MN Fishing Opener Draws Thousands to Bait and Tackle Shops

By KBJR News 1

May 11, 2012 Updated May 11, 2012 at 7:25 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - With many people just getting off work, and for those looking to beat the weekend rush, now is the time to get out and buy the much needed supplies to ensure that this weekend won't leave you without at least a few fish stories.

Sue Chalstrom and her employees are no stranger to the craziness of opening weekend.

"It's the busiest day of the year, and we always look forward to it," said Chalstrom.

Chalstrom says preparation for opening weekend has been weeks in the making: "I know this week we've been scurrying around like crazy, making sure all the tackle was in, and hung, and you try not to forget a thing."

And that's no easy task when the demand for fishing supplies gets this high. Across the region, every bait and supply shop is feeling the strain of 2 million anglers—or 1.3 million licenses, demanding every fishing product under the sun.

It's a massive boost to the state's economy that's recognized by its leaders.

"Fishing itself has expenditures of 2.7 billion dollars, and has an economic impact of 4.8 billion dollars, generating, actually 17% of our sales tax," said Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner-Solon.

Chalstrom says her biggest source of income is all in the live bait: "We have crappie, and chubs, and light pike, and two different kinds of shiners today, and heavy pike and light northern, and leeches, and crawlers. Live bait is about 2/3rds."

That's 2/3rd of business that translates into thousands and thousands of pounds of slimy, wriggly, revenue.

While hundreds of dozens of minnows have already flown out the door, according to Chalstrom, leeches are where it's at this weekend.