The Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge begins right outside our back door at the National Eagle Center. Kids fish for FREE when they go Fishing on the Refuge! We’ve got everything they need – fishing poles, lifejackets, bait and a dock out front. Sign out the equipment and take your kids or grandkids fishing right here! Kids 15 and under can fish without a license.* They’ll learn about the native species that live in the Mississippi River and then experience the excitement of catching some! Fishing is free with paid admission to the National Eagle Center. Plan your visit to include an afternoon of Fishing on the Refuge!

Wednesdays & Thursday 10am-4pm
June 19th through August 29th!

*Children 15 and under who are residents of Minnesota do not need a license. Non-residents need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian with a valid MN fishing license.

Participation in Fishing on the Refuge is free with paid admission to the National Eagle Center, during valid program hours. Credit card required to check out equipment. Lost or damaged equipment may be subject to charges. Participants agree to adhere to all Minnesota fishing and water safety rules.

We’re Angling for Volunteers!

Fishing on the Refuge is a wonderful hands-on experiential learning opportunity for kids and we’re looking for volunteers to help out with a variety of tasks. We’re looking for people interested in helping with:

  • Check-in and check-out
  • Equipment selection
  • Monitoring dock activity
  • Bait hooks and land fish
  • Encouraging and guiding kids (many first-time fishers!)
  • Inspecting equipment
  • Educating about the river

Available shifts are Wednesday & Thursdays 10am-1pm and 1-4pm. Interested individuals should contact the National Eagle Center’s volunteer coordinator, Anna Christenson, by calling 651-565-4989 or emailing

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