Not many boats were on the water Tuesday in Detroit Lakes, but Quality Bait & Tackle still saw a few customers.
The shop expects to see many more during the walleye opener Saturday, May 9.
Shop owner Matthew Omstad barely made it back to the U.S. from a fishing trip in Canada when the country shut down non-essential travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. When he got back to Detroit Lakes toward the end of March, he was forced to temporarily close Quality Bait & Tackle, missing out on his typical late-winter customers.
"Rainy river fishing and that kind of stuff, usually that's a big rush right at the end of the year, and right at ice out," Omstad said. "We never had that, which is unfortunate."
Omstad said there is a silver lining. If he had to pick a time of year to close, that would be it. The shop did not lose a lot of money.
With the walleye opener on and his shop back open, Omstad has been wiping down surfaces constantly. Bait supply is steady — other than minnows, which are in short supply because of the cold water, not because of the pandemic. So far, he's seeing many customers pick up bait for crappie fishing.
From what Omstad has heard and seen out on the lakes, people are tired of being cooped up inside because of the pandemic. Fishing might be the best way to get out, he said.
"I don't believe any fisherman will say that they're happy when another guy shows up within six feet of them fishing," Omstad said.