A well-equipped tackle box supports a good fishing experience. Explore our "tackle box" for fun facts, interesting information, and useful tips.
- Keep surface waters clean. Fishing line, bait cups, plastic bags, etc. can kill fish or wildlife that eat or get tangled in them. Discard litter and hooks in trash, not on the ground or in lakes!
- Preserve aquatic vegetation. It provides habitat for fish and wildlife.
- Respect private property. Ask permission so you are not trespassing!
- Keep only small fish to eat. Practice Catch-and-Release.
- Use barbless hooks
- Play fish quickly
- Handle fish carefully, with little handling and air exposure
- Remove hooks with needle-nose pliers or cut fishing line if throat-hooked
- Ease—not throw—fish back into water
We encourage keeping only a few large bluegills, crappies, largemouth bass, northern pike, and walleyes. We also encourage keeping bullheads and small sunfish. We discourage keeping your limits of sport fish.
Turn in Poachers
Turn in Poachers (TIP) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to curbing poaching in Minnesota.
Do you suspect poaching activity? Get as much information as possible and report as soon as possible.
Call: TIP hotline (24 hours/day, 365 days/year): (800) 652-9093; Cell phone: #TIP; or Report a Violation
*Your identity can remain anonymous.*
If there's a conviction, you may receive a reward up to $1,000. Since 1981, TIP has deterred senseless waste of wildlife and has benefited MN DNR law enforcement efforts.
Don't Dump Your Aquarium
Goldfish are pets that don't belong in our lakes. They reproduce rapidly and often survive winters. Their feeding stirs lake bottoms, mixing sediment and phosphorus into the water. This stimulates algae blooms and reduces water transparency.
Basic Fish Anatomy
Fish use fins to swim, steer, and stop. Tail muscles (peduncle) add power and speed. Fish taste and smell with mouth and nares. Lateral line of special scales detects movements and vibrations. Waste and eggs or sperm exit vent. Operculum moves water over gills for breathing.
Common Eagan Gamefish (All illus. by C. Eckman printed with permission from MN DNR)
Bluegill sunfish (4 to 6 inches)
Food: Insects, small fish, leeches, snails, algae. Habitat: Prefer deep weed beds near open water. Spawning: Late May to early August. In colonies of 50 or more, dominant males make circular, sand nests and defend until young (fry) disperse. Fishing Tips: Try worm pieces on small hooks with bobbers.
Black crappie (6 to 7 inches)
Food: Small fish, insects, plankton. Feed at night. Habitat: Often in weed beds but also deeper, more open areas, especially in winter. Spawning: Males make circular, sand nests in spring when water is 50°F, in 1 to 3 feet of water. Females lay eggs in nests. Males fertilize eggs and guard nests until fry feed on their own. Fishing Tips: Use wax worms, minnows, jigging spoons.
Largemouth Bass (12 to 15 inches)
Food: Small fish, frogs, crayfish, insects, leeches. Habitat: Weed beds or near sunken trees or other structures in warm, shallow lakes or bays. Spawning: Males build and protect nests in early summer when water is 60°F, in 2 to 8 feet of water. Females lay eggs in nests and males fertilize them. Males guard nests until fry leave them. Fishing Tips: Use live baits, jigs, or crank baits near sunken logs, lily pads, or bass-hiding places.
Northern pike (20 to 30 inches)
Food: Small fish, frogs, crayfish. Long body ambushes with bursts of speed. Habitat: Cruise near weed beds in shallow water. Spawning: Late March, early April when water 34°-40°F. Over shallow vegetation. Fishing Tips: Use variety of live or artificial baits near plant beds.
Our Neighborhood Fishing Guide has useful and interesting information about local opportunities. It includes maps, directions, and information about common game fish. It also has angling tips and lawn care tips that help protect water quality. A printed fishing guide is handy in your car or tackle box. Stop by city offices for your free copy.
Eagan offers families and youth free fishing clinics to learn basic skills. We provide all equipment and bait and welcome help from parents and grandparents. They usually need a Minnesota fishing license to help a child to fish.
Check our Things to Do calendar for upcoming fishing clinics!
We weigh and measure fish, take scales to determine age, and then release live fish. We collect fish using three standard techniques (in decreasing frequency):
- trap netting
- gill netting
Usually, we collect fish in trap nets near shorelines. Occasionally, we use an electrical current that temporarily stuns fish. Rarely, we ensnare fish in gill nets in open water. Our surveys track populations and guide future management (e.g., stocking). For information about DNR's surveys and fish stocking reports: Lake Finder.
Natural Fish Kills
Fish die throughout the year, and most species are short-lived. But high mortality is rarely observed. When many fish die together, it's called a "kill." Pollution or improper use of chemicals could be the cause, but most kills are natural and related to weather or environmental conditions. There are three types of fish kills:
- The most common fish kill occurs after long winters, when dissolved oxygen in the water is low. Our shallow lakes are prone to winter kills. Thick ice and snow restrict sunlight to plants that produce oxygen by photosynthesis and block air mixing at the surface. Ongoing natural decay of plants by bacteria uses oxygen. To prevent these kills, our winter aeration program provides open water and air.
- Spring kills often are from columnaris disease. As lakes warm in spring, we may see dead fish in shallow areas. Columnaris is an infection of the bacteria Flexibacter columnare. It's also called "fin rot" or "cotton mouth disease." Fish usually have swollen and inflamed gills and skin lesions with reddish borders. The disease runs its course in a few days, only killing some fish. There's nothing practical to do to alter an outbreak. Often, there's a secondary infection of cottony fish fungus (Saprolegnia and related water molds).
- Summer kills commonly occur when dissolved oxygen is low. They result when the decay process increases, especially as temperatures warm. Many circumstances can cause summer oxygen depletion. Removal of excessive plants by herbicides may lower oxygen production. During the hottest periods, warmer water holds much less oxygen than colder water. Fish may die if winds are calm and overcast skies persist for several days. Also, prolonged winds can mix deep, low-oxygen water throughout a lake, suffocating fish.
If you see dead fish or believe there is a fish kill in Eagan, please contact:
Central Maintenance Facility
3501 Coachman Point
Eagan, MN 55122
Can You Eat Fish?
Fish tested in many MN lakes contain mercury, including Blackhawk, Fish, and North lakes in Eagan. For your safety, review the Department of Health's fish consumption advice here: Minnesota Department of Health Fish Advisory Program
- Please use caution near water! Lakes may drop off near shore. Wear your life jacket.
- Supervise children near water. Require them to wear flotation devices even while shore fishing.
Winter Fishing - Use Extreme Caution
No ice is completely safe. Thickness guidelines (Ice Safety):
- less than 2 inches, stay off!
- 4 inches for personal ice fishing
- 5 inches for snowmobile or ATV
- 8-12 inches for car or small truck
Anyone fishing in Eagan is subject to current Minnesota regulations.
Fishing licenses are required for ages 16+.
To prevent winter kills, our aerators provide open water and air for game fish. If dissolved oxygen (DO) in fishing lakes is below a certain level, we install a floating aerator. We post "THIN ICE" warning signs because aerators create unsafe, thin-ice conditions. We don't install aerators if DO levels are acceptable for fish survival.