Grand Marais area fisheries

Office address

Map of Grand Marais work area

1356 Highway 61 East
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Minnesota map showing Grand Marais location

Anglers who fish in Cook County benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Grand Marais area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor Steve Persons and a staff of three full-time and one part-time employee manage 727 fishing lakes and 1,200 miles of rivers and streams. These waters include popular fishing destinations such as Saganaga Lake, North Shore steelhead streams anLicense Dollars At Work campaign linkd the east end of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

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

At work for you

A Grand Marais crew pepares to portage lake trout eggs out of Mountain Lake. The eggs supply trout stocking programs throughout Minnesota.

A Grand Marais crew pepares to portage lake trout eggs out of Mountain Lake. The eggs supply trout stocking programs throughout Minnesota.

  • Supporting coldwater fishing by managing 63 lakes for lake trout, 65 lakes for stream trout, 44 streams for wild brook trout and 24 streams for wild steelhead and salmon.
  • Supporting warmwater fishing by managing 100 lakes for walleye, 176 lakes for northern pike, 18 lakes for smallmouth bass, 23 lakes for panfish or perch and six streams for warmwater species. Many lakes are managed for two or more species.
  • Producing 40,000 lake trout eggs to maintain the state's native inland lake trout stocking program. Using native lake trout improves our stocking success, producing more fish for anglers.
  • Stocking walleye in 16 lakes, panfish in three lakes and lake trout in five lakes. We stock 125,000 stream trout in lakes annually. Stocking supports fishing in lakes that have little or no natural reproduction.
  • Monitoring fish populations and evaluating management actions by completing 25-40 lake surveys and 10-15 stream surveys annually.

Facts about the fishing license fee increase

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Why Grand Marais area fisheries needs a license fee increase

Virtually all the work of the Grand Marais 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 Grand Marais staff

Steve Persons Area supervisor 218-387-6021
Matt Weberg Assistant area supervisor 218-387-6021
Jon Gustafson Fisheries specialist 218-387-6021
Brian Homola Fisheries technician 218-387-6021
Steve Jungclaus Fisheries technician 218-387-6021