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Brad Laabs column: How the recent weather will impact fishing opener

After a record-breaking string of unfortunate weather, this year's fishing opener will likely suffer

Forum Columnist Brad Laabs.jpg
Fishing Columnist Brad Laabs

DETROIT LAKES – Most years, we have smaller ponds and lakes opening around this time. Not this year.

We will not have open lakes until much later than we would all like. The latest opening day I can recall for walleye season was May 12, the Saturday before Mother’s day, in 2013.

Park Rapids was hosting the Governor’s open that year. A few ice fished, but most did not fish at all. Heavy winds that Saturday opened many other lakes, so anglers were able to launch boats to save their opening weekend tradition.

That year, Joe Roach, one of his sons and I pushed a flat bottom boat onto Buck Lake. It had just opened up on Friday before the opener. With his T8 Yamaha on the back, we were able to fish even in the high winds and boat some opening day walleyes on the open water.

Everything was so late. Walleyes were still in many of the rivers, and the DNR had to close fishing areas for the opener.


It could be another one of those years, but I am counting on the significant weather pattern that is forecast to hold. I hope for at least a week of open water this year before the walleye opener.

The DNR may have to make some decisions on the river fish again this year. However, things can change in a hurry with nice weather, sunshine, rain and wind.

This winter and spring have been for the records. It has been hanging on longer than most of us can tolerate. We are all more than ready for this winter and spring to be over, to see the snow gone, the lakes open up and the nice weather to be here for at least a few months.

The very good news is that the low lake levels we had all of last year will not be a thing this year. With the significant snow this winter, the snow melt, heavy snows of this late spring and the rains, all the rivers and lakes will be in great shape and back to normal levels. Lake accesses will be in good form, and loading boats will not be the challenge it was at many accesses last summer and fall.

Look for water temps to be much colder than normal for the opener. The spot tail shiner run may be delayed, making a difference in walleye location. It will be essential to look for warmer water.

The crappie bite looks like it will be just getting into full swing by the time we get to the opener. The opener is only three short weeks away. If you haven’t started getting yourself ready, now is a good time to get organized.

I will be writing more about opening day considerations in a couple more weeks. We should be able to predict a little more by then what kind of situation we will be dealing with for the famed Minnesota walleye opener.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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