Minnesota's 2013 fishing opener

  • What: Opening of fishing for walleye, northern pike, lake trout and -- north and east of U.S. Highway 53 -- bass.
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  • When: Season opens at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
  • Licenses: $22 for adult annual license; $5 for resident and nonresident youth ages 16 and 17 annual license; $45 for adult nonresident annual license; $35, resident combination annual license (married couples). Available at all license outlets or online at mndnr.gov.
  • Fishing closures: Some areas that are not normally closed on opening weekend or after will be closed this year. Among them are the Cut Foot Sioux flowage near Lake Winnibigoshish (closed upstream of Williams Narrows through May 17) and a large portion of Pipestone Bay on Basswood Lake near Ely, plus other areas along the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais. For a complete listing, go to mndnr.gov or check signs at local landings.
  • Bait shortages: Shiner minnows probably will be unavailable or in short supply. Leeches are likely to be unavailable. Fathead minnows and night crawlers should be available in good quantities.
  • Cold water: Water temperatures will be lower than normal even if ice is out. Anglers should exercise extra caution and wear life vests, DNR officials said.

    Hypothermia occurs quickly in cold water, and the shock of falling into icy water also can cause cardiac arrest.

    Mille Lacs rewards

    Anglers who catch a Mille Lacs Lake walleye with an orange tag on its body can receive a free fishing lure if they return that tag to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The offer is part of a broad effort to better understand the lake's walleye population.

    DNR fisheries biologists are tagging and releasing 20,000 walleyes in the lake. A new walleye population estimate will be based on the number of tagged fish captured in survey nets after spawning is completed. The tags will be labeled "REWARD."

    Anglers who catch a fish with such a tag should remove it from the fish, even if the fish is released. Tags should be returned to DNR Fisheries, 1200 Minnesota Ave. S., Aitkin, MN 56431. Tag return boxes also will

    be available at several businesses around the lake, or anglers can simply mail them to the address on "REWARD" signs posted at the boat accesses.