Minnesota DNR releases guidance for the Fishing Opener

Things will be a little bit different this year.

As thousands of Minnesotans prepare to take the lakes for Saturday's fishing opener, the Minnesota DNR has released guidelines for how to fish while maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There has been a huge rise in the number of fishing licenses being bought because, well, there are fewer recreational pursuits available during the Stay at Home order.

With big numbers expected to take to the lakes and cast their lines for walleye, bass and northerns, the DNR has some advice that anglers should be aware of before heading out.

The big one? Staying close–ish to home. A key tenet of the social distancing guidelines is that people don't venture too far afield, particularly to areas where there are fewer healthcare resources.

"We need for Minnesotans to fish close to home,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. "This is not the time to travel long distances to fish since travel can spread the COVID-19 virus, particularly to rural communities that may have more virus-vulnerable populations."

Don't know what "close to home" means? This is what the DNR suggest to use as the criteria:

  • No overnight stays.
  • Bring all needed supplies with you.
  • Only go as far as you can travel and return on a single tank of gas or single charge for EV drivers.

The DNR is advising people to limit their trips to grocery stores and gas stations in rural areas, given that it increases the potential of transmission to local residents who use the same services.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The fishing guidelines come in addition to the boating season guidelines, which state you should only boat with those in your household, and keep six foot distance from other boats at all times.

You should also give those ahead of you plenty of time to launch or load their boat before approaching, and be prepared for water access sites to be different this year, with DNR-managed accesses now having had any spring maintenance, while courtesy docks won't be in place in some locations.

The DNR is also advising people to buy their fishing licenses online to avoid crowding at license agents. You can do that here.

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Vikings place Adam Thielen on COVID-19/reserve list

Thielen is coming off a two-touchdown game against the Cowboys.

MCF Oak Park Heights

COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.



A fishing guide's 5 tips for catching walleye during the opener

Jason Freed says you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn.

boating minnesota lake

Ahead of Fishing Opener, DNR warns accesses may be in poor condition

The DNR has not been able to carry out its usual maintenance due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Egg take

Minnesota DNR cancels fish egg take in 2020

The DNR would typically harvest eggs and use them to replenish fish stocks in Minnesota lakes.

Governor's Fishing Opener will head towards the Iowa border in 2019

Fountain Lake in Albert Lea will have the honor of hosting the 2019 governor.

MN lakes becoming ice-free just in time for the fishing opener

Green Lake is the home of the 2018 Governor's Fishing Opener.

You might need ice augers for the MN fishing opener in May

Green Lake in Spicer still has 2 feet of ice on it.

school, students

Minnesota releases guidance for schools ahead of fall restart

They're being told to plan for 3 possible scenarios depending on the severity of COVID-19.


Minnesota will release back-to-school COVID-19 guidance on July 30

The state had said a decision would be made by next week.