Great Weather Highlights MN Fishing Opener
DULUTH - Minnesota fisherman couldn't have planned for much better weather to start off the 2012 fishing season.
"It’s nice 65 and sunny and the last couple of years hasn't been too nice because there's either been snow on the ground or it's been really windy or stuff like that so it's just been really nice to have nice weather and get out there and fish," said Alex Hanson, who spent the day fishing with his Dad.
Fisherman young and old were quick to get out on the waters from Rice Lake to the St. Louis River. Some people have been fishing the opener since their college days and now have a family of their own to share it with.
"After graduating and moving away I'd still meet friends up here for the fishing opener. The river's usually pretty good early, better than some of the lakes," said Graham Deters.
The opener is also a time to freshen up on new rules and regulations, especially state laws involving aquatic invasive species.
"They're clogging up motors on boats and stuff, they're attaching to everything out there. They're just an all–around nuisance and they're changing the way our waters are and the ecosystem drastically overnight," said Mike Scott, a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR).
The MnDNR is asking all boaters to drain buckets and live wells before leaving the waters, remove plants from boats and trailers and pull the plug, draining all water before leaving.
As far as the fishing goes, this year was unique because of the early ice out meaning fish spawns speeding up and moving around, thus being unpredictable.
"It was really slow. I mean we didn't catch any fish but we only saw two other boats catch some. It was really slow," said Hanson.
But for most people just getting out is often more than enough for a successful fishing opener.
"If they catch fish they're happy, if they don't catch fish they're still happy. But overall I think the success in the area is going to be very good this year," said Scott.
The MnDNR is also adding more fishing opportunities this year allowing those staying at state parks to fish for free, without a license.