Hatchery Fact Sheet - Lanesboro

  • Year-round, cold water facility
  • Species produced: Rainbow Trout & Brown Trout
  • Year Established: 1925


The Lanesboro Hatchery was established in 1925.

Why was it established? To help maintain fishing recreation in Southeastern Minnesota streams where native brook trout populations had been decimated due to poor land use practices that greatly increased siltation which in turn ruined brook trout spawning beds and caused increases in water temperatures. Brown trout and rainbow trout were used in place of brook trout because it was thought they could withstand the warmer, more turbid water conditions.

What is the general technology used for the hatchery? The Lanesboro State Fish Hatchery operates from two springs which flow freely to all the rearing units on the grounds. No wells or pumping are required to produce fish at Lanesboro hatchery. For the most part, all water is used once and sometimes twice before it is discharged to Duschee creek. Recirculation of water is not used at this facility.

Has the technology been modified since establishment? Yes, the technology has changed a lot over the years since 1925. Techniques in spawning and egg incubation have become much more efficient. Fish feed has improved dramatically, bettering feed/fish flesh conversions and decreasing pollution to Duschee creek. Methods of fish harvest, loading and distribution have been greatly improved upon and have increased our efficiencies. Fish culture techniques have changed to impart less stress on the fish being raised. Fish disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment methods have evolved over the years to where disease is the exception rather than the rule.

Fish Management

In general, fish management tools fall into one of four categories:

  • protecting and restoring habitats and water quality;
  • regulating the harvest;
  • stocking; and
  • public education.

Lake surveys and research provide the information used to select appropriate management tools.


Brook, brown, and rainbow trout are usually considered stream fish, but they can grow bigger in lakes. Trout require lakes that are cold, well-oxygenated, and free of pollutants. Approximately 180 Minnesota lakes are currently being managed for stream trout. Stream trout are not capable of reproducing in lakes and must be stocked regularly to maintain a fishery.

Most designated stream trout lakes are small bodies of water managed only for trout. A few larger lakes, however, are managed for warm water species (walleye, bass, panfish) in the shallow water, and for stream trout in the deeper water. These are referred to as two-story lakes.


About 600 Minnesota streams (nearly 2,000 miles) are designated trout water. Most of the trout streams lie along the north shore of Lake Superior or in the Southeast. Stream characteristics differ considerably from northern to southern Minnesota affecting the type of fish management practiced.

North Shore streams are only fair trout habitats. They depend on runoff, so their flows and temperatures are unstable. The bedrock over which they flow has few minerals. Consequently, these soft-water streams tend to be slightly acidic and not very productive. Despite their shortcomings, most of these streams support wild brook trout and steelhead populations. In streams that provide marginal trout habitats, brown trout are stocked. Some larger streams are stocked with rainbow trout and chinook salmon.

Southeastern streams are mostly spring fed with cool temperatures and steady flow. Limestone in the drainage makes these hard-water streams alkaline and very productive. Frequent insect hatches provide ample food for trout. Brown trout are best suited to this area but brook trout are also present. In streams with limited natural reproduction and spawning habitat, the trout fishery is maintained by stocking. Some tributaries do, however, support self-sustaining populations of trout.


Rainbow and brown trout eggs are gathered from captive brood stocks during spawning in October, November and December. Eggs are hatched then reared to either a fingerling stage (spring or fall of their first year) or yearlings (spring of their second year) before being stocked.

Lanesboro Hatchery annually produces about 120,000 pounds of fish:

  • 450,000 Brown Trout fingerlings;
  • 24,000 Brown Trout yearlings;
  • 85,000 Rainbow fingerlings;
  • 200,000 Rainbow yearlings

Science Informing Management

What types of research help with management decisions for this hatchery? Strain evaluations, growth and survival evaluations, disease resistance, feed trials, water quality monitoring.

What other factors are involved with management decisions involving this hatchery? Budget issues often affect management decisions of this hatchery. Politics often comes into play. Program changes from the field will change how we might operate.

What types of research or other science activities occur along with the activities in this hatchery? We do little research at this facility. No staff time or budget for that. However, in conjunction with our work we will do some research on different feed formulas, try different incubation and hatching methods, experiment with various feeding techniques and try to improve on fish distribution. Also, we will collect data on our spring’s water quality and watch how it may or may not change with certain events such as heavy rain, farmers in the fields, well drilling etc.

How does the data collected and/or research conducted at this hatchery inform/affect fisheries managers and fisheries habitats? We may change strains of fish raised at this facility which may change the size of the fish at stocking which may alter managers’ plans.


Visitors are welcome to the Lanesboro hatchery for a self-guided tour each weekday from 7am - 3:30pm.  Guided tours are also available by appointment.

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