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Photo Gallery: Family traditions renewed on Minnesota's fishing opener

May 13, 2018 04:29PM ● By Editor

11-year-old Damitre Jordan (right) and his grandmother Addie Jordan enjoy a leisurely morning fishing together at Vadnais Lake for the Minnesota fishing opener on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Liam James Doyle for MPR News


By Nina Moini of Minnesota Public Radio News - May 12, 2018


Thousands of Minnesotans headed to lakes and rivers Saturday for the state's fishing opener.

It's the day each year when anglers can officially start fishing for and keeping prized catches of species such as walleye and northern pike.

Nikls Chang of St Paul casts his line at Vadnais Lake
20-year-old Nikls Chang of St. Paul casts his line at Vadnais Lake for the Minnesota fishing opener on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Liam James Doyle for MPR News

It took a lot of patience for Minnesotans to make it through the long winter to reach this spring's opener — and it's that patience, lifelong fisherman Walter Jordan said, that's the most important virtue a good angler needs.

"It's just a day we can get out and relax and try to get some fish," said Jordan, who was fishing for anything he could get on the east side of Vadnais Lake near St. Paul. 

Lawn chairs and snacks in tow, Jordan was keeping up a fishing opener family tradition with three generations along for the day — his cousin Isaac Combs, mother Addie Jordan and 11-year-old son Damitre.

Mike Hoey left of Anoka helps his grandson Hunter Johnson
Mike Hoey (left) of Anoka helps his grandson, Hunter Johnson, showing him how to properly bait his fishing hook at Vadnais Lake near St. Paul for the Minnesota fishing opener on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Liam James Doyle for MPR News

"I just love fishing, period," Addie Jordan said.

A truth every parent can relate to, Walter Jordan said, is that it's hard to find activities for the entire family to enjoy.

"This is definitely something different from all the video games, sitting around and doing nothing. It is a way to get out of the house, get a little exercise in, and relaxation," he said.

Isaac Combs casts his line
Isaac Combs casts his line, enjoying a leisurely morning with family at Vadnais Lake near St. Paul for the Minnesota fishing opener on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Liam James Doyle for MPR News


A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey showed that Minnesotans enjoy fishing for walleye the most, followed by northern pike and muskies.

There are more than 11,000 lakes and 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams in the state, holding 162 species of fish.

While some popular fishing spots across the state were crowded Saturday, 20-year-old Nikls Chang said he preferred to try his odds alone. He set up several yards away from other anglers on Vadnais Lake.

Hunter Johnson realizes his fishing line has become tangled
Hunter Johnson realizes his fishing line has become tangled, accompanied by his grandfather, Mike Hoey, at Vadnais Lake for the Minnesota fishing opener on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Liam James Doyle for MPR News


He said it sometimes takes the sound of nothing to drown out a lot of the noise that many people carry in their heads.

"That's one of the things about fishing — it's not always about catching the fish, it's just the experience with nature and feeling the breeze," he said.

This year's opener brought average weather, with temperatures in the 60s and a few rain showers in southern Minnesota. 

It wasn't lost on the anglers at Vadnais Lake just how special an average day of fishing can be.

"It's beautiful," Walter Jordan said. "Hopefully, it carries on for when they have children one day they have something that they can fall back on and teach their kids."

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