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If you're looking to get out on the water and wet a line during Minnesota's Fishing Opener, there's one thing that could throw a wrench in your plans this year.

Minnesota's Fishing Opener is set for May 13th, 2023. And, yeah, it's a big deal. In fact, it's such a big deal that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has an entire section of its website devoted to the annual opening of Minnesota's walleye, sauger, and northern pike seasons.

While the sometimes unpredictable spring weather here in the Gopher State often plays a role in how successful (or not) your opening fishing weekend might be, there's one OTHER thing that could potentially ruin your plans to get out on the water and cast a line this year.

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And that would be a shortage of bait, specifically minnows. Wait, what? How does Minnesota have a shortage of minnows this year? According to several bait and fishing experts, there are two main reasons.

According to Outdoor Life, fishing is VERY popular here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. OL noted that about 30 percent of Minnesotans (roughly 1.4 million) buy a fishing license every year, which creates an economic impact of close to 4 billion dollars. So, that means there is a lot of demand for minnows.

Meanwhile, the minnow population in the Bold North was already declining. KSTP noted that the DNR said the state's supply of minnows was down over 25 percent between 2017 and 2021. Then, parts of North Star State just went through an extremely snowy winter, which means natural minnow reproduction on snow-covered lakes across the state was reduced even more.

Those factors, coupled with restrictive laws in Minnesota that don't allow you to bring in live bait like minnows from neighboring states (Wisconsin, for instance, where the 2023 Fishing Opener is May 6th) and you have all the ingredients needed to create a real minnow shortage this year.

KSTP said that while many bait shops will likely have plenty of minnows for the Fishing Opener this weekend, keeping them stocked later this year could be a problem. If you're looking to get out a take in some fishing this year, you can learn more about Minnesota's fishing regulations here.

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