Tower area fisheries

Office address

Map of Tower work area

650 Highway 169
Tower, MN 55790-8304

Minnesota map showing Tower location

Anglers who fish in northern St Louis and northern Lake counties benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Tower area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor Edie Evarts and a staff of six full-time and additional part-time hatchery employees manage more than 900 fishing lakes and 2,200 miles of rivers and streams. These waters include many popular fishing lakes in the western region of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area WilLicense Dollars At Work campaign linkderness and Lake Vermilion – a premier walleye and muskellunge destination.

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

At work for you

A Tower area fisheries specialist records data in the field for better fish management.

A Tower area fisheries specialist records data in the field for better fish management.

  • Managing Lake Vermilion, a 40,000-acre fishery.
  • Managing and stocking 25 stream trout lakes with one or more of the following species ? brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and splake.
  • Managing and protecting 33 deep, clear water lakes with lake trout populations, many in remote Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness locations.
  • Collecting more than 100 million walleye eggs per year at the Pike River hatchery and spawn take.
  • Stocking walleye in 50 lakes with inadequate natural reproduction to support fisheries.
  • Rearing more than 2,500 Leech Lake strain muskellunge for stocking.

Facts about the fishing license fee increase

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Why Tower area fisheries needs a license fee increase

Virtually all the work of the Tower 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 Tower staff

Edie Evarts Tower area fisheries supervisor 218-300-7803