Minnesota DNR repeats message: Fish the opener close to home

Officials said the point is to protect rural communities often home to older populations who are more vulnerable to COVID-19.

011319.N.DNT.newDNRcomsihC1 -- Sarah Strommen is Minnesota's new Department of Natural Resources commissioner.
Sarah Strommen is Minnesota's new Department of Natural Resources commissioner.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials on Wednesday repeated what has become their mantra in recent weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic: Get outside and recreate, including fishing Saturday on the state’s walleye opener, but don’t travel far to do it.

“We need for Minnesotans to fish close to home,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “This is not the time to travel long distances to fish since travel can spread the COVID-19 virus, particularly to rural communities that may have more virus-vulnerable populations.”

The DNR got a little more specific this time, saying fishing close to home means no overnight stays, bringing all your supplies so you don’t have to stop, and don’t go farther than a single tank of gas will take you round-trip. State officials also said people should fish only with people in their households and to maintain a safe distance from others at boat landings and docks.

Strommen suggested finding new, less-popular, out-of-the-way places to fish close to home, maybe for species other than walleye. If a boat landing looks crowded, have a backup second choice.

While all overnight campgrounds are closed, lodges and motels are open. But Strommen said overnight travel for fishing isn't following the spirit of the state's stay-at-home guidelines.


Fishing licenses can be purchased online at or call 888-665-4236.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at
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