Aitkin area fisheries

Office address

Map of Aitkin work area

1200 Minnesota Avenue South
Aitkin, MN 56431

Minnesota map showing Aitkin location

Anglers who fish in the Aitkin County area benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Aitkin area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor Rick Bruesewitz and a staff of three full-time employees manage more than 150 lakes, many of them popular fishing destinations such as Big Sandy, Farm Island, Cedar and Minnewawa, along with 110 miles of the MississippLicense Dollars At Work campaign linki River and hundreds of miles of other warm water rivers and streams.

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

At work for you

Aitkin Area Fisheries Specialist Alisha Hallam with a trophy muskellunge sampled while electro-fishing on the Mississippi River in Aitkin County.

Aitkin Area Fisheries Specialist Alisha Hallam with a trophy muskellunge sampled while electro-fishing on the Mississippi River in Aitkin County.

  • Developing or updating fisheries lake management plans as current information from the area survey and assessment program becomes available; these include stocking and regulation needs.
  • Stocking walleye, muskellunge, or stream trout into more than 30 area lakes, the Mississippi River, and one trout stream.
  • Harvesting up to 13,000 pounds of northern pike and up to 7,000 pounds of yellow perch adults per year for statewide stocking requirements.
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating special regulations to improve or sustain quality fisheries.
  • Coordinating aquatic education activities for adults and youth in the area to foster greater awareness of aquatic habitats, teach proper boat and water safety, and develop angling skills; this includes the Aitkin County Rivers and Lakes Fair.
  • Coordinating with lake associations and local government on watershed management, soil and water conservation and planning, environmental review, and fish management.

Facts about the fishing license fee increase

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Why Aitkin area fisheries needs a license fee increase

Virtually all the work of the Aitkin 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 Aitkin staff

Rick Bruesewitz Area supervisor 218-429-3010
Greg Berg Assistant area supervisor 218-429-3010
Alisha Hallam Fisheries specialist 218-429-3010
Kris Nissen Fisheries technician 218-429-3010
Tom Jones Regional treaty coordinator 218-429-3010
Lisa Sanderson Office adminstrative specialist 218-429-3010