LAKE MINNETONKA, Minn. (WCCO) – Anglers looking to nab a pike, bass or walleye finally have the chance to once again throughout the state of Minnesota.
Dubbed the “unofficial start to summer”, the state’s fishing season began Saturday, drawing crowds along and on Lake Minnetonka.
“It’s a magical time for a lot of anglers, we’re ready to go,” said Dusty Hafner, who leads guided fishing tours along with his business designing custom rods and reels. “For me, I look forward to just getting back in the boat. We do a lot of guide trips. For me, I love working with people, I love helping them catch fish, for me, that’s just what we do here.”
The demand for a fishing license in Minnesota reached an all time peak during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as outdoor recreation soared in popularity. Headed into the weekend opener, fishing license applications were down nearly 25%. Still, people along the lake reveled in a chance to cast off.
“It’s relaxing, you know, you get better and better every year,” said an angler named Archie fishing underneath the Narrows Bridge on Tonka Bay. “I’m a disabled veteran, and for the first two years, the only thing I could do was sit in my wheelchair and fish so I could get out of the house.”
Saturday’s weather made a perfect backdrop for opening day, with an encore performance of sunshine and low-70s temperatures slated for Sunday.
“I could always clean house and do dishes, I’d rather be doing this,” Archie said.