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Facts About Fishing in Minnesota

Apr 04, 2018 07:45AM ● By Editor
From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - April 3, 2018

Anglers and waters

  • There are about 1.4 million licensed anglers in Minnesota.
  • About 500,000 people are expected to fish on Minnesota’s opening day of the walleye and northern pike season, Saturday, May 12.
  • Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 4,500 of which are considered fishing lakes. There are over 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, including 3,800 miles of trout streams.
  • Average annual expenditure per angler in Minnesota is about $1,500.*
  • Although not every kind of fish lives everywhere, 162 species of fish can be found in Minnesota waters.

Participation and the economy

  • Fishing contributes $2.4 billion to the state’s economy in direct retail sales, ranking Minnesota third in the nation for angler expenditures.*
  • Fishing supports nearly 35,500 Minnesota jobs.**
  • Minnesota ranks second in resident fishing participation at 32 percent, second only to Alaska.*

Who goes fishing?

  • Most resident anglers are from urban areas. However, a higher percentage of people living in rural Minnesota fish compared to the percentage of people living in urban areas who fish.*
  • Males account for 65 percent of fishing license holders. Females account for 35 percent.

Fishing habits

  • Significantly more time is spent fishing on lakes than on rivers and streams. *
  • The average Minnesota angler spends 15 days fishing each year.*
  • Walleye are the most sought-after fish in Minnesota, followed by northern pike and muskie combined, then panfish, bass, crappie and trout.*

Visit for more information about how the DNR spends fishing license dollars, and select a Fisheries area to find local information.


2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, (U.S. and Minnesota reports) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

** Sportfishing in America, January 2013, produced by Southwick and Associates.

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