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How does fishing impact Minnesota's economy?

How many fish are there in Minnesota lakes and rivers?
How many fish are there in Minnesota lakes and rivers? 02:56

ST. PAUL, Minn. — This weekend, about a half-million anglers are expected to cast a line for Minnesota's 2024 fishing opener.

But have you ever wondered: How many different kinds of fish swim in our lakes, and how do they impact our economy? Good Question.

At Como Lake, the fish are biting, and newlyweds Julius and Lawanda are reeling them in.

"We come often. I'm just getting her into it," Julius said.

They're not alone — a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows 1.7 million anglers went fishing in Minnesota in 2022. Of those, 69% were residents and 31% were from out of state.

"The nonresidents are really important to our economy," said Brad Parsons, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fishery Section Manager. "Pretty much anything you want to fish for you can find in the state of Minnesota."

In 2022, 21% of Black, 26% of Hispanic and 27% of White Minnesotans cast a line.

"Women are one of our fastest growing portions in the fishing industry, which is really exciting," said Parsons.

Thirty-eight percent of men and 14% of women went fishing last year.

"There's different ways of looking at it, but we estimate it's about $4.4 billion industry," Parsons said.

According to the American Sportfishing Association, fishing supports 28,000 Minnesota jobs.

"It's not just bait shops, it's not just resorts, it's people buying gas, it's people going to restaurants, getting coffee, et cetra. So that multiple is really important for the economy," Parsons said.

Parsons says there are about 160 different kinds of fish in the state. About 50 of them are considered catchable.

Of our more than 10,000 lakes, about 6,000 of them are considered fishing lakes.

"We have about 18,000 miles of rivers and streams people can fish and that's a really overlooked portion," Parsons said. "People think lakes when they think fishing, but some of our best fishing is in our river systems."

The DNR reminds anglers to wear life jackets and keep safety in mind this weekend as the water is still very cold.

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