Minnesota fish facts

Anglers and lakes

  • 1.4 million licensed anglers.
  • 2 million people fish.
  • Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 5,400 of which are managed by DNR fisheries.

Participation and the economy

  • Fishing contributes $4.7 billion to the state’s economy
  • Minnesota ranks fourth among states with the highest number of anglers. The top three states are Florida, Texas and California. Wisconsin is fifth. 1
  • As a percentage of population among those states, Minnesota boasts the largest number of resident anglers at 28 percent and is tied nationally with Alaska for the largest participation of resident anglers.
  • Anglers spend $2.8 billion on fishing each year in Minnesota. 2
  • Dollars directly spent on fishing in Minnesota create an additional $1.9 billion in economic activity, boosting angling’s total statewide economic impact to $4.7 billion. 2
  • Equipment (rods, reels, line, boats, trailers, etc.) accounted for $1.2 billion of the $2.8 billion spent. Trip-related expenses accounted for $860 million. Other expenses such as bait and equipment rental accounted for $646 million. 1
  • Salaries, wages and business earnings directly related to fishing total $1.3 billion. 2
  • Fishing creates Minnesota 43,812 jobs. 2
  • Minnesota angling generates $350 million in federal tax revenues and $342 million in state and local tax revenues. 2

Who goes fishing?

  • Most resident anglers – 755,000 of them in fact – are from the seven-county metropolitan area. The remaining 388,000 resident anglers live outside the Twin Cities. 1
  • Men account for 69 percent of resident anglers. Woman account for 31 percent. 1
  • The highest percentage of participation comes in the 35-44 year old age group. Most of the remaining participants come from the 45-64 year old age group, with those 16-24 years old accounting for only 12 percent of the people who fish. 1
  • An estimated 40 percent of Minnesota anglers have household incomes of $50,000-$100,000. Households that make less than $50,000 annually account for 27 percent of Minnesota anglers. 1
  • An estimated 388,000 children ages 6-15 go fishing each year, with Twin Cities-area kids accounting for 76 percent of the total. Although close, more girls (52 percent) went fishing than boys (48 percent). Participation among age groups (6-8 years, 9-11 years and 12-15 years) remained fairly constant. 1

Fishing habits

  • Significantly more time is spent fishing on lakes rather than rivers and streams. 1
  • The average Minnesota angler spends 20 days fishing each year, with 86 percent of resident anglers never fishing anywhere else but Minnesota. 1
  • Only 3 percent of Minnesota anglers try their luck on Lake Superior. 1
  • Most sought-after fish species (in order): walleye, bluegill, northern pike, crappie, bass. 1
  • Most resident anglers spend nearly half their time fishing for walleye and bluegill. 1

1 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
2 Sportfishing in America, American Sportfishing Association

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