Brainerd area fisheries

Office address

Map of Brainerd work area

1601 Minnesota Drive
Brainerd, MN 56401

Minnesota map showing Brainerd location

Anglers who fish in Crow Wing and Lower Cass county areas benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Brainerd area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor Marc Bacigalupi and a staff of five full-time employees manage 317 fishing lakes and 100 miles of rivers and streams. Popular fishing destinations managed include the Gull and Whitefish chain of lakes, Pelican Lake and North Long Lake. Brainerd area staff also stock trout in the former mine pits at the Cuyuna CountrLicense Dollars At Work campaign linky State Recreation Area and assist with ongoing fisheries research on Mille Lacs Lake.

  • Area highlights
  • Fishing license increase
  • Notices & links
  • Area staff

At work for you

Brainerd Area Fisheries staff sampling northern pike in Gull Lake at ice-out.

Brainerd Area Fisheries staff sampling northern pike in Gull Lake at ice-out.

  • Striving to maintain the Brainerd Lakes area's prominence as a premier fishing destination by managing lakes like Gull, Whitefish Chain, Pelican and North Long.
  • A critical walleye production station that collects 90 million walleye eggs annually from the Pine River walleye trap, and hatching 45 million walleye fry annually at the Brainerd Hatchery for area and statewide stocking.
  • Stocking 50 million walleye fry and 400,000 walleye fingerings biennially, in 54 lakes covering 93,000 acres.
  • Providing a popular trout fishery in the former mine pits of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
  • Maintaining 48 Aquatic Management Areas to protect, restore or improve watershed health and their lakes, rivers and streams while providing public recreational access.
  • Partnering with local organizations to provide area youth fishing programs and outdoor education.

Facts about the fishing license fee increase

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Why Brainerd area fisheries needs a license fee increase

Virtually all the work of the Brainerd area fisheries staff is funded by money raised through fishing license sales. But reductions in buying power due to increasing costs for products, services and equipment have put this work and the recreational opportunities it creates at risk.

In response, the DNR is seeking a fishing license fee increase in the 2017 legislative session. The increase would raise the price of a resident annual fishing license from $22 to $25. Other fishing license types also would increase. The proposed increases should sustain existing fisheries operations until 2021.

The increase for an individual license – roughly the price of a scoop of minnows – may fill some existing vacancies but will not create any new positions. It will simply sustain existing programs and area office budgets, many of which already are reduced.

What happens with a fee increaseWhat happens without a fee increase

State lottery & legacy amendment dollars are off limits

Clean Water Land & Legacy Fund logo Enviornment and Natural Resources Trust Fund logo

State law prohibits tax dollars, including funds generated by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment and Minnesota State Lottery, from funding area fisheries offices and the core work they do. Fisheries management that creates world-class fishing here in Minnesota is a user-funded, user-benefit system.

General hunting and fishing license fees were last increased in 2012 at an amount designed to keep game and fish operations solvent for about six years. Prior to that, it had been 10 years since the last general fee increase. Periodic fee increases – one about every five years since 1970 – are how Minnesota funds routine fisheries management. Many fishing organizations traditionally have supported periodic fee increases because high-quality fishing is recreation worth paying for.

In November 2016, the Game and Fish Fund Budget Oversight Committee – a citizen group that monitors the DNR's fisheries, wildlife and enforcement revenues and expenditures – recommended that the Legislature increase fishing and hunting license fees during the 2017 legislative session.

The DNR's fisheries section has a long tradition of belt-tightening. Statewide, staff size is down about 13 percent from roughly a decade ago. Moreover, the section is holding an additional 24 vacancies, most of which will not be filled even with fee increase. This means it is common for field offices to have fewer employees and leaner budgets than they once did.

Notices, web links & area information

  • Walleye Production Videos - (click on image to view)
Egg Take
Egg Take
The Hatchery
The Hatchery
Pond Harvest
Pond Harvest
Assessing the Population
Assessing the Population

Contact our Brainerd staff

Marc Bacigalupi Area supervisor 218-203-4301
Michael Knapp Assistant area supervisor 218-203-4301
Owen Baird Fisheries specialist 218-203-4301
David Lockwood Fisheries specialist 218-203-4301
Carl Mills Fisheries specialist 218-203-4301
Andy Wiebusch Fisheries specialist 218-203-4301
Sue Loss Office administrative specialist 218-203-4301