Grand Rapids Area Fisheries



Grand Rapids area fisheries

Office address

Map of Grand Rapids work area

1201 East Highway 2
Grand Rapids, MN 55744

Minnesota map showing Grand Rapids location

Anglers who fish in Itasca and western St. Louis counties benefit from the management, habitat and oversight work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Grand Rapids area fisheries staff.

Area Fisheries Supervisor David Weitzel and a staff of eight full-time and up to nine short-term seasonal hatchery employees manage 618 fishing lakes and hundreds of miles of rivers and streams. These waters include popular fishing destinations such as Lake WiLicense Dollars At Work campaign linknnibigoshish as well as Bowstring, Cut Foot Sioux and Pokegama lakes.

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

At work for you

The Grand Rapids fisheries crew takes walleye eggs at Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake during the spring spawn.

The Grand Rapids fisheries crew takes walleye eggs at Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake during the spring spawn.

  • Conducting fisheries assessments on approximately 35 area lakes and/or rivers per year to provide data for fish management planning and public information.
  • Manage Lake Winnibigoshish as part of the DNR's large lake monitoring program.
  • Operate the largest walleye spawn egg-taking effort in the state at Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake, collecting more than 180 million eggs each spring.
  • Operate the Grand Rapids State Fish Hatchery, which produces more than 20 million walleye fry each year.
  • Manage stream trout in eight lakes and four former mine pits, each of which contains one or more of the following: rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout and splake.
  • Coordinate with stakeholders, lake associations, local governments, the National Forest Service and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa on environmental issues and fisheries concerns.

Facts about the fishing license fee increase

Click a fact below to view or hide it

Why Grand Rapids area fisheries needs a license fee increase

Virtually all the work of the Grand Rapids 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

Call 218-328-8782 for general information not related to fisheries

Contact our Grand Rapids staff

Dave Weitzel Area supervisor 218-328-8836
Matt Ward Assistant area supervisor 218-328-8836
Sandy DeLeo Office administrative specialist 218-328-8836
Gerry Albert Large lake specialist 218-328-8836
Kris Koski Fisheries specialist 218-328-8836
Doyle Hass Fisheries specialist 218-328-8836
Steve Mero Fisheries specialist 218-328-8836
Mark Henry Fisheries specialist 218-328-8836
Warren Foster Fisheries technician 218-328-8836