A $5 million construction project now underway at Minnesota’s flagship state-owned trout hatchery in Lanesboro will ensure a regular supply of trout can be stocked each year in streams and lakes throughout the state.
"Our 15 state hatcheries and the fish they produce play an important and irreplaceable role in our fisheries management work," said Brad Parsons, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "Lanesboro is our primary concern because of the severity of failing structural support and the hatchery’s crucial role in producing and stocking rainbow and brown trout."
The Lanesboro hatchery opened in 1925 and sits on about 100 acres just south of town. The property includes two artesian springs, rearing ponds, raceways and multiple buildings. It maintains brown and rainbow trout broodstock and produces about 100,000 pounds of fingerlings each year for stocking throughout the state.
Funding received last year from the Legislature allowed work to begin April 1 replacing the Lanesboro hatchery office and nursery building.
Construction is expected to be substantially complete by Nov. 1, allowing egg hatching and fish production to continue on schedule for future trout stocking.
"Lanesboro illustrates how decades-old hatchery construction and improvements are failing and need immediate attention," Parsons said. "Limited budgets have required that fisheries work be focused on management aspects that directly benefit the state’s fisheries and its anglers – rather than hatchery repairs, improvements and infrastructure needs."
The DNR has identified $30 million in specific repairs and improvements that hatcheries need. Those improvements include:
- Remedying biosecurity issues that jeopardize fish health.
- Infrastructure and maintenance improvements.
- Energy efficiency upgrades.
- Equipment replacement and upgrades.
- Pond, raceway and road repairs and maintenance.
Each year, cold-water hatcheries in Altura, Lanesboro, Peterson and Remer provide 1.7 million trout for stocking into 200 lakes and 100 streams throughout Minnesota. Cool- and warm-water hatcheries in Walker Lake, Bemidji, Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Glenwood, Grand Rapids, New London, Park Rapids, St. Paul, Tower and Waterville provide walleye, northern pike, muskellunge and channel catfish for stocking in 1,100 lakes and some rivers.
"Habitat protection and enhancement are the backbone for natural reproduction of all our fisheries but fish produced by our state-owned hatcheries are a critical part of DNR’s efforts to maintain and enhance fishing opportunities in Minnesota’s lakes, streams and rivers," Parsons said. "Stocking these hatchery-raised fish in a scientifically sound manner significantly enhances fishing in Minnesota and provides angling opportunities that wouldn’t be there without stocking."
For more information about state fish hatcheries, visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/hatcheries.