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Nice weather attributed for boost in fishing sales

Lake-bound patrons line up to be waited on by Bud Ode on Saturday at Bud's Sports Center in Lake Park.David Samson / The Forum

Being stuck indoors for the fishing opener isn't necessarily a bad thing - even when the weather is perfect for fishing.

Workers at local bait shops were having a heyday on Saturday's Minnesota fishing opener with the fantastic weather bringing in customers by the dozen.

"There have been a lot of people," said Bud Ode as he furiously worked his cash register behind the counter at Bud's Sport Shop in Lake Park, Minn. "But when the weather is like this, more people come out.

"We opened at 5 in the morning, and it's been like this pretty steady."

Ode has been the Bud in Bud's Sport Shop for nearly 39 years, and his lobby was packed all morning on Saturday.

Other bait shops found themselves busy much earlier. D&H Bait a mile-and-a-half east of Dilworth was open until 1 a.m. on Friday, and had droves of people coming in until around midnight.

"It was going all night for us here," said Dale Scholtes, owner of D&H Bait. "For awhile there, people could hardly get in the door."

The opener is usually one of the busiest days of the year for bait shop owners, but Saturday's bait and license sales were booming compared to recent years.

"This is one of the nicer openers that we've had since I can remember, and I've been here a long time," Ode said. "For many, many years, it's been cold or windy or rainy.

"People don't want to be out in that. They want to be out in a day like this."

Scholtes also had a hard time remembering the last opener with weather like this weekend's.

"We haven't had a decent opener in, I would say, roughly 12 years," Scholtes said. "And I say roughly because I know it's been awhile since we've had one as nice as this.

"But I know that it's been quite a change since the last few openers."

Shiner minnows were big sellers early for both Ode and Scholtes early, but Scholtes said that the nice weather lately has the shiner counts down.

"They've been a little hard to come by because they ran three weeks ago when the weather got nice," Scholtes said. "We're getting a little sprinkling of them now."

The customers haven't been sprinkling in, however. Ode didn't have time for any kind of break Saturday morning, as his store was filled with the chatter of customers, the dings from trucks (nearly all of which were towing boats) pulling up to his gas pumps and the non-stop beeps from his cash register.

"It's all weather related," Ode said. "When it's exceptional, things are going to be busier. It makes a big difference for everybody.

"Nobody wants to be miserable when they're fishing."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548