MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s hard to believe that just last week, it was snowing in Minnesota.

Now, it’s already time for thousands of anglers to head out on the lake for the Fishing Opener this weekend.

Fishing isn’t just fun, it means a big boost in profits for businesses across the state. From the boat to the fishing rods to the bait to the license, a lot goes in to netting a couple fish. Sport fishing in Minnesota contributes about $4 billion to the state economy.

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Those funds are especially important in the rural parts of our state that don’t see the same traffic throughout the year as the metro area.  The fishing opener marks the start of the busy season at DH Custom Rods and Tackle in Wayzata.

Owner Dustin Hafner says by about 5 a.m. Saturday, there will be a line outside his store of people eager to buy live bait.

“A couple years ago we stayed open all night for the guys that want to come in at 12 o’clock. Live bait, primarily. They want to get their bait for their day on the water,” Hafner said.

We have thousands of fishable lakes here in our state, and if you head out on the water this weekend, you’ll have some company. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources expects 500,000 anglers to participate in the Fishing opener this weekend, and they want to make sure they all stay safe.

“Even if the ice is out and the sun is shining the water is still 40 to 50 degrees in the morning, so we have to make sure that we are adhering to all of our safety steps. Whether that be wearing your safety vest, and having one readily available to you,” DNR Conservation Officer Chelsea Leuthardt said.

Starting this weekend, anglers can catch walleye, pike and trout. Some parts of the state can also start fishing for large and small-mouth bass as well.

The fishing season officially starts at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The fishing season lasts until February.


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