Minnesota fishing opener right around the corner

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.

“We know there is some confusion about this year’s opener date,” said Jon Hansen, fisheries program consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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.

Also related to May fishing, 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 for this year’s Take a Mom Fishing Weekend — when Minnesota-resident moms can fish without purchasing a license — are  Saturday, May 8, to Sunday, May 9.

That special 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.

“We encourage Minnesota moms to get out and fish for free on May 8 and 9,” Hansen said. “Even though the walleye season won’t be open, there are still plenty of fun and easy fishing opportunities for crappie, sunfish, or even under-appreciated fish like buffalo, sucker, bullhead or sheepshead.”

Fishing season dates, and the corrected Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook, are available online

at mndnr.gov/fishing.

Biologists with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect walleye eggs this spring; however, social distancing requirements mean this popular springtime activity will not be open for public viewing this year.

Hatcheries, the destination for the eggs collected, also remain closed to the public.

“Egg take operations are neat things to watch,” said Henry Drewes, northwest region fisheries supervisor. “But the closeness required to observe this work makes it impossible for onlookers to maintain safe and adequate social distancing among themselves and from DNR staff.”

Last year, DNR fisheries biologists did not collect walleye eggs because of COVID-related considerations.

This year, egg collection procedures have been re-engineered to minimize close contact among employees.

Egg take stations and hatcheries will remain closed and offer no tours through 2021.

“We’re asking that people respect these closures and not visit these sites so we can work safely,” Drewes said. “We really appreciate the interest in our work, but keeping the public and DNR staff healthy is our number one priority.”

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