Out of the 1.4 million licensed anglers in Minnesota, about half a million will take part in the tradition of fishing opener, which this year falls on Saturday, May 11.
To assist with coverage of this weekend’s fishing opener, here are materials about fishing in Minnesota.
Fishing opener marks the day fishing can begin for walleye, northern pike and trout in lakes. Fishing remains open all year for many species including popular and fast-biting fish like sunfish and crappies.
Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 4,500 of which are considered fishing lakes; the DNR LakeFinder provides detailed information about these lakes. There are over 16,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams in Minnesota, including 3,800 miles of trout streams. Although not every kind of fish lives everywhere, 162 species of fish can be found in Minnesota waters.
Fishing contributes $2.4 billion to the state’s economy in direct retail sales, ranking Minnesota third in the nation for angler expenditures, according to this 2011 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service national survey. Fishing supports nearly 35,500 Minnesota jobs, according to Sportfishing in America, January 2013, produced by Southwick and Associates.
Fish hatchery tour
Media headed to the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener in Albert Lea can attend an open house at the Waterville fish hatchery. The event is from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the hatchery, which is located at 50317 Fish Hatchery Road in Waterville. Staff will give tours of the facility and show incubating fish eggs and young fish at various growth stages. There will also be displays that feature sampling gear, nets, work boats and a live fish display.
Regional fishing reports available
Anglers looking for local information before fishing opener can find regional fishing reports for the entire state.
New and somewhat-new regulations
A summary of regulations that changed this year on specific lakes, including large lakes like Leech, Kabetogama and Lake of the Woods, is available in this news release.
Last year, new northern pike fishing regulations went into effect for anglers catching and keeping pike on inland waters. The pike regulations have three zones to address the different characteristics of pike populations in Minnesota. Maps, regulations and more information can be found at mndnr.gov/pike.
How to buy a fishing license
Anglers can buy fishing licenses at any DNR license agent, online with a mobile or desktop device at mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license.
In most cases, Minnesotans don’t need a license when fishing in a state park. For more information visit mndnr.gov/state_parks/fishing.html.
Take a mom fishing
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12, and fishing opener weekend doubles as Take a Mom Fishing Weekend. Mothers who are residents of Minnesota can fish without a license from Saturday, May 11, to Sunday, May 12. Fishing is allowed only for species that have open fishing seasons.
Wear a life jacket
Cold water kills. Anglers are reminded to not just bring it – wear a life jacket. It’s the one action most likely to help in surviving a fall into cold water. Thirty percent of boating fatalities take place in cold water defined as generally below 70 degrees. In spring, this is typically from ice-out until early summer. The cold water shock “gasp reflex” can incapacitate even the strongest swimmer if they aren’t wearing a life jacket.
Video and sound bites available
We have fishing b-roll and sound bites from DNR Fisheries Chief Brad Parsons and Conservation Officer Brittany Hauser available for on-air use.
Sound bites from Parsons are on the following topics:
- Excitement about the opener
- Fishing opener outlook
- Northeastern Minnesota fishing outlook
- Northwestern Minnesota fishing outlook
- Metro fishing opportunities
- Southern Minnesota fishing outlook
- Economics of fishing
- Fishing opportunities around the state
- Fishing with kids
- Role of hatcheries
- Non-walleye fishing opportunities
- Trout fishing opportunities
Sound bites from Hauser are on the following topics:
- Aquatic invasive species
- High water dangers
- Importance of life jackets
- How to measure fish
- Common violations
The b-roll and sound bites are available at ftp://mediaroom.dnr.state.mn.us in folder named “news release resources,” then in folder named “05-07-19 Fishing opener resources.”