Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery
Area Hatchery Office contacts:
Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery is Minnesota’s largest coldwater production hatchery.
In 1925, the state purchased the 18.7 acre Duschee Creek spring site which at the time was an old flour mill that captured the power of the large spring to turn its massive grinding wheel, turning grain into flour. The cost of this initial purchase was $11,000. The flour mill was converted into the original trout hatchery. The first trout were hatched in 1926. However, the old spring impoundment gave way cutting off the water supply to the fish. A new spring collection system and impoundment had to be built. It was completed in 1927 along with a new addition to the old mill building, increasing the size of the hatchery. Brook Trout (300,000) were produced in 1927, thus becoming the first successful year of production.
From 1925 to 1956, 84.1 acres were purchased in seven separate transactions. In 1956, a second spring located about 1/2 mile upstream of the current site was added, the result of a 3.1 acre land purchase. In 1985, an additional 28 acres were purchased.
Pond and raceway construction began in 1927 and continued through WPA projects until 1940. A residence was built in 1931. In 1952, the old hatchery building burned, and was replaced in 1954 with the present hatchery and headquarters building. The five brood stock raceways were added in 1976-77 and a roof extension added in 2003. In 1987, the 12 large raceways built in 1951 were covered by a large pole type building.
Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery Water Source
Two artesian springs provide an average of 5,000 gallons of water per minute to the hatchery. The water is a constant 48F year round. The springs are a result of the karst topography in the area. The karst topography is a part of the driftless area of southeast Minnesota. This is characterized by caves, sinkholes, springs, underground streams and cold streams. The glaciers that covered and flattened most of Minnesota 10,000 years ago didn't reach this part of the state. However, the melting water from the glaciers did. The melt water scoured 300 feet deep valleys that exposed bedrock. Cracks in the bedrock began to release water that was stored in the ground (called aquifers). The result is artesian springs.
The hatchery has incubation capacity of 2.4 million trout eggs. The nursery has 56 fiberglass fry troughs for starting fish and 56 fiberglass super troughs for fingerlings. Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery utilizes two outdoor rearing ponds with a combined volume of 223,000 cubic feet and 34 concrete raceways of various sizes with a total volume of 34,700 cubic feet for fingerling, yearling and brood stock production. About 100,000 pounds of Rainbow and Brown Trout are produced each year for stocking.
The Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery is open to the public from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM weekdays and closed weekends and holidays. For our walk-in visitors a self guided tour brochure is available which guides them around the ground. A 17-minute video is available for viewing, demonstrating all phases of trout culture at the hatchery including spawning and hatching.
Guided tours to the hatchery are available for larger groups (schools, scouts, clubs etc.) if prior arrangements are made ahead of time. We are unable to give tours to casual visitor due to staffing limitation. Tours may be scheduled by contacting the hatchery office.
Hatchery Interpretive Trail & Handicap Accessible Trail
The trail is located outside of the hatchery grounds with a parking lot for fisherman and trail users. This trail was developed to provide easy access to fishing and interpret the instream habitat structures placed in Duschee Creek. The trail is approximately 1/3 mile long one way with interpretive signs along the trail and examples of habitat structures. The trail is open year round.
The handicap accessible trail is part of the interpretive trail. It has seven different accessible fish spots along the trail.