Bait shortage biting Minnesota fishermen

May 12, 2019 06:56 PM

Bait shops throughout Minnesota are seeing major challenges keeping up with the demand for minnows and leeches, in an ongoing bait shortage.

They tell us it is especially frustrating during the fishing opener weekend, adding that the concerns are creating a ripple effect on the entire industry.


"Our whole big state of Minnesota being known for fishing and 10,000 lakes is really starting to get hurt by not having bait," said Dave Christensen, general manager at Blue Ribbon Bait and Tackle in Oakdale.

Christensen said they have dealt with shortages over the past few years but this year seems particularly bad.

He noted part of the problem is they don't have many options when it comes to buying bait. Minnesota law prohibits importing live minnows or leeches from out of state, so bait shops rely on local distributors. But many distributors in Minnesota have struggled to trap minnows and leeches over the past few months because of the weather, between the freezing winter and spring flooding.

"I think something really has to change for not just the bait shops but, down the road, for the hotels, our travel industry, everything," Christensen explained. "People come here to fish so we need bait."

Christensen said they have to wait and see, week by week, what bait will become available.

Blue Ribbon Bait and Tackle recommends people call ahead and ask what they have in stock, if they are wondering about the current supply.

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Alexandra Jokich

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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