Mother’s Day weekend is the typically the fishing season opener around the state. With roughly half a million expected to angle for walleye, sauger, northern pike and trout starting on May 12, here are some tips for a safe and successful 2018 fishing outing.
Take mom along
Many in lakes country enjoy the tradition of buying a Mom a fishing license for Mother’s Day, which also happens to be Take a Mom Fishing Weekend, where Moms who are residents of Minnesota can fish without a license from Saturday, May 12, to Sunday, May 13. It’s also a big garage sale-ing weekend, so there many dry land activities going on.
Purchase a fishing license
Other than MN moms, all other anglers from the ages of 16 to 89 are required to have a valid fishing license this weekend, and there are many ways to get one. Many big box retailers, bait shops and even C-stores are authorized by the DNR to sell a license. You can also purchase a license online with a mobile or desktop device or by phone at (888) 665-4236.
Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers, but don’t forget to take your phone along. Licenses must be in anglers’ possession when fishing or traveling from an area they were fishing.
Enforcement officers note the top two fishing-related regulation violations are not having a license in possession, and not having a valid license.
Waters are still icy cold, and anglers are strongly encouraged to wear a life jacket. Annually, about thirty percent of boating fatalities are due to cold water drownings, and a life jacket is the best defense to survive a plunge. Here’s why. Cold water shock triggers a “gasp reflex” that can incapacitate even fit, strong swimmers. A life jacket keeps your head above water and gives you much better odds to survive. If the worst does happen, train your brain to take few seconds to relax, tread water and breath until help arrives.
New regs on northern pike
When catching pike, measure first before deciding whether to keep- new regulations have three zones to address the different pike populations in inland waters.
Measuring fish: lay your catch flat on its side, spread the tail from tip to tip, and measure from the nose or jaw (whichever is longer) to the farthest tip of the tail when fully extended.
It’s always a good idea to pick up the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Regulations Booklet, and check any special regulations that apply to individual lakes, rivers and streams you are on. You can also check regulations and find lake information on the DNR’s Fish Minnesota page.
Public access issues
The very late ice out this season has made it difficult for the DNR to have all 1,500 public water accesses it manages ready in time. Also, some rivers and lakes are at flood levels and require boaters to operate at slower speeds. Check the water access page for details on the lakes or river you plan to fish.
Pike added to record breakers
The DNR’s record a fish program has been expanded to include catch and release northern pike. Check out the details for pike, lake sturgeon, muskellunge and flathead catfish on the record fish page.