MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The walleye opener is just 11 days away, and anglers could be dealing with some shallow lakes.

The majority of the state — about 92 percent — is experiencing moderate drought conditions.

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Less than 20 percent of the state was that dry last year at this time. Some Twin Cities lakes have seen shorelines grow by several feet.

It’s the first outing of the year for fishing buddies Tsha Her and Thar Tho.

“It’s a lot lower than last year when we began fishing,” Her said.

But before the challenge of catching fish comes the challenge of simply getting their canoe onto the lake.

“I’ve heard it’s gone down a little bit,” Tho said. “As you can see, it’s a lot lower than we expected.”

Pike Lake in Maple Grove isn’t the only lake down. Total snowfall for the season was 22 inches below average, and we’re also behind on rainfall.

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Joe Harty of Harty’s Boats and Bait says Medicine Lake is way down.

“It could easily be up to the boulders,” Harty said.

He says it’s the complete opposite of last spring.

“Last year we had record level twice,” he said. “Twice!”

Lower lake levels could cause issues for larger boats on some lakes. But the fishing should still be good, as a bald eagle we saw found out.

“The water temp is the same, although the lower levels push the fish, condenses the area they are in,” Harty said. “We could use another foot of lake level, no problem.”

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Ice out on Medicine Lake was March 29, which is nearly a month earlier than it was a year ago.

John Lauritsen