Fishing considered a way to get away

BROWN COUNTY — A New Ulm bait and tackle shop owner said many people want to get away these days.

“A lot of people feel penned up and just want to get away now,” said R & R Bait & Tackle owner Francis Rieger. “Some people enjoy fishing. They feel they’re away from people when they’re fishing.”

Rieger said he’s met a number of people from other states including Iowa and as far away as Georgia that visit New Ulm to catch catfish and walleyes in the Minnesota River.

“A number of people told me they caught 24 to 28-inch walleyes in the Minnesota River,” Rieger said. “A lady caught an eel in the river the other day.”

He said the Lake Hanska evening fishing brings in mostly crappies, walleyes and catfish.

“Sleepy Eye Lake is bringing in bass and sunfish. The water color is pretty good,” Rieger said.

Other popular fishing spots include Lake Washington and Madison Lake near Mankato, Lake Sarah near Willmar and lakes further north.

Effective July 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) closed Mille Lacs Lake to walleye fishing for the month of July, in anticipation of a fall walleye season.

The DNR determined a July closure would provide the best fall walleye fishing by reducing walleye mortality when water temperatures are warmest.

“Even with good walleye fishing Mille Lacs anglers experienced this year, we have not exceeded our allocation and don’t expect to,” said DNR Fisheries Section Manager Brad Parsons. “We know many people really enjoy fall walleye fishing, heard that this is their priority and made spring plans for a July closure to reduce potential for an unplanned fall closure.”

In addition, Mille Lacs Lake anglers can’t use most live baits for any species in July.

Exceptions are sucker minnows greater than 8 inches long for targeting northern pike and muskellunge and wax worms for panfish and perch.

Catch-and-release walleye fishing is scheduled to re-open on Mille Lacs on Saturday, Aug. 1 and continue through Monday, Nov. 30.

As part of nationwide Operation Dry Water effort July 3-5, DNR conservation officers and their public safety partners will be working to ensure all boaters safely enjoy their time on the water.

A particular focus will be on boat operators who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and have the potential to negatively affect their lives and those of other boaters.

“Everyone defines a fun day on the water a little differently, but we can all agree the best days are those that provide lasting, positive memories, said DNR Enforcement Division Director Rodmen Smith.

“Minnesotans by and large do a great job of keeping themselves and their fellow boaters safe on the water, and conservation officers are committed to making sure that continues,” said Smith.

Boating safety tips include:

• Leaving alcoholic beverages on shore. Drunk boating is the same as drunk driving.

• Wear a life jacket. It’s the best way to stay safe in the water.

• Practice social distancing while boating. Stay at least 6 feet away from people not from the same household. This is essential on boats, boat launches, fishing piers, and docks. When launching and loading a boat, give others plenty of time and space to finish launching or loading before approaching.

• Enjoy the view and put away the phone. Like distracted driving, distracted boating can lead to crashes and fatalities.

• For more information, visit mndnr.gov/

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.


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