Anglers who fish in Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood, Watonwan, Rock, Nobles, Jackson, Martin, southern Lincoln and southern Lyon counties benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Windom area fisheries staff.
Area Fisheries Supervisor Ryan Doorenbos and a staff of four full-time employees manage 80 fishing lakes and 2,000 miles of rivers and streams. These waters include popular fishing destinations such as Lake Benton, Lake Sarah, Lake Shaokotan and Lake Shetek as well as several other smaller prairie pothole lakes with remarkable productivity for walleye, yellow perch, northern pike, panfish and numerous other fish species as well as the relatively new muskellunge fisheries of Fox Lake and the Fairmont Chain of Lakes.
A Windom area fisheries crew sets a trap net.
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Virtually all the work of the Windom 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 – will not add staff or build programs. Rather, it will simply sustain existing programs and area office budgets, many of which already are reduced.
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.
Turn east onto 6th Street at the Hwy 60/71 and Hwy 62 intersection (McDonalds on corner). Go up the hill and follow the curve to the right (County Road 26). The DNR office will be on the east side of the road. Map
The Windom Fisheries Management Area includes a ten county area of southwestern Minnesota. Clientele in the Windom Area include sporting clubs, lake associations, and thousands of anglers that fish in the management area annually. The Windom Area Fisheries Office maintains influence over area fisheries resources that included 80 lakes totaling 35,304 acres, numerous warmwater stream/river miles and 2 coldwater streams managed for trout. The Windom Area Fisheries also has physical land properties that include numerous aquatic management areas (AMA), 3 state owned northern pike rearing ponds, 8-15 natural walleye rearing ponds, numerous rough fish barriers, and 1 state owned drainable walleye rearing pond.
The Windom Area Fisheries Office staff conduct walleye and northern pike fingerling production operations and coldwater stocking operations so that numerous individual lake and stream stocking objectives are met annually according to specific management objectives as determined by the Minnesota DNR.
Windom Fisheries staff conduct lake and stream survey and fish population assessments on area lakes according to management objectives. Specific lake and stream survey assessments include analysis of watershed summarization, fish collection, vegetation collection identification and enumeration, substrate identification, water sample collection, and laboratory analysis. The results of these surveys and assessments are incorporated into state survey reports and fisheries management plans/recommendations.
Please click on the links below to access additional or detailed information.
|Ryan Doorenbos||Area supervisor||507-831-2900, Ext. firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Nate Hodgins||Assistant area supervisor||507-831-2900, Ext. email@example.com|
|Jonah Dagel||Fisheries specialist||507-831-2900, Ext. firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Chuck Obler||Fisheries technician||507-831-2900, Ext. email@example.com|
|Luke Rossow||Fisheries technician||507-831-2900, Ext. firstname.lastname@example.org|