Anglers Celebrate Minnesota's Fishing Opener

May 12, 2018 05:38 PM

With the fishing season officially open for walleye, northern pike and more, half a million anglers are expected to drop a line in Minnesota's lakes and rivers over the weekend.

RELATED: 71st Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener Goes 'Swimmingly'


The opening weekend comes just days after a late ice-out on many of Minnesota's lakes. The cold spring has some bait shops strapped for certain minnows and some anglers searching for warmer water.

At Blue Ribbon Bait and Tackle in Oakdale, several anglers walked away with fatheads, rather than the coveted small shiner minnows.

"Those are really good for walleye," Jennifer Hartigan said. "Those sold out right away."

Hartigan said most of her customers were heading to the St. Croix River, or local lakes, like Lake Minnetonka and Lake Phalen.

 "I think people are really excited," Hartigan said. "A lot of people didn't think that they'd be fishing on open water this year."

KSTP's 2018 Fishing Opener Guide

Just before noon, a local fishing legend walked into Blue Ribbon Bait and Tackle to stock up on fatheads before heading to the St. Croix River. Dick "The Griz" Grzywinski, a member of the National Fishing Hall of Fame, said he was planning to use a 1/8 ounce jig with a minnow.

"Shallow water fishing will probably be the best because they're just getting off their spawning, you know?" Grzywinski said. "They stick around their spawning areas, so walleyes will be around the sand-breaks and stuff like that."

Grzywinski, who fishes nearly 300 days a year, recommends using a temperature gauge to find the lake or river's warmer water.

Steve Fritz did just that on White Bear Lake Saturday morning. After seven hours, though, Fritz called it a day.

"Caught some bass, but didn't see anybody catch a walleye," Fritz said. "Just a slow day, water's cold."

Fritz said he covered nearly half the lake, fishing shallow and deep water. He caught nearly a dozen bass, one northern and a perch.

"It wasn't raining that's all I care about," Fritz said, with a laugh.


Tyler Berg

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