Anglers hit the lakes for Minnesota fishing opener

Ice fishing just isn’t the same as fishing on the open water. A little bit of rain and the cool weather couldn’t keep anglers off of the lakes for the fishing opener. 

If the day’s early returns are any indication, fishermen heading out later in the afternoon and early evening won’t have any trouble getting fish to bite. 

Governor Mark Dayton spent his last fishing opener at Green Lake in Spicer. He caught three bass. House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka each caught two. 

"We had a great time...I caught three bass, which made my whole day, made my last fishing opener special," Dayton said in a statement. 

Closer to the Twin Cities, Nathan Middleton was just happy to be out on the lake and reeling in a few fresh fish. 

Middleton said he caught “a couple paintfish, couple crappie, two sunnys." 

But for many anglers, the fishing opener wasn’t just about the kind of fish they caught, it was about the fun memories they made with family and friends. 

With the late thaw this year, larger lakes such as Mille Lacs may still have some ice, but they are expected to be clear for the most part, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 

The DNR is reminding anglers that the water will be cold. Anglers are not required to wear life jackets, but they must have one on board the boat. With 30 percent of boating fatalities taking place in cold water, the DNR encourages anglers to wear them while they are out on the water. 

Next year’s Minnesota Governor’s fishing opener will be held May 9-12 on Fountain Lake in Albert Lea. The lake features several bays and is home to 20 species of fish, including largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappie, catfish and yellow perch.