Fishing opener notebook: Bait shops should have good supplies of everything but shiners by opener

"We should have most of the bait shops in good shape by the opener," wholesaler says.

Spottail shiners are a prized bait among Minnesota walleye anglers early in the season. In North Dakota, live shiners aren't legal baitfish.
Contributed / Jonny Petrowske
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DULUTH – It seems every year there is talk of a bait shortage in the days leading up to the Minnesota fishing opener, and this year, with such a late ice out, is no exception. Lake shiners may be in short supply because, even where ice has gone out, the water is too cold for shiners to spawn near shore, where bait dealers trap them. Most other bait should be delivered to bait shops in time for the opener, Phil Koep, owner of Urbank Bait in Clitherall, Minnesota, one of the state's largest wholesale bait dealers, said Wednesday.


"Our little lakes (where minnows are trapped) just lost their ice last week, and the bigger lakes around here are just going out now, so it's going to be a rush for us," Koep said. "But we should have most of the bait shops in good shape by the opener."
– Duluth News Tribune

Last-minute lodging finder

BAUDETTE, Minn. – On the fence about venturing up to Lake of the Woods for the fishing opener? Despite the popularity of the annual Minnesota spring tradition, anglers taking the wait-and-see approach shouldn’t have any trouble finding a last-minute place to stay, said Joe Henry, executive director of Lake of the Woods Tourism.

Rooms and cabins are available, he said.

“We get some people coming up for the opener, but I don’t think it’s what people would think,” Henry said. “For some people, it’s cold, it’s still spring fishing in many regards so that will keep some people off the water and they won’t go on the big water because of that.”


Anglers looking for last-minute lodging can check out the Lodging Availability finder on the Lake of the Woods Tourism website at .

It’s as simple as entering the dates you want to fish, what part of the lake you want to fish – such as south shore, Rainy River or Northwest Angle – and then hitting “enter.” The message is then sent to all of the different lodging facilities in that geographic area that you’ve selected.

“So you don’t have to be dialing for dollars,” Henry said. “You can just wait to get some emails back – ‘Hey, we’ve got a cabin open; hey, we’ve got a room open’ – and it’s just a nice tool.”

– Brad Dokken

Lake ice-out information

ST. PAUL – The most up to date information will come from local bait shops, lodges or residents on a lake, but a statewide listing of lake ice-out status is available at . Most lakes north of Minnesota Highway 200 remained ice-covered this past week. Lake Bronson in Kittson County was the first lake in northern Minnesota to lose its ice, being declared ice-free on Wednesday, May 4.
– Duluth News Tribune

Docks and water levels

DULUTH – Even if your lake does lose its ice by May 14, it's unlikely crews will have had time to install docks on many lakes. Bring waders or rubber boots to help launch the boat. Meanwhile, a winter of heavier snow and recent spring rains have helped raise water levels, especially along the Minnesota-Ontario border.
– Duluth News Tribune

Get your license

ST. PAUL – Check out various license options and buy your Minnesota fishing license online at , or buy a license by phone at (888) 665-4236 or at many sporting goods stores statewide. The basic resident adult fishing license for a year is $25; $51 for nonresidents.
– Duluth News Tribune

Find a place to fish

ST. PAUL – Get information on specific lakes, including regulations, fish species, stocking reports, boat landing locations and lake maps at . You can search by lake name, on a map or find lakes near where you are.
– Duluth News Tribune


Regional outlooks

ST. PAUL – Anglers looking for local information before the Saturday, May 14, fishing opener for walleye, bass, northern pike and trout in lakes can gain local knowledge by looking at regional fishing reports from the DNR. The regional fishing reports include details about waters throughout each region and can be found at .
– Herald staff report

Shore fishing primers

ST. PAUL – So you want to go fishing on the Minnesota opener but don’t have a boat? No problem – the DNR has two instructional videos on how to catch fish from shore. The videos can be found on the DNR website under “Fishing” and then scrolling down to “Methods” ( ). Shore Fishing 101 covers general shore fishing basics and Shore Fishing 102 focuses on river fishing from shore. For fishing locations across the entire state, the DNR has a map of fishing piers and shore fishing locations at
– Herald staff report

DNR fishing lure webinar

ST. PAUL – The DNR is offering a how-to webinar on fishing lures at noon Wednesday, May 11, as part of its outdoor skills webinar series. During the webinar, DNR staff members will share some of their top picks for fishing lures and how to use them. The webinars are free, but registration is required. More information, including registration information for webinars each Wednesday through May 25, is available at .
– Herald staff report

Fishing regs translations

ST. PAUL – The DNR has translated Minnesota’s 2022 fishing regulations into Hmong, Karen, Somali, and Spanish. This marks the second year that people have access to Minnesota’s fishing regulations in these four languages. The DNR translated the regulation booklets into the four most commonly spoken languages, apart from English, in Minnesota. The translated booklets are available in digital form at and in print at locations where they are likely to be in demand, including at select DNR offices, license vendors and at some Minnesota state parks.

People can request that a free copy of the English, Hmong, Karen, Somali or Spanish regulation booklets be mailed to them by calling the DNR’s Information Center at (651) 296-6157, (888) 646-6367 or by emailing .
– Herald staff report

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