BLUE EARTH COUNTY, Minn. -
After waiting out a cold spring, the moment fisherman have been eyeing is almost here.
The state's fishing opener begins on Saturday. Of course that means many anglers will be hitting area lakes to drop a line in the water.
Walt's Hook Line & Sinker has been preparing for the opener as well.
"Traffic has been good--license sales about average here," said Walter Hohn, Walt's Hook Line & Sinker owner.
But with the spring the way it's been, Hohn says the weather has taken a bite out of the bottom line.
"So far this spring with the snow and everything, it's been a little slower," Hohn said.
Right now conditions are especially colder up in Northern Minnesota, where some lakes still have ice on them. More boat traffic is being expected on southern Minnesota lakes. And if you plan to be out on the water, the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office wants you to know they have a boat too, and they'll be present during the fishing opener.
"We'll be out patrolling the lakes and rivers of Blue Earth County," said Deputy Kyle Phillips of the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office.
Life jacket compliance will be a significant part of the water patrols.
"We want to see that all children 10 and under, per state law, are wearing life jackets," said Phillips.
Authorities say there has to be a life vest available for every person on a boat. And with cold water temperatures, authorities say life jackets are especially critical.
"The water temperature right now is a little cooler than it normally is. Prolonged exposure to the water could lead to an increased risk of hypothermia," said Phillips.
Authorities will also be checking fishing licenses as well to make sure all anglers are playing by the rules.
If your boat is 16 feet in length or longer, authorities say you must also have a cushion on board that can be thrown.