Up North: Expectations for Minnesota's Fishing Opener on Northeast Lakes

Eyewitness Sports
May 10, 2017 10:30 PM

This weekend marks a reason to celebrate for anglers across the state.

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"It's almost like a holiday in Minnesota. Fishing runs right through the core of our culture here in the state," said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Section Chief Don Pereira.

According to the DNR, the sport of fishing contributes about 4 billion dollars to the state economy and it also kicks off the summer travel season.

"Let's just hope and pray that we finally have an opener with nice, warm weather," said Hall of Fame Angler Butch Furtman. "It really makes a big difference for everybody. Once people get out and start to enjoy the opener, then they continue to fish pretty much throughout the whole summer."

This year marks the 70th annual opener which has been a tradition for anglers such as Grant Sorensen who were reeled into the culture at a young age.

"It's a family tradition. It's getting together with dad and grandpa and grabbing a rod and heading out on the lake. It's not really about catching the fish it's really about the memories that are made," said Superior Angling Show Host Sorensen.

If you can catch something for dinner, he said it's just a bonus. The pro angler and Duluth native said that Northlanders have an advantage having one of the best fisheries across the state being the St. Louis River.

"It's a body of water that you can come out here and catch a bunch of fish and you have one of the best chances in the state at getting a true trophy," said Sorensen. "I'll tell anybody if you time it right, the St. Louis River right here in Duluth is one of the best fisheries in the state, it truly is."

Sorensen also recommends Fish Lake, Boulder Lake, Island Lake and even Rice Lake early in the season before the weeds grow. For those seeking that potential once-in-a-lifetime achievement, the DNR is reporting to expect a lot of fish to range from 15 to 16 inches.

"I know the Grand Marais area lakes and the big walleye lakes there, that 2012 year class is doing really well and should provide good fishing. The other thing about the northeast, especially east of Highway 53, that's some of the best pike fishing in the state," said Pereira.

Anglers should also keep in mind that certain bodies of water have different size and amount regulations.

Sorensen and Furtman also said a good rule of thumb is to never do the same thing for too long. They recommend when conditions are slow don't be afraid to try different lures, bait, and depths of water.


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