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DNR: It's not OK to fish without license

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says there's no way to get around the state's fishing license requirements during the government shutdown.

The state's electronic licensing system was taken offline when the shutdown began July 1, leaving anglers unable to buy fishing licenses. And that's caused concern in the state's tourism industry. The DNR made it clear Wednesday that fishing on the honor system is not allowed.

The DNR says some contract license agents and resorts have been issuing so-called "temporary licenses" on the condition that buyers promise to purchase a legal license when the shutdown ends.

But DNR Enforcement Chief Jim Konrad says those unauthorized documents are not valid. And he says anyone caught fishing without a valid license could be ticketed.

That conflicts with an email to members and area media put out Wednesday by the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce. The email stated that the Chamber learned people can fish without a license during the government shutdown as long as they purchase a license after the state is back open for business. The Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber issued a similar release.