MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It looks like a lot more Minnesotans have gone fishing this year compared to years past. In fact, the DNR says more than half a million fishing licenses have been sold this season.

It’s the most sold in Minnesota in nearly 10 years. Father’s Day, of course, is one of the most popular days to hit the lake.

WCCO-TV went to a popular bait shop near Medicine Lake to figure out why sales are booming.

“It’s almost like the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby, people are lined up and they are ready to roll! And they’re running in to get their licenses,” said owner of Harty’s Bait and Boat Shop.

Much like a florist prepares for Valentine’s Day, the Harty’s prepare for Father’s Day.

“This is like the 45th Father’s Day that I’ve worked,” Harty said. ”I was a little kid, now I’m a big ol’ kid.”

Harty says he’s learned one thing for certain: clouds won’t keep fathers from the lake.

“Mother’s Day, a whole different deal. Father’s Day, just give me my fishing pole and a boat, I don’t care if it’s raining,” Harty said.

Harty says business has been booming for months now.

“They’re definitely coming out in numbers and buying the licenses. I think we just sold five in the last 20 minutes,” Harty said.

An early ice-out is one of the many reasons Harty believes customers bought their licenses early.

“Definitely, after the ice went out, you could tell traffic was picking up there,” Harty said.

Add that to good fishing reports that help to keep the anglers right here in Minnesota.

“We got some great panfish, nice sunnies, nice croppies, bass are everywhere, pike are on attack mode,” Harty said.

Right now, one day licenses cost $9.30 and full season licenses range from $12 to $18.

Next year, hikes to fishing and hunting licenses will take effect. License sales help to pay for lake maintenance and stocking the lake with fish. Harty says he thinks anglers understand this costs money and he suspects he won’t see too much of a kick back.


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