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It’s also thrown off the spawning schedule of walleye, said Dirk Peterson, fisheries chief for the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Usually by the opener, female walleyes have had a chance to lay their eggs. The DNR typically closes off some areas to fishing to protect spawning females, and this year some of those closures will be extended past the opener. (More information on the closures and which lakes are frozen can be found on the DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/opener/fishing/index.html).
The still-frigid water poses an additional safety hazard, Peterson said, advising anglers to dress warmly and make sure to use the proper flotation devices.
Sales of fishing licenses in the days leading up to the opener, usually a rush, also have chilled markedly compared to past years, signaling many anglers are in a holding pattern for this year’s opener. As of Wednesday, the DNR had sold a total of 170,751 licenses. Last year that number was 275,751. License sales typically pick up as the season goes on, usually reaching about 1 million.
Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @StribJAnderson
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