Minnesotans hit the water for fishing opener despite cold weather and pandemic

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Saturday’s fishing opener in Minnesota was a chance for people to get some fresh air, and many did, in spite of cold temperatures in the morning and strong winds.

At White Bear Lake, anglers said they were excited to get out on the water.

Gunner Carlson and his brother Tanner got an early start from their home in Stillwater, running on about three hours of sleep.

“Yeah, it was time to get out of the house,” Gunner said. “Good to get away for a little bit and relax.”

Carlson said it got pretty busy, which was no surprise to bait shop employees like Touachongka Xong, who have seen business surge this week.

Xong is the manager of Kathy’s Live Bait in St. Paul.

“People don’t like to stay home,” he said. “A lot of people say, ‘my kid wants to go do something,’ and I say, ‘if your kid wants to do something, take them fishing.’”

Anglers were mindful of social distancing, especially on the boat launches.

“We just wait till one boat gets off the dock and then the next boat goes on so it’s been going well from what I’ve been viewing today,” said Paul Seiler of Saint Anthony Village.

At Kathy’s Live Bait, only two customers are allowed inside at a time. All employees wear masks and gloves too.

Once the gear’s been bought and the boats shove off, that’s when families can let their concerns melt away.

“It’s awesome,” Seiler said. He was with his two sons. “We had fun today. We joked around, caught some fish.”

The DNR is urging people to fish close to home as a way to protect rural communities from the virus.

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