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Fishing license sales up 10% statewide

NEW ULM — It appears anglers are ready to return to Mother Nature and hopefully spend quality time with their family this year.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports fishing license sales are up 10 percent from last year.

There were 286,086 licenses sold by May 1, compared to 255,841 at the same point last year, the first year of the pandemic.

So far, it’s the fastest Minnesota fishing license sales start in at least 21 years.

Minnesota’s fishing season starts Saturday, May 15.

By the end of 2021, Minnesota will sell near 1.2 million fishing licenses required for most anglers age 16 and older, except for some special circumstances.

“It’s good to see. Some people thought fishing license sales would go down during the pandemic, but no, it went up,” said DNR Southern Regional Fisheries Assistant Manager Brian Schultz.

“People got away from some things, but the pandemic made us slow down a bit and hopefully make us appreciate some of the things we forgot about before like doing more things with family,” Schultz said. “Hopefully, we continue doing things like that. It’s good mentally for yourself and the family.”

He advised anglers to try shallow lakes around the fishing opener because they can heat up faster.

“Beware of cold water. It kills. And it’s really cold out there yet,” said Schultz. “Water levels are down, but I think fishing should be all right. The only winter I know of is near Winsted.”

DNR Southern Region Fisheries Manager Jack Lauer said Lake Marion, along Highway 15, south of Hutchinson was good for walleyes last year and should be good again.

“Clear Lake, south of New Ulm should be good for crappies and blue gill. My Hutchinson Fisheries staff netting sampled 8 to 9-inch crappie and 7 to 8-inch bluegill,” said Lauer. “Lake Hanska really turns on with walleyes in summer. Shallow, windswept lakes that often turn tepid green in summer, are fairly clear now and should be easy to fish, 100 feet from shore.”

Lauer said Lac Qui Parle lake continues to be one of the best walleye fisheries in Minnesota with a 16-inch average and 10-inch crappie average.

“Just be careful if it’s windy there. Find a smaller lake,” said Lauer.

“A number of smaller lakes in Kandiyohi County around Spicer continue to crank out pretty decent walleye fishing too,” Lauer said.

He advised fishing enthusiasts to search for more information including regional fishing outlooks – https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/outlooks.html; the DNR LakeFinder – https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/index.html. LakeFinder in mobile form https://maps1.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefinder/mobile/

For local information contact the local Fisheries area office at – https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/index.html

To locate DNR public water access ramps and fishing piers go to – https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/water_access/index.html

For a trout fishing map – https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/trout/map.html

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

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