More than a half million people participated in the Minnesota fishing opener Saturday and Sunday. Those trying their luck in this area had mixed reviews on their success, but everyone seemed happy to be out on the water after the long winter.
Lynn Nelson, a summer resident of Nevis, went out before dawn on Fish Hook Lake and caught his limit of six walleye in about eight feet of water using a Lindy Rig with shiners. He said his walleye averaged about 17 inches. He said he enjoyed eating them, too.
"I used Shore Lunch breading with an egg wash," he said. "I do it in the breading twice with the egg wash in the middle."
Nelson describes himself as "a lifelong angler," but says that doesn't guarantee a successful opener.
"I give it a whirl, like the rest," he said.
Later in the morning, he headed to the Long Lake Access fill to see if his luck would continue with smaller fish. "I caught some crappies," he said.
Kenny and Jodi Williams of Plymouth came to their Lake George cabin for the opener. They said they were enjoying being out on the water on 11th Crow Wing with their golden retriever, Nica, but were not having much luck with fishing as of late Saturday morning.
Teresa Leshovsky, member and guest service agent for the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber, took part in the opener with her kids on Lake Belle Taine near Nevis.
"It was a complete success for us," she said. "My son, Zach, caught a couple of bass. We did catch and release. I know the muskies were biting, too, and saw some pictures of people catching walleye."
She said they went out both Saturday and Sunday. "Saturday was windy, choppy and almost impossible to fish," Leshovsky said. "It depended on what part of the lake you were on, too, because some spots were breezier. We caught the fish on Sunday."
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspectors were at every location, checking boats as they came in and out of the water.
"It's opening day for the AIS inspectors, too," Jeff Mosner said.
Mosner, who has been inspecting boats for three years, said he was not seeing any problems with invasive species Saturday morning.
"There are two reasons for that, I think," he said. "The first is that it is early in the season and many people are just getting their boats out of storage. The second is I think our education efforts are paying off, and people understand the need for the rules and are doing what they can."