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DNR report: Ten things to know for the fishing opener

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outdoors Alexandria, 56308
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Whether this will be a traditional start to the fishing season or you’re forging a new tradition, here are 10 things to know for fishing opener. 

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Fish Minnesota 

Getting answers to fishing questions has never been easier. The new Fish Minnesota website from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at www.mndnr.gov/fishmn offers simplified information about fishing regulations, lakes and more, so anglers can find what they need to know to go fishing for the first time fishing or the thousandth.

Know the lake on the go with LakeFinder 

Fishing gear is packed. Coffee is hot. Everything’s ready for the fishing opener. Are there any special regulations on the lake? Which access is closest to the bait shop? Don’t sweat it. Use LakeFinder Mobile at www.mndnr.gov/lakefind to access a bevy of information using a mobile device.

Heading to Mille Lacs? Consider new opportunity for northern pike fishing

Anglers on Lake Mille Lacs will be able to keep more northern pike this fishing opener under a variety of new regulations for the lake. More liberal northern pike regulation follows from knowledge that pike can withstand additional fishing pressure because pike are fast-growing and populations are at or near record highs. For more information, seewww.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.

Try fishing in a Minnesota state park

In most cases, Minnesotans don't need a license when fishing in a state park. For more information, see www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/fishing.html

Rent fishing gear near the metro

Ever wanted to try fishing but didn’t want to invest in the gear right away? The DNR Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program in the seven-county metro area provides opportunities to fish from shores and piers in waters managed for such fishing – and some FiN locations lend fishing equipment. See more information at www.mndnr.gov/fishing/fin.

New and improved fishing piers 

Didn’t know there was a fishing pier on that lake? There wasn’t until recently. Here is a list of new fishing piers completed in 2013 that were reported to the DNR, listed by county, lake, access and work completed, respectively:

Cottonwood County, Bean Lake.

Le Sueur County, Jefferson Lake, Geldners Saw Mill.

Rock County, South Mound Creek Pool, Blue Mounds State Park.

St. Louis, Lake Vermilion, Stuntz Bay, Lake Vermilion State Park.

Washington County, Colby Lake, (partnership with Washington County, FiN program and DNR Parks and Trails).

For a list of fishing piers, see www.mndnr.gov/fishing_piers

Take a mom fishing 

Take a Mom Fishing Weekend allows any mother who is a resident of Minnesota to fish without a license on Saturday, May 10 and Sunday, May 11, a weekend that coincides with both the 2014 walleye and northern pike fishing opener and also Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Don’t confuse the openers

True, the traditional walleye and northern pike fishing opener is on Saturday, May 10. But whether you can keep other types of fish depends. The opener for bass, for example, is Saturday, May 24, in the southern part of Minnesota, while the opener for muskie is Saturday, June 7. Find out the specifics of the seasons, or lake-specific regulations, from a mobile device at LakeFinder Mobile at www.mndnr.gov/lakefind.

Buy a license that fits

People buy a hat that fits, so why not buy a license that fits, too. The DNR offers a variety of license types that make it even easier to get the whole family involved, including a married combination annual license, a 72-hour fishing license, and others. Licenses are available at any DNR license agent, online via mobile and desktop atwww.mndnr.gov/buyalicense and by telephone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.

Be safe near cold water

With water temperatures likely colder than normal even if ice is out, anglers are reminded that frigid water can have dangerous and potentially fatal impacts. Anglers should exercise extra caution and wear life vests. Hypothermia occurs quickly in cold water and the shock of falling into icy water also can cause cardiac arrest, even for people in good health.

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