Archived Story

Zeal for early fishing opener fades in Senate

Published 11:16am Tuesday, April 17, 2012

By Tim Pugmire

Minnesota Public Radio News

A few weeks ago, northern Minnesota legislators were making a strong case for moving the start of fishing this year from May 12 to May 5. They highlighted the unseasonably warm weather, early ice outs on lakes and a fish spawn that was running well ahead of schedule.

But dropping temperatures may cool the effort. On the same morning that many fishing areas were digging out from an April snowfall, state Department of Natural Resources officials were raising concerns about an early opener. Dirk Peterson, DNR fisheries chief, told lawmakers Monday that spawning has slowed significantly.

State Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, said he hopes to head off an attempt to amend that bill with the earlier start date. Ingebrigtsen, of Alexandria, said the testimony helped change his mind.

“I was very open to this thing two weeks ago. I really was. People were excited about it,” Ingebrigtsen said. “But the change of weather and folks finally becoming informed about it definitely changed my mind. I’m certainly not in favor of it. I’ll be strongly against it on the Senate floor tomorrow, if it comes up. Now, it may not come up.”

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