Northland Fishing Season Update

Duluth is one place ready to prove that a little ice won't get in the way and stop people from fishing.

DULUTH, Minn. – The fishing opener in Minnesota is May 12. A day many have been planning for to kick off their summer fishing season.

But with Minnesota lakes still filled with ice, getting those boats out could be tough.

But one shop in Duluth is showing us how it’s not too late to get a head start and is gearing up for the big day.

Duluth is one place ready to prove that a little ice won’t get in the way and stop people from fishing.

We also check in with folks in Wisconsin who are already getting their fishing season underway.

But in both states the conditions this spring are definitely changing the early season outlook for those who like to fish.

Staff at Marine General in Duluth say they prepare for the fishing opener every year the same way, but this year has been different for Owner Russ Francisco.

He says he doesn’t remember a year the channel wasn’t at least open and he hasn’t seen this much ice on the lakes so late into spring.

“It’s going to be cold. Fishing is going to be different probably; we’re going to be fishing very slow,” said Francisco. “Our presentation will probably be a minnow and a jig. It’s probably going to be that way right into memorial day weekend.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) has a map that tracks the history of the ice out.

As of April 18, there are no reports of lakes in Minnesota that are ice free.

“I mean that’s what fishing is all about. Change your tactics, talk to people, find out what they’re doing, so we should be doing just fine, said Francisco. “The big thing is if we can get some open water and get things going it’ll make people feel better.”

Meanwhile Jim Olson over at The Superior Fly Angler says the Brule River in Wisconsin is running below normal.

“We got the high flys that are working on the Brule.”

Some people have told him you’ll find around 21 inches of new snow around Brule, which could have a big impact on fishing conditions over the coming weeks.

“With the snow we have on the ground out there now and the temps going into the 50s in the next few days; I’ve got a feeling that that’s going to contribute a lot to the increase in the flow for the river. guys are catching fish though,” said Olson. “The way the river is now.”

Steelhead fishing in the Brule River starts in late March and extends through May.

“There have been a lot of good reports, Steelhead fishing has also been really well with some guys catching some full back browns also.

The MN DNR  says it’s too soon to know for sure if some lakes will be open or not by the opener.

Ice conditions change rapidly and should be checked frequently.

When there is still ice on area lakes, anglers can usually still find opportunities to fish in rivers which generally open sooner.

Dark water, tannin–stained lakes usually open sooner than clear deep lakes, and of course, warmer temperatures can help melt the ice faster.

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