In January, Gov. Walz announced his 2023 state budget included $110 million to upgrade and modernize state public water accesses and fish hatcheries. While the announcement was welcome news, it was only the start of the funding process. MN-FISH is now working closely with the Minnesota legislature to pass legislation to secure the funding.

MN-FISH is working on three funding recommendations as part of the Governor’s Get Out MORE initiative:

Fish Hatcheries1. FISH HATCHERIES
The Governor has recommended $60 million ($25 million in bonding and $35 million General Fund) to upgrade the fish hatchery system. The state’s hatchery system supports stocking walleye in 900 lakes throughout the state. These lakes today would offer little or no walleye fishing without stocking by the DNR.
The most urgent fish hatchery in need of updates and repair is in Waterville, and then Crystal Springs and Spire Valley.

Minnesota is ranked #1 is the U.S. for the number of registered water crafts per capita so it is vital that the state improves crumbling public water accesses (PWAs) across the state.

The DNR maintains 1,691 state public water access sites. The typical lifecycle is around 15-25 years, according to the DNR. Over the past decade, the DNR has invested an average of just $2.8 million each year for deferred maintenance and critical repairs.

This is not enough and as a result we are supporting the Governor’s budget recommendation of $50 million to address deferred maintenance and reconfigure and modernize older PWAs.

It’s important that all Minnesotans have access to our lakes.
The DNR currently manages 360 shore fishing sites and fishing piers across the state. More are needed as many Minnesotans rely on them to access Minnesota’s public waters.


MN-FISH executive director Mark Holsten is a former legislator and DNR commissioner, so he has been through legislative battles before. But this legislative session is unlike anything he has experienced.

“Things are challenging at the capitol right now,” he said. “A record number of legislators have just started their first term and learning the ropes…education is important and we are providing that. The historic state budget surplus and the number of high-profile bills have added to already heavy workloads. That’s why MN-FISH has hired professional lobbyists to help us maneuver through the process. We need their help…and yours. Keeping Minnesota Fishing Strong costs money. Please help by donating to MN-FISH.

“Contacting your legislators is often the difference between getting key legislation passed or going home skunked.”


Here are the bills and authors that deserve your support:

  1. $60 million – Fish Hatchery Reconstruction/Betterment
    • Senate: Chief Author: SF1422 Sen. Jordan Rasmusson – Fergus Falls
      • Co-Author: Sen. Grant Hauschild – Hermantown
    • House: Chief Author: HF1344 Rep. Jeff Brand – St. Peter
      • Co-Authors: Her, Heintzeman, Gillman, Hansen, Lee, Becker-Finn, Lislegard, Vang, Skraba, Lillie, and Schultz
  2. $50 Million – Public Water Accesses
    • Senate: Chief Author: SF1421 Sen. Grant Hauschild – Hermantown.
      • Co-Author: Sen Rasmusson – Fergus Falls
    • House: Chief Author: Rep. Liz Reyer – Eagan
      • Co-Author: Heintzeman, Gillman

Stop by and see us at the MPLS – NW SPORT SHOW March 9th – 12th


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Anglers For Better Fishing. MN-FISH

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