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Anglers fished from shore and boats early Saturday morning. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Opener welcomes sunshine, calm waters, inspectors, kids and fish

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outdoors Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The fishing gods smiled on Minnesota's walleye opener.

Anglers and watercraft inspectors were out on the glassy lakes by dawn throughout Hubbard County under bright sunshine.

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In Park Rapids, long lines formed at convenience stores, bait shops and tackle vendors.

"I caught two large mouth bass," said Matthew Cloutier of Park Rapids, knowing he had to throw them back. The bass season hasn't begun yet.

But Matthew kept casting into Lake Emma for walleye.

Hope springs eternal.

Watercraft inspector Roger Kast was one of a dozen to take a position at key public access points.

The appropriately named inspector said anglers had been very cooperative and polite about having their boats inspected.

"Business is picking up," he said at 8:30 a.m. under a flawless sky.

He'd begun inspecting at 6 a.m.

"Everybody's real cooperative," Kast said. "He's from out of state and didn't know anything about the new laws" designed to curb the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species.

John Lunde of Fargo accepted some educational tips, a laminated card identifying harmful weeds and was told his live wells and boat would have to be drained entering and leaving each Minnesota lake this summer.

No problem.

His boat was brand new, spotless.

"We've had some training," Kost said of anglers unfamiliar with the laws.

"You learn as you go along. The boats have been real clean."

Matthew kept casting his line out as he squinted in the sun.

It was a great day.

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