Following are Minnesota fishing facts in anticipation of the Saturday, May 12, walleye and northern pike fishing opener.

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.