The MN Department of Natural Resources wants to help you get ready for the Fishing Opener. 

It’s the weekend anglers have been waiting for…the opening of the 2014 fishing season…the action begins Saturday. The DNR debuted an addition to their website Wednesday to streamline the information on fishing in Minnesota.

Minnesota fishing regulations and other helpful information are now available on a new, easy-to-use Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. The new Fish Minnesota site is part of Gov. Mark Dayton’s Unsession initiative and Plain Language Executive Order that directed state agencies to make information easier to access and easier to understand.

Anglers who visit www.mndnr.gov/fishmn will find rewritten and reorganized open water fishing regulations cast in a user-friendly question and answer format.

The Fish Minnesota site answers basic questions such as:

  • Do I need a license?
  • When can I fish?
  • What can I catch?
  • How can I fish?
  • Where can I fish?
  • What if I catch fish?

BOOST TO THE ECONOMY

DNR Fisheries Chief Don Periera says besides being a popular recreational activity, fishing is also big business in Minnesota.

Periera added that about 500,000 people are expected to fish on opening day of the walleye and northern pike season, which is this Saturday.

Fishing opener: Some things to know

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.

Fish Minnesota 
Getting answers to fishing questions has never been easier. The new Fish Minnesota website from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 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.

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.

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 at www.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.

Ask a friend to go fishing 

Want to learn how to fish? Consider asking a friend for help.

“Ask another angler and they’ll likely take you fishing,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “The number one thing is to ask. Fishing with someone else can simply be more fun.”

To start, anglers might not need to buy gear or a license because in most cases, Minnesotans don’t need a license to fish in Minnesota state parks and fishing kits can be checked out through a free loaner program.

Classes for kids and adults are listed on the DNR Take a Kid Fishing page at www.mndnr.gov/takeakidgfishing. They include:

  • I Can Fish! Classes led by a naturalist. Discover what it takes to start fishing. Rods, reels and bait provided.
  • I Can Trout Fish! Classes provide fishing gear. License requirements are waived. Learn about trout, the food they eat, and how to catch and release trout.
  • Fly fishing classes introduce the fundamentals, including how to cast or cast more accurately.

Classes are scheduled from Sunday, May 25, to Saturday, Aug. 30.