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Sarah Smith, Forum Communications , Published May 07 2013

Decision on fishing opener launch to go down to the wire in Minnesota

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. – Will Park Rapids give Gov. Mark Dayton an icy welcome this weekend?

It will go down to the wire.

Right now, the plan is to launch boats from Fish Hook Lake, the access at Heartland Park or the one on County Road 1 at Northern Pine Lodge for the Governor’s Fishing Opener on Saturday.

“It could be decided Friday at the latest,” said fishing guide Jason Durham.

Larger lakes such as Big Sand and Long have been reluctant to surrender their winter ice sheaths.

Durham said the Fish Hook chain, which is hosting the opener, has a much better chance of being open or partially open by Saturday morning’s launch.

“It’s going to take off from Fish Hook no matter what,” Durham said Monday.

“It’s debatable, but boats may go a variety of directions,” Durham added. “For obvious reasons, some may prefer to go onto Fish Hook, but they (the professional guides) can go on a number of other lakes, which isn’t a bad thing either.”

Several lakes in the Crow Wing chain are shedding their ice layers.

“Pretty much the Crow Wing chain should be open,” Durham said.

Durham advises patience.

“Be flexible. That will be imperative for this opener,” he said.