Fergus Falls area fisheries

Office address

Map of Fergus Falls work area

1509 1st Avenue North
Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Minnesota map showing Fergus Falls location

Anglers who fish in the Otter Tail and Wilkin county area benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Fergus Falls area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor Jim Wolters and a staff of five full-time and six part-time employees manage 250 fishing lakes and 150 miles of major rivers and smaller streams. These waters include popular fishing destinations such as Otter Tail, Big Pine aLicense Dollars At Work campaign linknd North Lida lakes. Area staff also manage portions of the Otter Tail, Pelican and Red rivers.

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

At work for you

Collecting muskellunge at night from a local lake to estimate the adult population.

Collecting muskellunge at night from a local lake to estimate the adult population.

  • Annually operate a walleye spawn-take operation that collects roughly 60 million eggs; a seasonal hatchery to produce approximately 40 million walleye fry; and 20 rearing ponds producing approximately 10,000 pounds of walleye fingerlings for stocking regional lakes.
  • Conducting approximately 25 lake surveys and several special assessments annually to evaluate population status and response to management activities and/or special regulations.
  • Cooperating with lake associations, sports clubs and other resource users using outreach in preparing approximately 16-20 lake/stream management plans per year.
  • Coordinating Red River Fisheries management activities with the states of South Dakota, North Dakota and the Province of Manitoba.

Facts about the fishing license fee increase

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Why Fergus Falls area fisheries needs a license fee increase

Virtually all the work of the Fergus Falls 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.

Contact our Fergus Falls staff

Jim Wolters Area supervisor 218-739-7576
Howard Fullhart Assistant area supervisor 218-739-7576
Steve Kubeny Fisheries specialist 218-739-7576
Jody Derks Fisheries specialist 218-739-7576
Mike Nelson Fisheries techniian 218-739-7576
Ron Erickson Fisheries technicia 218-739-7576
Kate Baldwin Office administrative specialist 218-739-7576