Anglers who have traditionally headed north for the first weekend of the season should check ice conditions and the availability of public water accesses and roads leading to them. Good sources of information are bait shops, resorts and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) area offices at www.mndnr.gov/contact/locator.html.
Even if the ice is out, some waters traditionally open may be closed to fishing to protect fish spawning areas. Information on seasonal closures is available by following the seasonal closures link at www.mndnr.gov/fishing or www.mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.
Water temperatures will be colder than normal even if ice is out. Frigid water can affect more than the bite; it can have dangerous and potentially fatal impacts. Anglers should exercise extra caution and wear life vests. Hypothermia occurs quickly in cold water and the shock of falling into icy water also can cause cardiac arrest, even for people in good health.
For information about this year's walleye and northern pike opener, visit www.mndnr.gov/opener/fishing.