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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
"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
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.