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Fishing Opener: Will there be ice on the lakes this year?

The biggest question for this year’s fishing opener is whether or not anglers will be ice fishing or if the lakes will actually be open in the next couple weeks.

With fishing opener being May 11, the lakes are going to have to see some major sun pronto.

Only a few weeks ago, area lakes had well over two feet of solid ice still covering them. The ice melt has been a much slower process this spring due to the large amount of snow cover on the lakes. The sun had to melt the snow before it could start on the ice, which has caused the ice out date to be pushed into May this year.

Last year’s record ice out for Detroit Lake was March 23, one of the earliest recorded. And a far cry from this year’s date. Becker County isn’t alone though either.

According to the Star Tribune, nine of the top 10 most popular walleye lakes in Minnesota may likely be ice-covered at opener time. The lakes account for about one-third of the state’s entire walleye harvest.

The top 10 lakes are Vermilion, Kabetogama, Rainy, Mille Lacs, Lake of the Woods, Leech, Winnibigoshish, Cass, Upper Red Lake — all in northern Minnesota — and Lake Pepin in southern Minnesota, which already is ice-free, the Tribune article states.

This year’s coveted Governor’s Fishing Opener will be hosted in Park Rapids. The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition since 1948, and is considered to be the kick-off to tourism in Minnesota.