Video: On patrol with a Conservation Officer on Fishing Opener
May 17, 2019 06:22AM
DNR Conservation Officers checked a boat on Fish Lake on the opening day of the Minnesota Fishing season. Photo: WDIO/Dan Williamson
From WDIO-TV - March 17, 2019
About a half million anglers casted a line somewhere on Minnesota last saturday for the inland fishing opener. It was big day for anglers and officials.
There were the sounds of the shore as boats were bound for their secret spots in hopes of walleyes in the water. Perhaps pike and bass too. Everyone looked to land a lunker.
"The anticipation is high to get out on the water and catch a walleye for the first time of the year," says Grant Sorensen, host of Superior Angling Co. on WDIO.
"Opener is a tradition for a lot of people and I think what is special about it is that we see families together," says Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Conservation Officer Kipp Duncan.
Duncan and other DNR Conservation Officers hope to see success. They also want anglers to stay safe and stick to the rules. The DNR was busy this past weekend.
"We will identify ourselves and we will let you know that we are going to pull up and touch your boats and check angling licenses and safety equipment and sometimes, we will ask you to move your fishing pole and move it to the other side of the boat or maybe we will need you to reel in. It is a quick check and it shouldn't take very long, but it is a regulated check," says Duncan.
WDIO tagged along with he and fellow CO Andy Schmidt on Saturday on Fish Lake.
"Our main focus is just checking anglers and regulatory checks and fishing licenses, but also safety equipment and life jackets and throw able life jackets. We did run into a few things this morning - extra lines, registration issues on boats and we actually had a couple of life jacket issues this morning too," says Schmidt.
Sizes and slot limits were checked too. For anglers, some had fish in their live wells, but it seemed that on this day, the fish wanted to stay in Fish Lake.
"We haven't figured out the secret yet - we have to figure that out," says Jackson Manthey, an angler from Duluth.
Sometimes, it is a simple strategy.
"Get bait and then we would put it in the water and then a fish would bite," says August Fried, a young angler from Duluth.
But whether there's a bite or not, opener doesn't have to disappoint.
"It is spectacular and catching fish is a bonus," says Brent Anderson of Wausau, Wisconsin. He's a former Fredenberg Township resident.
The memories made are why so many are hooked on fishing.
For opener reports for DNR officers in the area, click here.
Watch the WDIO-TV Fishing Opener Report here