Nature Matters: Minnesota Anglers May Mess With Ice For Opener

By KBJR News 1

May 6, 2013 Updated May 7, 2013 at 9:59 AM CDT

Island Lake, MN (NNCNOW.com) -It's T minus five days and counting to Minnesota's fishing opener and the boat landing on Island Lake is still iced over.

Even ducks are having a hard time finding open water on nearby Boulder Lake so the fear is that Minnesota's opener will be as slow as Wisconsin's.

Frank Simmons of Duluth is checking out Rice Lake to find a spot to wet a line on Saturday morning.

"I know it's kind of icy in a lot of different places but I'm hoping the places we like to go like the Saint Louis River and here are clear of ice so we can do our fishing." said Simmons.

From Duluth to the Boundary Waters, most lakes still have 75 percent ice coverage.

Anxious anglers are frequently checking in with bait shops like Chalstrom's for news.

"Everyone wants to know the exact time the ice is going to go out." said John Chalstrom.

Guessing ice out time is a big hobby, especially on the Vermilion Iron Range.

People there have contests to see who can predict open water on lakes like Vermilion and Shagawa.

Those folks say the ice hasn't been this slow to go since 2008.
Bait and tackle vendor John Chalstrom isn't worried about ice lingering for opening day.

He says business will return to normal as soon as the ice does melt.

"Luckily for Frank Simmons, his favorite fishing spot is already open and with temperatures in the 50's, 60's and 70's over the next couple of days, hopefully everybody else's will get there as well." said reporter Dave Anderson on Boulder Lake.

"The weather is beautiful and as we speak, that ice is getting worked on." said Chalstrom.

On Island Lake for Nature Matters, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.

Before the Minnesota opener hits on Saturday, the Department of Natural Resources wants people to know that fishing licenses are no longer "one size fits all."

Besides an annual license, anglers can choose ones that range from three days to three years.

And, young people ages 16 and 17 can purchase licenses at a cheaper rate.

It's hoped that will "lure" more people into fishing.