Minnesota fishing facts

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 13.
  • Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 5,500 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. 1
  • 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. 1
  • Fishing supports nearly 35,500 Minnesota jobs. 2
  • Minnesota ranks second in resident fishing participation at 32 percent, second only to Alaska. 1

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.1
  • 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. 1
  • The average Minnesota angler spends 15 days fishing each year. 1
  • Walleye are the most sought-after fish in Minnesota, followed by northern pike and muskie combined, then panfish, bass, crappie and trout.1

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

1 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, (U.S. and Minnesota reports) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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