Posted at: 05/10/2013 6:12 PM
By: John Doetkott

Print Story  Email to a Friend

Late Winter Bringing Changes To Fishing Opener

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The walleye fishing opener is just a day away and across Minnesota anglers used Friday’s nice weather to prepare for the season.

Small-time anglers could be found casting for pan fish in Albert Lea on Friday afternoon, but on Saturday they'll be casting for the big fish.

But they won't be alone. 

While Southern Minnesota's lakes are clear, some northern lakes are still covered in ice, which could force many fisherman to go against the normal migration pattern and travel south for Saturday's opener.

“I fully expect that we're going to have some of our northern brothers coming down south for a change,” said Lance Frank of The Dam Bait Shop in Albert Lea. “Which will be really nice to see."

But they may have a little trouble baiting their hooks with the usual fish fare.

Bait shops workers say that the late winter has a popular walleye bait in short supply.

“It’s a major issue. The northern lakes are still locked up and they can't get at the leeches,” Frank said. “We feel kind of fortunate we were able to get leeches in."

The unusual weather also has many anglers prepping boats and equipment later than usual.

“A lot of them are still getting [boats] out of storage,” said Brian Berhow, owner of Northstar Powersports in Albert Lea. “They’re getting batteries charged, getting them prepped, making sure everything works.”

But for now, most just can't wait to cast that first line.

“They’re pretty excited,” Berhow said. “It's been a long winter and everybody's anxious to get out there for sure."