As the ice clears from Minnesota’s 10,000-plus lakes, many boat owners will likely be eager to get out on the water. Several recently completed public water access projects will provide anglers with new and improved places to launch their boats during and after the fishing opener.
The Department of Natural Resources’ improvements include:
• A new access on the west side of Blackduck Lake in Beltrami County.
• Upgrades to existing accesses at Interstate, William O’Brien and Zippel Bay state parks, and to Lake Hendricks (Lincoln County), Boy Scout Landing on the St. Louis River (St. Louis County), Leech Lake (Cass County), Shingobee Island (Cass County) and South Lindstrom Lake (Chisago County).
The DNR will also increase the number of boat clean-and-drain areas for reducing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
“Revenue from boat registration fees and the boat fuel tax made these projects possible,” said Nancy Stewart, who coordinates public water access and fishing pier programs for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “There are about 3,000 public water access sites statewide so you don’t have to own waterfront property to enjoy boating and fishing on Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.”
Most of Minnesota’s public water access sites are free and open 24 hours a day. Smartphone users can download the DNR’s water access mobile app.
No boat? No problem.
Minnesota may top the list of most boats per capita, but those who don’t have a way to get out on the water can always bait their hooks and fill their stringers from shore.
“The DNR maintains more than 360 fishing piers, platforms and shore-fishing sites statewide,” Stewart said. “Our goal is to improve fishing opportunities, especially to meet the needs of children, older adults, people with disabilities and those without a boat.”
Five new fishing piers, completed in 2013 with funding from a variety of sources, will be available to anglers for the Minnesota fishing opener on Saturday, May 10:
• Bean Lake (Cottonwood County).
• Jefferson Lake (Le Sueur County).
• South Mound Creek Pool (at Blue Mounds State Park in Rock County).
• Stuntz Bay on Lake Vermilion (at Lake Vermilion State Park in St. Louis County).
• Colby Lake (Washington County).
Many existing fishing piers also have been replaced:
• Moosehead Lake (Carlton County).
• Lake Calhoun (Hennepin County).
• Lake Yankton (Lyon County).
• Lake Ripley (Meeker County).
Funding for the replacement fishing piers came from the Parks and Trails Fund, after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008.
To find a nearby fishing pier or public water access, or check conditions at specific lakes, visit the DNR website or contact the DNR Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.