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Tom Mix, Published May 11 2013

Weather an issue for fishing opener

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – Lakes with ice, wind and cool temperatures were a recipe for a sub-par Minnesota fishing opener in the region on Saturday.

Anglers expected less-than-ideal conditions, but that didn’t stop many from baiting hooks and casting lines wherever there was open water.

Tadd Schermerhorn, 32, of Detroit Lakes tried his luck fishing off of Long Bridge Road. Schermerhorn, who was hoping to reel in some pan fish, walleyes and northern pike, said he had been there 45 minutes and had no bites.

Ice still remained on Detroit Lake and many other lakes in the region.

“The weather isn’t really cooperating for any kind of fishing today,” Schermerhorn said. “I have all my winter gear on.”

Complete ice-out remains a week away, which likely means next weekend will be the opener for anglers who decided to hold off and just buy their licenses on Saturday.

“(Saturday was) the official opener, but I think a lot of people are going to be out next week,” Schermerhorn said.

Corey and Raina Askin, who own The Lake Place Live Bait and Tackle in Lake Park, Minn., noticed a decline in angler activity from a year ago, but are hopeful business picks up in the coming weeks.

“Next weekend will be the opener,” Corey Askin said. “It will be a week late, but we will put up with it. A lot of people are just coming into buy their licenses to get their fix today.

Corey said the store had sold 120 licenses as of noon on Saturday. The Askins have owned the store for two years and have now experienced two openers.

Corey said total sales at the store in the days prior to this year’s opener were about one-third of what was generated in 2012.

Giveaways and other promotions during a live radio show event with KFGO 790-AM on Friday helped boost sales.

“It’s been slower than it should be for this time of the year,” Raina Askin said. “It’s been so cold that the walleyes haven’t spawned yet. There is still ice on the lakes and that has all had a ripple effect on the opener.”

Corey spent some of Saturday scouting local lakes and reported minimal activity, but said some anglers were reporting high walleye concentration in local creek beds while spawning.

Gov. Mark Dayton didn’t get shutout in his fishing opener. Dayton caught and released one walleye early Saturday near Park Rapids, Minn.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562