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‘Great day to be out’

Anglers enjoy pleasant weather on opening day on southwest Minnesota lakes

Photo by Jake Przytarski Above: A young fisherman tries his luck on the Lake Shetek shoreline on Saturday during the Minnesota fishing opener.

GARVIN — Blue skies and 70 degree heat brought eager anglers out in full force for Saturday’s fishing opener with lakes across the region packed with people of all ages.

The large crowds come as no surprise, though, as the DNR reported it had sold 286,086 fishing licenses by May 1 — the highest mark in at least 21 years.

Over on Lake Sarah in Murray County, Marshall resident Jim Kontz was preparing to get his boat on the water in the hopes of landing some walleyes using leeches, night crawlers and possibly trolling plugs with a Rapala lure. Whether the fish were biting was less of a concern for Kontz as he was simply thrilled to be outside on such a beautiful day.

“It’s really exciting. It’s opening (day), it’s always a time to just get out,” said Kontz. “It’s probably one of the nicest days we’ve had on the water for an opener in so long. Now, I don’t know if the fishing will be that good, but either way it’s great day to be out.”

A little over four miles away on Lake Shetek, the shorelines and docks were lined with anglers trying their luck in search of panfish and catfish. Joshua Kleve was one of those fishermen who had already had some success early on in the afternoon off the dock.

“I’m using a fathead (minnow) and a worm. It’s going pretty good. I caught a catfish and a sunfish,” said Kleve.

Further down the shoreline Deb Staples of Slayton sat comfortably near the water with her fishing pole in hand taking in the lovely weather as she waited for her bobber to dip under water for a bite.

“Oh it’s beautiful. It’s wonderful to be out here in this beautiful country,” said Staples, sitting beside her husband Richard Staples.

Normally out on their boat for fishing openers, Deb Staples said the two had to make some adjustments this year as it’s currently out of commission. Undeterred, the two enjoyed fishing the old fashioned way with panfish as their target for the day.

“Well, (we’re) kinda (aiming for whatever comes by) but also I like to catch some crappies and perch,” she said. “We keep them and fry ’em up and have a meal from them. We’re fishermen.”

If you’re looking to get out on the water at Lake Sarah, Shetek or any one of the lakes in southwest Minnesota, you can visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/outlooks.html for tips and important information. Or you can visit https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/index.html to find the nearest lake in your area.

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