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Minnesota’s fishing opener is May 15 this year

Fishing seasons open for walleye, bass, trout in lakes, and northern pike on Saturday, May 15, with this year’s date taking the prize for the latest possible opener under Minnesota statute.

“We know there is some confusion about this year’s opener date,” said Jon Hansen, fisheries program consultant for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Minnesota statute sets the fishing opener as the Saturday two weeks prior to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. This year, with Memorial Day the latest it can be, on May 31, that puts the fishing opener on Saturday, May 15.

Also related to May fishing, there is an error in the printed version of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations book regarding the dates for the 2021 Take a Mom Fishing Weekend.

The correct dates for this year’s Take a Mom Fishing Weekend—when Minnesota-resident moms can fish without purchasing a license—are Saturday, May 8, to Sunday, May 9. That special weekend is defined in Minnesota statutes as the weekend that coincides with Mother’s Day. Most years, under Minnesota law, the fishing opener and Take a Mom Fishing Weekend fall on the same weekend, but not this year.

“We encourage Minnesota moms to get out and fish for free on May 8 and 9,” Hansen said. “Even though the walleye season won’t be open, there are still plenty of fun and easy fishing opportunities for crappie, sunfish, or even under-appreciated fish like buffalo, sucker, bullhead or sheepshead.”

Fishing season dates, and the corrected Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook, are available online at mndnr.gov/fishing.