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Anglers Headed to Rivers for Fishing Opener

Posted at: 05/10/2013 7:43 PM
Updated at: 05/11/2013 5:28 PM

The Minnesota fishing opener takes place Saturday, but icy lakes will keep anglers on rivers instead of lakes in Northern Minnesota. 

Grand Rapids is usually a hot spot for fishermen looking to hook a lunker on opening day, but this year it was little quiet. 

Ben Kellin owns a bait shop in town.  He said fishing license sales are down, but he thinks that will change once all the ice melts. In the meantime, Kellin said anglers will be packed in the Mississippi River that runs through Grand Rapids. 

"The river, the river, the river," Kellin said. "That's all we're hearing."

Steve Herschbach is one angler who will be found there Saturday. 

"Came in to get some minnows so we can go fishing on the river tomorrow," Herschbach said. 

Eyewitness News headed to the Mississippi Friday with Zach Dagel, the owner of Grand Rapids Guide Service. He said many lakes in the area still have about 15 inches of ice on them. 

"This is the first time that pretty much anyone can remember, in my generation at least, that we still have ice on the lakes," Dagel said. 

While fishing for pan fish, Dagel hooked a northern in about nine feet of water. The fish was released, but Dagel said he thinks the northern bite will be better than walleye Saturday. 

Icy waters didn't keep people from heading out to the Community BBQ Friday in Grand Rapids put together by the Chamber of Commerce. 

At the old central school there was music, food and boats for people to enjoy. 

"It doesn't seem to matter if it's raining, or if it's snowing, or if the winds blowing or the sun is shining," Chamber President Bud Stone said. "We get between 1,500 and 2,000 people that come by. Fishing opener isn't always about catching fish."

Stone said the wintry conditions are affecting business at area resorts. He said many people are hoping for a nicer Memorial Day weekend.