WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 09, 2013, 06:05 PM

Minnesota fishing opener not ideal for anglers or businesses

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - For some, it's the defining day and weekend of the year: The Minnesota Fishing Opener. This year, Mother Nature is not cooperating.

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - For some, it's the defining day and weekend of the year: The Minnesota Fishing Opener. This year, Mother Nature is not cooperating.

First: the weather. John Wheeler says a cold front will blow in Saturday. The high will be in a low 50's with a strong breeze; not ideal for fishing.

Next, our late spring. A lot of area lakes will still have ice on the water. And that's not just bad for fishing, but businesses too.

Around this time of year this lot is usually empty. This is where TS Dock and Lift keeps all of its docks that are for sale or that have been sold, and since docks aren't getting put in they sit high and dry.

Nick Schons, TS Dock and Lift: “We're a good two to three weeks behind.”

Manager Nick Schons says the company hasn't put any docks in the water in the area, setting them back nearly 400 jobs.

Schons: “Last year was the earliest ever. We were about done with our dock and lift installs by now.”

Although the small amount of open water looks promising, it's not enough to help.

Schons: “You'll see it break up and it will all crush up on one shore line. We have to wait until all of that melts, because if the wind would change and blow the other way, most docks and lifts now are aluminum and that ice would just destroy them.”

And once the ice is gone, Schons says more setbacks will set in.

Schons: “We're going to be forced to work seven days a week once the ice does go out. I'm going to be paying our guys a ton of overtime.”

It's not just installation, overtime, and paying the 8 to 10 employees that will now need to be hired to catch up that are causing a strain.

Schons: “We've seen sales taper off now. When it gets this close to Memorial Day and people can’t use their new boat or pontoon yet, now they're thinking maybe we'll just use that old dock or lift for one more season.”

Maty Kumpula, Lakes Sport Shop: “It's been really slow, usually the license counter is backed up. People are way behind.”

During the fishing opener the Lakes Sport Shop here in Detroit Lakes usually holds its biggest sale on bait and tackle but this year it's been postponed.

Kumpula: “No sense in paying for advertisements if nobody is in to buy it.”

Ready or not the opener is here and it may be safe to say more people will be drilling holes to catch the big one.

Resorts in the area are still holding on hope that the opener will be a successful one.

Here at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes reservations are still holding strong. Most reservations are with locals, and those that are from out of town are keeping their reservations.

The Hotel Manager is remaining optimistic.

Doug Anselmin, Manager/Holiday Inn: “A lot of people playing the wait and see or taking a wait and see position. Reservations are starting to roll in because some people are optimistic that some of the lakes around here will open up, that our lake will be open and we'll be able to get boats in.”

Anselmin hopes to be fully booked by the weekend.