It’s that weekend of the year again – fishing opener in Minnesota. The season officially opens at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. This year it was almost delayed because of the long winter and late ice out on the lakes but it is going on as scheduled! Fishing license purchases are down by about a third so far this year. Normally by opening weekend 250,000-300,000 licenses have been sold but this year not quite 200,000 have been sold. This year there is a new option for a 72 hour license for $12. In a normal year about 1.4 million people purchase a fishing license in Minnesota. We are also the leading state in fishing participation with 28% of people over age 16 holding a fishing license.
Some of the lakes up north still have ice on them so the DNR is urging people on those lakes to use caution and good judgment, the water temperatures are also quite cold which presents a hazard to anyone falling into the water. If you are in a boating incident in waters below 60 degrees it is five times more likely to result in fatalities.
Why exactly is fishing opener weekend this weekend in May?
- It is always the Saturday 2 weeks before Memorial Day weekend
- It allows most walleyes to spawn before being caught by anglers
- It ensures that the opener is on a weekend, when most anglers can fish
- This date ensures two full weekends for anglers and businesses before the Memorial Day weekend.
Another notable change this fishing season is the extensive crackdown on invasive species. From zebra mussels and carp to milfoil and curly leaf, the state is cracking down on boaters who don’t follow proper invasive species protocols and fishermen can expect to be checked and cited this weekend for aquatic invasive species violations. They have also trained dogs to sniff out the invasive species on boats coming out of the water. The dogs are much faster and much more likely to find the invasive species on boats coming out of the water.
If you are wondering where to purchase your fishing license, they can be purchased at most gas stations, bait shops and sporting goods stores.