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home : sports / outdoors : sports/outdoors Monday, March 25, 2019

6/5/2017 4:25:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
For A Good Time, Go Fishing

By Deborah Locke

It's here. Minnesota's fishing season, known as the "fishing opener," was on May 13. That date warmed the hearts of the 1.5 million Minnesotans who love to fish as a sport and as a way to put food on the dinner table.

Among those 1.5 million Minnesotans are the Hmong, who are no strangers to fishing. The earliest records of Hmong settlements near rivers date to 3,000 B.C. when the people occupied the Yellow River Valley in China. You can bet they fished the Yellow River, and any body of water they lived near since.

Which takes us to today. For all of you who like getting outside, who like the challenge of pulling a nice sized fish from a lake or river, and who want to carry on a centuries-old tradition, May 13 was your day. The sport doesn't need fancy equipment, and it's not necessary to travel far throughout most of the state to find a lake, river or stream.

That's largely the result of the region's quantity and quality of water, encompassing a wide variety of angling opportunities. Three of the state's major rivers converge in the metro region - the Minnesota, the Mississippi and the St. Croix - as do numerous smaller rivers and streams, including the Rum and the Crow. You can catch a wide variety of different species, from walleye to bass to catfish. There are even some trout streams in the metro area. The Vermillion River in Dakota County, for example, is home to a naturally reproducing population of big brown trout, and it is stocked each year with rainbow trout as well.

The Twin Cities region also features numerous lakes, from big bodies like Minnetonka and White Bear, to smaller lakes such as Cedar, Harriet and Calhoun. Many of the region's lakes provide ample opportunities for shore fishing, so you don't need a boat. There's also the DNR's FiN program (Fishing in the Neighborhood), which stocks catchable sized fish in more than 60 smaller bodies of water around the metro region. Those small lakes (like Wolfe Lake in St. Louis Park) are an excellent choice for getting some big grins and squeals of excitement from young anglers. Lakes both large and small can also be counted on if you're looking for something for the frying pan, although anglers are advised to consult fish consumption advisories and stick to smaller fish for eating.

If you haven't fished before and want to try it out, visit one of Minnesota's state parks. Many state parks, including Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul, have fishing rods and tackle that you can check out for free, and in most state parks, Minnesota residents don't even need a fishing license. A growing number of city and regional parks also have fishing tackle you can borrow, but if you're fishing outside of a state park, anyone 16 years or older needs to buy a fishing license. For more information, go to mndnr.gov/fishmn.

State parks also provide "I Can Fish!" programs to teach people how to fish. Visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov to find out when and where the classes will be offered. The DNR website also offers basic information about how to fish and where to go.

Introduce your children to fishing, and you'll provide him or her with a lifetime of healthy outdoor fun, as well as a tie to a very long-standing Hmong tradition.

St. Paul, MN



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