be accessed by non-motorized boats; more information can be found on our website, water activities. For general fishing outlooks by region see MN DNR fishing outlook.


Forest staff anticipate that fee, both reservable and first-come- first-served campgrounds are opening. Please contact the nearest Superior NF district office or for information on developed campgrounds.

Note–Water systems in many campgrounds have not been turned on yet. Drinking water will be available as soon as ground and water lines thaw. Some outhouses and garbage bins are not available. Other important information includes:

  • Fee campgrounds offer some first come, first served sites and some reservable campsites. Campsites can be reserved at More information is available at: Campground Camping
  • Rustic campgrounds are free of charge and first come, first served. They have outhouses, tables and fire rings but no drinking water. Outhouses are open but bring your own toilet paper.
  • Rustic campgrounds and backcountry sites do not have a garbage service. Please pack your garbage out, and do not bury it or throw it in restrooms or latrines.
  • Backcountry sites are free of charge and offer a more remote experience while still providing a fire grate and latrine. 
  • Although rustic and backcountry campgrounds are open, they may have poor access road conditions. Alternative campgrounds can be found on state forestsstate parks and county land.

Be bear aware!

Bears are out of hibernation and in search of food. A fed bear is a dead bear! Wherever you chose to recreate on the Superior NF, take all precautions to discourage bears from visiting your campsite by keeping it clean. Here are some bear aware best practices:

  • Dispose of fish remains by traveling at least 200 feet away from campsites, trails, portages and shorelines and pack out live bait. 
  • Never eat or store food or scented personal items in your tent. 
  • Be prepared to securely store your food, toiletries and trash, or anything with a strong or sweet odor in a, inside your vehicle or by hanging your food pack. 

Also, required as of March 1-November 30 each year, Forest Order 09-09-24-02 for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness requiring that all food, food containers and scented items be safely stored to help prevent bear-human interactions. 

Similar orders in previous years have been issued in response to bear-human interactions, the intent of Forest Order 09-09-24-02 is to prevent those interactions from occurring by mandating Bear Aware behaviors in regions known to have significant risk of interactions. For more information and details, please visit

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permit holders

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) campsites are open.

Permit holders must pick up permits from the issue station specified on the permit. Group leaders or alternates must pick up the permit on the entry date or one day prior.

Beginning May 1, 2024, Gunflint, Tofte, and the Kawishiwi Ranger District offices are open seven days a week for BWCAW permit issuance and in-person Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly education. The Laurentian Ranger District and Supervisor’s Office are open Monday through Friday. The LaCroix Ranger District is open Monday through Saturday. Forest district offices are open 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., while the Supervisor’s Office is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • It takes 15 seconds to cancel a permit you cannot use. Give another group the opportunity to visit the BWCAW!
  • Log in to your account at Click on your name to select “Reservations” from the drop-down. Click “Cancel” to select a permit, then “Cancel Reservation” to complete the action.

Permit holders need to watch parts 1 and 2 of the BWCAW Leave No Trace video series prior to picking up a permit. To receive credit for watching the videos, click the links in the emails sent to the permit holder to access the videos online (use Chrome to avoid errors). If you have not reviewed parts 1 and 2 before arriving at your issue station, you will need to watch the complete BWCAW Leave No Trace video series before receiving your permit. All permit holders are required to watch part 3 of the video series and review the BWCAW Regulations and Rules at their issue station prior to receiving their permit.

Thank you for doing your part to help keep the Superior NF safe, enjoyable, and pristine for all visitors. 


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