Have you ever seen one of these? They are more active in the winter months and can also be a nuisance to ice fishermen. They also are a protected species.

The Minnesota Fish & Wildlife page just shared an update asking for anglers to report if they have caught one or seen any of them. That's because they are a species of special concern, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources keeps track of verified observations.

What are these slimy things?

These aquatic animals are called Mudpuppies. They are fully aquatic salamanders, and they frequently go after an ice angler's bait. The salamanders look like fish with four legs.

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Where are they found in Minnesota?

You can find mudpuppies in the Mississippi, St. Croix, Minnesota, and Red River drainages.

Are they protected by law?

Mudpuppies are designated as a species of special concern, but that by itself doesn't grant them protection. However, the Minnesota Fish & Wildlife says that legislation passed in 2017 added salamanders to the protected list. Since a mudpuppy is a salamander they are protected.

Should you release it back into the water if you catch one?

Wildlife authorities ask that you release them back into the water, but first, you should gather some information.

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What do I need to do to report a mudpuppy?

The DNR would like you to report if you caught one recently. Take a photo of the mudpuppy, and send an email to mcbs.e-report@state.mn.us. Let them know the date and location of the catch.

They can aggressively go after your bait.

As these mudpuppies get more active in the winter, many ice anglers actually complain about how they are a nuisance and get in the way of fishing for species anglers are targeting.

I haven't seen one through the ice yet, but I think it could be a cool experience.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger