Bait shops prepare for big business for Minnesota fishing opener

DULUTH, Minn. (Northern News Now) – With just a few hours before half a million anglers hit the lakes, many Northland bait shops are preparing for a wave of customers.

Jack Witte will be one of the hundreds of thousands of anglers heading out on the water for the 2024 Minnesota Fishing Opener.

“I hopes it’s gonna be good, usually tends to be,” said Witte, “Red Lake usually pushes out pretty good fish.”

After being away for a few years in Hawaii for the Marine Corps, he says he’s glad to have some much-needed family time out on the lake.

“They usually do it once a year and I get to be a part of it this year so I’m excited for that,” said Witter.

As anglers like Witte rush to get last-minute supplies, bait shop owner Jason Manning of Fredenberg Minno-ette is prepared for the rush of customers all weekend long.

“We’ve had a couple of rough winters as bait shop owners,” Manning said, “the ice fishing has not been good and so you hope for a really good summer to sustain winters like that.”

Manning says that the recent rain we’ve received has helped many of the lake levels get back to normal just in time for anglers to cast their lines.

“Island Lake is two feet below its summer target level,” Manning said. “Fish Lake is almost there, Rice Lake and a couple others, they’re all pretty much right there.”

Witte says he’s excited to be out on one of those lakes hoping to reel in a big catch this weekend.

“This year as many as we can get and then we’ll have a nice fish fry at the end,” said Witte.

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