Ice or no ice anglers will be out in full force for the Minnesota fishing opener on Saturday, May 11. The season will open for Walleye, Northern Pike, and Sauger. Heading up to Northwestern Minnesota or Northeastern Minnesota is common for anglers during the fishing opener but this year caution is urged. It is advised to check with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) about ice out conditions and the availability of public water accesses on the lake you are heading to.
Even if the ice is off a lake it may still be closed to allow for the spawning period and to help protect the fish. Information on seasonal closures is housed on the DNR website. Questions have arose as to why the Minnesota fishing opener takes place before the Memorial holiday weekend. The DNR has three reasons the first is that most walleye have spawned by this time, it ensures the opener is on a weekend allowing it to be enjoyed by the most amount of people and finally to allow anglers and businesses two full weekends before the holiday.
Another caution during the Minnesota fishing opener will be water temperature. It will be lower this year than in the past and not only can it effect the bite but can be dangerous to anglers. Anglers should exercise extra caution by wearing their life vest as hypothermia can set in very quickly in cold water temperatures. The shock of falling in the water can cause cardiac arrest even in people with a good bill of health.
For information about this year’s Walleye and Northern Pike opener, visit www.mndnr.gov/opener/fishing.