No boat to float? Wet a line from piers, platforms

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 5, 2012 - 9:52 AM

There are 350 piers, platforms and shore-fishing sites in Minnesota.

view larger photos

  

Tracy Beager and his 12-year-old daughter, Kassia, of Rosemount watched their bobbers dance in the waves of motorboats that occasionally sped past the public pier they fished from Sunday at Crystal Lake in Burnsville.

"Usually if you get here in the morning, you can catch something," Tracy Beager said.

Dad and daughter didn't mind being boatless.

"I have a small boat," Beager explained while checking his minnow. "But I actually have more fun fishing from shore. Plus, the boat landing here usually is crowded; if there's no parking spot, you have to wait forever to launch your boat."

The Beagers were among seven anglers who enjoyed a bluebird summer morning to fish at the wooden pier -- one of 350 piers, platforms and shore- fishing sites in Minnesota. The state might have the highest number of boats per capita in the nation, with more than 800,000 registered, but there have never been more places to fish without floating a boat.

And those spots are enormously popular.

"Sometimes you get here and it's packed," said Carlos Rabago of Burnsville, who fished Crystal Lake for muskies, using a larger sucker minnow and heavy-duty fishing gear. He has no boat, but says the action can be good from shore. A friend recently landed a 43-inch muskie and Rabago said he caught a 36-incher.

"There's some nice fish in here," he said.

Launched in 1984, the program went through a building boom in the 1990s, though in recent years, funding shortages have resulted in more maintenance work than construction. However, the state added five new piers and replaced 15 others last year, using almost $600,000 in Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment dollars. The tally now includes 300 piers, 31 platforms and 22 shore-fishing sites.

"It's the most we've ever had," said Nancy Stewart, fishing pier coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. The goal of the piers and shore- fishing sites is to provide fishing opportunities for kids, older adults, those with disabilities and those without boats.

"They get a lot of use," Stewart said.

The piers often are the result of cooperative agreements with counties, cities or other governments. The land where they are installed often isn't owned by the state. There is more demand than money. "I have about 50 requests for piers," Stewart said.

Nearly all are floating piers, which rise and lower with water levels. They cost $25,000 to $35,000 to install, and are built by Minnesota prison inmates. They generally last 20 or so years before needing major repairs.

"They're not cheap, but it's not a bad investment for 20 to 25 years of fishing, either," Stewart said.

Municipalities, fishing groups and service clubs often raise money to pay for the piers, Stewart said.

Doug Smith • dsmith@startribune.com • Twitter: @dougsmithstrib

  • related content

  • Chart: Tips for fishing without a boat

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Minnesota has 350 fishing piers or shore-fishing sites where anglers can fish without a boat. No fishing gear? Thirty state parks and more than a dozen county facilities in the...

  • Trophy tales: Muskie catch and revive

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    (As told by dad, Bob Ponzetti)

  • State fishing report

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Lake Winnibigoshish: A large mayfly hatch has failed to hamper walleye fishing on the big lake. Walleyes are being caught on the humps in great numbers, and the only problem...

  • Gear alert!

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness paddlers who prefer eating fresh fish rather than freeze-dried whatever should take various plastic baits along. Among them: White pearl (bring other colors, too) Flukes...

  • Jay Cooke State Park remains closed

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Jay Cooke State Park in northeastern Minnesota will remain closed indefinitely because of damage from the recent flooding. The DNR anticipates losing about $175,000 in camping and lodging revenue while...

  • Photo gallery: Jay Cooke State Park flood damage

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    DNR, MnDOT to offer first look at flood damage inside Jay Cooke State Park and the closed section of...

  • North American duck breeding population at record high

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Results good news for duck hunters

  • Divers pull watermilfoil from Alexandria-area lake

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Divers have removed Eurasian watermilfoil from a newly discovered patch in Lake Le Homme Dieu near Alexandria, Minn., hoping to stop the spread of the invasive species in the lake.

  • Fisherman dies when storm capsizes boat in Itasca County

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Authorities in northern Minnesota recommended limited travel in residential areas Tuesday as they dealt with downed trees and power lines in the wake of severe storms that killed a fisherman.

  • Wis. DNR restricts fall wolf kill to 201 animals

    Tuesday July 3, 2012

    Hunters would be allowed to kill nearly a quarter of Wisconsin's wolves this winter under rules the state Department of Natural Resources proposed Tuesday, sparking a debate over whether the...

  • Fishing pier at Crystal Lake, Burnsville

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 11:10 AM
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 11:10 AM
Tampa Bay - D. Price
Arizona - W. Miley 11:35 AM
Cincinnati - A. Simon
Washington - T. Roark 11:40 AM
Miami - B. Hand
Oakland - J. Hammel 1:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 2:45 PM
San Francisco - T. Lincecum
LA Angels - G. Richards 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Seattle - F. Hernandez 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Kluber
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:08 PM
Detroit - M. Scherzer
Toronto - M. Buehrle 6:10 PM
Boston - B. Workman
Colorado - B. Anderson 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
NY Yankees - H. Kuroda 7:05 PM
Texas - C. Lewis
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - D. Duffy
Atlanta - A. Wood 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
St. Louis - J. Kelly 9:10 PM
San Diego - J. Hahn
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
D.C.
Colorado 6:30 PM
New England
Vancouver FC 7:30 PM
Chicago
Red Bull New York 8:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close