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Could two lines be used in opener?

If anglers are able to access stable ice in the northern portion of Minnesota on the walleye opener, May 11, two lines are legal

By Jason Durham / For the Enterprise - A month ago, when anglers brought up the idea that they could be ice fishing on opening day of the walleye and northern pike season, most people simply chuckled.

But as each day passed and temperatures remained identical to what we’ve experienced the entire winter, the jesting smiles flattened out and the possibility of ice fishing on opening day became more of a reality.

Yet with a favorable forecast to deteriorate the ice, the idea of ice fishing on opener may be a fleeting thought. Of course, forecasted temperatures can always be warmer or colder than predicted.

Some anglers might try to beat the records etched in their fishing journals and attempt an ice excursion as late as possible.

First off, do remember that no fish is worth your life. So even though there could be a chance to ice fish later than ever, safety must come first.

Even if there were a few lakes with accessible ice on opening day, it’s likely that walleye fishing through the ice would be less than spectacular.

Since walleyes are on the brink of spawning, areas with current are one of your best bets for catching them. If the lake doesn’t have much current, then somewhat shallow water with a clean rubble or gravel bottom is prime spawning habitat for walleye. With the expected warm weather, shallow water regions will become increasingly difficult to access atop the ice since melting begins around the shorelines and gradually works outward.

Another interesting argument arises if there is a possibility to fish on the ice on opening day. Can you fish with more than one line if you’re angling through the ice?

Since Minnesota only allows one line per angler in the open-water season and two lines for ice fishing, it seems that simultaneously fishing with two lines on the opener (if ice is accessible) would be permitted.

Actually, that’s correct. If anglers find themselves atop a sheet of ice, they can legally use two lines according to DNR conservation officer Sam Hunter.

However, the anglers actually have to be fishing through a hole in the ice. Casting a lure into open water while standing on top of the ice does not permit an angler to utilize two lines and would additionally be quite precarious.

In the northern-most portion of Minnesota, ice fishing might be a possibility. But it could also be a very dangerous endeavor. Making a haphazard decision to fish on the ice for the purpose of using two lines isn’t a wise decision, unless the ice is very strong.

The DNR offers recommendations of minimum ice thickness for travel on foot, with ATV or snowmobile, small vehicles and large vehicles, but in the spring, those recommendations change entirely.

As the snow begins to melt, the resulting water travels through holes and cracks in the ice, even gradually seeping through solid ice. In other words, the integrity of the ice changes dramatically, which is why the DNR recommendations are only for clear, solid ice.