2018 MN Fishing Opener Predictions
There are a few observations pointing to an epic MN Fishing Opener on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River this weekend. First off, in past years when there has been a late ice out, anglers have done extremely well catching good numbers of nice walleyes. Second, this entire week, sturgeon anglers on the river are commenting on how they cannot keep the nice walleyes off of their lines. Finally, the walleyes just spawned last week and that means they will be hungry.
The NW Angle is actually also poised for a great opener. Ice fishing up there this year was excellent and never slowed down. The fish are there and the ice is gone, thus, for those who want to get an early start by fishing the northernmost point of the contiguous U.S., it will be good fishing.
For some, the MN Fishing Opener is tradition. For some, it’s a holiday. Whatever it means to you, the “opener” is a celebration of fishing for everyone who appreciates fishing in MN. The season on Lake of the Woods is an extended season, so we only had to be not fishing walleyes since April 14th. For most others in the state, the season closed at the end of February.
Pike will be a topic of conversation around MN this year as the limits have changed in many areas since the state went to regional limits to better address pike issues in those locations. Up at Lake of the Woods, the limits stay the same. You can keep three pike per day, must release everything between 30 – 40 inches and may keep one fish over 40″. The possession limit is three, the same as the daily limit.
Lake of the Woods is managed as a trophy pike fishery. This was quite evident this past week as Zippel Bay Resort held their annual pike tournament and 34 pike over 40″ were caught in the two days. A 40″ pike is considered a trophy in most circles.
Sturgeon are going strong. The catch and release season is on through May 15th. The season then closes until July 1st. On July 1, it opens again through September 30 and is the “keep” season meaning you are allowed to harvest one for the calendar year from 45-50″ or over 75″. Remember to purchase a sturgeon tag prior to going sturgeon fishing if your intent is to keep one.
The MN Fishing opener is upon us. Good luck to all anglers wherever you might fish. Take in a deep breath, relax and enjoy, walleye season is upon us!