Bait Shops and Anglers Prepare for Minnesota Fishing Opener

There is a shortage of minnows and leeches in the area

MINNESOTA — After months of cold weather, it’s time for anglers to hit the lakes for Minnesota’s Fishing Opener.

Even though the weather may be less than ideal tomorrow, anglers are still expecting the event to be a busy one. 500,000 people are expected to go.

Walleye, Minnesota’s state fish, is the most sought after.

“People just want to do long rod fishing, ice fishing’s all done, get your boats out and see how they run and opener’s good time to do that,” Gary Gould, owner of Fargo Bait & Tackle, said.

He says there is a shortage of minnows and leeches in the area, and while shops do have a good supply now, once the opener starts, that supply will go fast.

“We’re selling a lot of leeches by the pound,” he said. The long winter has killed off a lot of fish.

Brian Andrews is an angler who stopped by to get those supplies. He plans to head over to the opener early in the morning.

“With Minnesota, you can’t fish at certain times so you want to get out there and catch them walleyes and hopefully bring some dinner home anyway,” he said.

It’s also a bonding experience for families. Gould says he’s seeing more kids fishing now compared to 10 years ago.

“I think they’re putting the video games down and getting back outside. I think those parents went through the video games and said their kids aren’t going to be inside all the time,” he said.

As for all the moms out there, the DNR has Take a Mom Fishing Weekend, where mothers can fish without a license over the next two days.

Whether it’s rain or shine, anglers agree on one thing.

“It’s just relaxing. I can go out, sit in my boat for twelve hours a day and not even catch a fish, and I’m a whole different person after I’ve gone, just relaxed,” Andrews said.

“It’s quiet time. You don’t need a phone, turn it off, don’t need a radio, go down the river lot of times just to see what floats downstream, catch a few fish, relax,” Gould said.

MNDOT reminds drivers to plan ahead when traveling.

Heavier traffic is expected around Albert Lea in southern Minnesota where Governor Tim Walz is hosting his Fishing Opener.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News