MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Saturday, Minnesotans will launch their boats in search of open water for the annual fishing opener.

With a wintry spring, here are some tips to navigate this weekend opener that may involve a bit of ice.

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Local guide Steve Carney’s been fishing South Dakota and the rivers the past month. His easy advice for anglers this week? Go south.

“I’m recommending to a lot of people to stick to southern Minnesota,” he said. “Highway 12 — as it goes all the way across the state — stay south of it. Water temperatures will be in the low 40s … that’s going to be a good bite.”

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Carney will start in the southwest Minnesota, where he’s had success before. And he will seek out lakes of a particular size.

“Eight hundred acres, 1,200 acres,” Carney said. “Work these fish who’ve had open water for about a week or so, and that allows water temperature into the 40s.”

And like all optimistic anglers, there is a silver lining to this spring — it will change our fishing summer.

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“The bad news is we’re losing a few weeks early, but the good side is I think it’ll get extended into later July instead of tailing off,” he said. “I think we’ll have a good July. “

Mike Max