With fishing opener this weekend, DNR urges anglers to stay close to home

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: May 06, 2020 09:33 PM
Created: May 06, 2020 02:34 PM

Many anglers are likely itching to wet a line with the Minnesota fishing opener set for this weekend. However, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking people to stay close to home and follow health guidelines this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need for Minnesotans to fish close to home,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “This is not the time to travel long distances to fish since travel can spread the COVID-19 virus, particularly to rural communities that may have more virus-vulnerable populations.”


To help anglers and others engaging in outdoor recreation, the DNR and the Minnesota Department of Health developed additional guidelines for what to do amid the pandemic. The departments said following these guidelines will minimize potential opportunities for transmission:

  • No overnight stays.
  • Bring all needed supplies with you.
  • Only go as far as you can travel and return on a single tank of gas or single charge for EV drivers.

Strommen said these guidelines will help protect many rural communities that are home to older Minnesotans and American Indians, groups that have a higher incidence of underlying health conditions. 

“Let’s remember that part of the fishing opener tradition is teaching the next generation,” Strommen added. “Let’s teach them to protect our fellow Minnesotans by finding the many wonderful fishing opportunities we have close to home. It’s an important lesson that goes beyond fishing. We can have a great opener and stay safe.”

The DNR also reminded anglers to keep appropriate social distancing in mind and stay at least 6 feet away from people of other households, especially at boat launches, shore fishing areas and piers.

To help avoid crowding at license agents, the DNR also encouraged anglers to buy fishing licenses early, and consider buying online and saving the license on your phone.

While fishing seasons open Saturday for walleye, northern pike, bass, and trout in lakes, some fishing seasons are open all year for panfish and other species. Trout season in streams opened in April. You can find a full list of seasons on the DNR website.

Finally, the DNR reminded anglers to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boaters are required to clean aquatic plants and debris from their watercraft, drain lake or river water and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash every time they leave the water.

Everyone on a boat should also wear a life jacket and children fishing from shore or on piers should also wear life jackets, the DNR added. It’s especially vital during the cold-water season.

To find lakes in Minnesota to fish at, click here.

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