Detroit Lakes area fisheries

Office address

Map of Detroit Lakes work area

14583 County Highway 19
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501

Minnesota map showing Detroit Lakes location

Anglers who fish in Becker, Clay, Mahnomen, Norman, Polk and Red Lake county areas benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Detroit Lakes area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor Nathan Olson and a staff of six full-time and three part-time employees manage 151 fishing lakes and more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams. Those waters include popular fishing destinations such as nearby Detroit Lake, the Cormorant lLicense Dollars At Work campaign linkakes area, White Earth and portions of the Red River.

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

At work for you

Detroit Lakes area staff stocking Lake Sturgeon fingerlings in Clay County's Buffalo River.

Detroit Lakes area staff stocking Lake Sturgeon fingerlings in Clay County's Buffalo River.

  • The production and stocking of 200,000 Lake Sturgeon fry from the Detroit Lakes Fish Hatchery has been suspended, which is an integral part of the restoration of Lake Sturgeon in the Red River Basin.
  • Fewer fish stocked because staff and resources will not be sufficient to complete operations such as re-stocking lakes that have winter killed, harvest of Walleye from rearing ponds, and stocking kids fishing ponds.
  • Anglers will have less information about the lake and stream resources they use, because fewer biological surveys and assessments will be completed.
  • Minnow harvest will not be completed as often as needed. This will reduce the number of fingerling Muskellunge produced from the Detroit Lakes rearing pond due to the lack of food.
  • Fewer seasonal staff to assist in the operation of the Detroit Lakes Fish Hatchery, which may reduce the amount of Walleye produced from the facility.

Facts about the fishing license fee increase

Click a fact below to view or hide it

Why Detroit Lakes area fisheries needs a license fee increase

Virtually all the work of the Detroit Lakes 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

Contact our Detroit Lakes staff

Nathan Olson Area supervisor 218-846-8280
Mandy Erickson Assistant area supervisor 218-846-8280
Mike Habrat Fisheries specialist 218-846-8280
Tyler Fellows Fisheries specialist 218-846-8280
Joel Jokela Fisheries techniian 218-846-8280
Krysta Lipton Office administrative specialist 218-846-8280