Boundary Water Businesses Prepare for Fishing Opener Change

By KBJR News 1

April 5, 2012 Updated Apr 5, 2012 at 10:26 PM CDT

(Northland's NewsCenter)---Minnesota lawmakers are debating whether to move up the state's fishing opener by a week.

While many anglers may be jumping at the chance to bait their lines early, many businesses near the Boundary Waters have mixed feelings.

Owners of the Silver Rapids Resort are gearing up for an early start to the fishing opener.

They spent most of Thursday putting docks in the water, a few weeks earlier than usual.

"It means another week of revenue," Gary Tedrick, Owner of Silver Rapids Resort in Ely said. "On the other hand, a week of disaster trying to figure out our reservations. People are already calling."

If the legislation passes, anglers could start fishing this year as early as May 5, rather than on May 12, the day before Mother's Day.

The changes would only apply to this year.

"It's election year," Tom Reis, an angler said. "They are trying to make points and make mothers happy and families happy."

"It's more of a local extra week maybe, than tourism," Ely Mayor Roger Skraba said.

"I think everybody is used to where it is at the moment, so they will probably keep thinking that way," Drew Brockett, of Piragis Northwoods Company said. "But I think it will bring up a few people from the close areas."

Owners of Babes Bait and Tackle say it's that extra "local week" that may make a difference in revenue this season, especially after they couldn't sell fishing licenses during the government shut down last summer.

"Any time you get an extra week, that's a big plus," Captain Russ said. "Unfortunately, a lot of folks aren't going to be prepared in time to take advantage of it."

"It kind of does leave us in limbo, wondering what to do," Jeffrey Potter, of Michael's Restaurant at the Silver Rapids Resort said.

If the legislature does pass the measure, Governor Mark Dayton would still need to sign the bill before it becomes law.

Jennifer Walch
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