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Fishing opener is May 15, not Mother's Day weekend

Check out these spring fishing tips to find success on the water.

Mille Lacs fishing image.jpg

Fishing seasons open for walleye, bass, trout in lakes, and northern pike on Saturday, May 15, with this year’s date taking the prize for the latest possible opener under Minnesota statute.

Minnesota statute sets the fishing opener as the Saturday two weeks prior to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. This year, with Memorial Day the latest it can be, on May 31, that puts the fishing opener on Saturday, May 15, the week after Mother's Day, according to a Minnesota DNR news release.

Take a mom fishing May 8-9

This year’s Take a Mom Fishing Weekend — when Minnesota-resident moms can fish without purchasing a license — is Saturday, May 8, to Sunday, May 9. That weekend is defined in Minnesota statutes as the weekend that coincides with Mother’s Day. Most years, under Minnesota law, the fishing opener and Take a Mom Fishing Weekend fall on the same weekend, but not this year.

Though the walleye season won’t be open, fishing is open for other species including crappie, sunfish, or even under-appreciated fish like buffalo, sucker, bullhead or sheepshead.

Anglers be aware: There is an error in the printed version of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations book regarding the dates for the 2021 Take a Mom Fishing Weekend. The correct dates are May 8-9.


Remember change in married combination license

In a change this year, the DNR is requiring both spouses to provide and verify their DNR customer records for married combination licenses. If purchasing in person, both spouses must be present. This change brings DNR into compliance with state and federal laws, and help prevent licenses going to those with violations or unpaid fines.

Play it safe while boating

Many lakes and rivers throughout Minnesota are now ice-free, and those where ice remains likely will be open in the near future. People are understandably eager to hit the water, but it remains dangerously cold. That means it’s vital for people to exercise extreme caution whenever they’re on or around the water. Each year, about 30% of fatal boating accidents in Minnesota occur during the cold-water period, according to a Minnesota DNR news release.

As boaters begin taking their first trips of the year onto the water, they should:

  • Ensure their boat is equipped with proper safety equipment and that it’s all functioning properly.
  • Wear a life jacket (foam is more effective than inflatables during the cold-water season). A life jacket is the one thing most likely to help people survive a fall into cold water.
  • Distribute weight evenly and abide by manufacturer’s weight limits to reduce the likelihood of falling overboard.
  • Have a means of communication. Boaters also should let other people know where they’re going and when they plan to return.
  • Watch the weather to avoid shifting winds or storms.
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