Tips and Info for the Perfect Fishing Opener- Whether You Fish or Not!

Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, sauger, northern pike and lake trout seasons open Saturday, May 13 on the Whitefish Chain. Photo by Kate Perkins

You waited for the ice to go out and for spring to come, and now Fishing Opener is nearly here! May 13 marks the day that the walleye, bass, lake trout and more once again become fair game for the fishing season. At the Whitefish Chain, we mark it as the holiday we know it to be. That's why we've got some helpful tips for both anglers and those who just want to have some fun for the weekend!


  • The DNR LakeFinder has gone mobile! The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' LakeFinder is now mobile ready, which means it's now much easier to research your fishing lake. Search by name, by map, or just click "Find near me" to get all the data you need. The LakeFinder has fisheries lake survey results, topographical maps, fish stocking reports and more.  Click here for the mobile version, or click here for desktop. 
  • Moms fish free!  This year on opener weekend, May 13-14, Minnesota resident moms fish free.
  • The $5 walleye stamp: Though it is not required to fish or keep walleye, the $5 walleye stamp is an optional add-on to your fishing license that will go toward walleye stocking. The Whitefish Chain is very involved in the stocking operation, as the walleye egg take each spring takes place on Upper Whitefish at the mouth of the Pine River. And every year, literally millions of walleye fry (babies) are stocked into the chain. Buying a stamp supports the stocking effort.
  • Licenses and regulations: On the more practical side, find everything you need to know as far as licenses and regulations on the DNR website.  Fishing licenses can be purchased online as well as in just about any gas station or bait store around the Whitefish Chain. They'll be happy to give you a book on regulations, or read the online version.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species: If you launch your boat on or just before opener, you're likely to see an AIS specialist checking over boats. While it may slow you down slightly, remember that AIS inspections will help keep your favorite fishing lake healthy, and the fishery itself healthy too.


Not into fishing? No problem! The Whitefish Chain has plenty of fun to be had.

  • Pequot Lakes Block Party: From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 13, and from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, May 12, there are deals to be had in Pequot Lakes. Area businesses will be celebrating spring with special sales and refreshments. Plus, you can enter to win the Block Party Grand Prize! Stop into Latte Da for your stamp card, then have it stamped at each business you visit. Bring your completed card to Leslie's by 5 p.m. to be entered for the prize.
  • Evan Lindquist Memorial 5k Run/2k Walk: This family-friendly outdoor activity is great for getting out a little energy. The run begins at 8 a.m. at the Pine River Information Center (SW corner of the stoplights in Pine River). A kids race will be held after the runners and walkers return at approximately 10:15 a.m. Registration is $15 per individual or $20 per family, and all proceeds go to a scholarship in Evan's name. No registration is required for the kids race. Evan was a kindergartner at Pine River-Backus Schools when he was hit by his school bus and died in 2010.
  • Made in Minnesota: A Celebration of Local Authors: The Pequot Lakes Local Library will play host to 25 local authors on Saturday, May 13. It's the library's first ever local author book fair, and the genres covered run the gamut. Books from authors who will be visiting include children's books, thrillers, Christian fiction, romance, nonfiction and memoir, poetry, inspirational, historical and short stories. There will also be a children's story time at 10:30 a.m. The event is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Good luck to all the anglers this weekend- we heard those fish are hungry! And to anyone not fishing, enjoy the sunshine and all the fun, local events the area has to offer. Holiday or not, there's never a dull moment on the Whitefish Chain.

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