Minnesota fishing facts

The DNR compiled these Minnesota fishing facts in preparation for the 2015 fishing opener, which is Saturday, May 9.

Anglers and waters

  • There are about 1.5 million licensed anglers in Minnesota.
  • About 500,000 people are expected to fish on opening day of the walleye and northern pike season, Saturday, May 9.
  • Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 5,400 of which are managed by DNR Fisheries. There are 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, including 3,800 miles of trout streams.
  • Average annual expenditure per angler 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 fourth in the nation for angler expenditures.*
  • Fishing supports 35,400 Minnesota jobs.*
  • Minnesota ranks second in resident fishing participation at 32 percent, second only to Alaska.*
  • Minnesota is the third most-popular inland fishing destination in the country.*
  • Minnesota ranks sixth among states with the highest number of anglers. The top three states are Florida, Texas and Michigan.*

Who goes fishing

  • Most resident anglers – 855,000 of them in fact – are from urban areas. The remaining 474,000 resident anglers live in greater Minnesota.*
  • Men account for 66 percent of resident anglers. Women account for 34 percent.*

Fishing habits

  • Significantly more time is spent fishing on lakes than in rivers and streams.*
  • The average Minnesota angler spends 15 days fishing each year, with 84 percent of resident anglers never fishing anywhere else but in Minnesota.*
  • The most sought-after fish species, in order of preference, are crappie, panfish, walleye and northern pike.*

*2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.