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Some anglers say weather made opener ‘worst one’ ever

Joe Bowen/FOCUS Anglers try their luck on the Otter Tail River during Saturday’s fishing opener.

The 2013 fishing opener began at 12:01 Saturday morning. Despite a recent string of warm days, many lakes were still covered in ice after a particularly lengthy winter. Additionally, high wind speeds and cold temperatures complicated matters for many anglers.

According to Gary Huberty, a fishery specialist with the Minnesota DNR, it’s been more than 60 years since the state has seen an opener like this one. In fact, “1950 was the last time there was ice on a good share of the lakes on the opener,” he said.

On Big Pine Lake, Clay Olson had little to show after three hours of fishing in the early morning.

“I couldn’t escape the wind. I got one nice, big bite, but didn’t have enough line,” he said after bringing his boat in.

“This is the worst one I’ve had,” he added, referring to the fishing opener.

“It sucks. It’s freezing!” Randy Parker and Emil Belen said with a laugh as they fished from the shore of Otter Tail River. Parker had been trying his luck for several hours with little to show for it.

“Don’t ask him how long he’s been out here!” Belen joked.

Fishing from the shore near the Rush Lake public access off Highway 78, Bill Reynolds had a similar sentiment.

“It’s miserable because it’s so windy and cold, so we didn’t want to take the boat out. It’s chilly. Ain’t many lakes open. This one opened yesterday night,” he said.

Despite the weather, Reynolds’ luck seemed better than Olson and Parkers’ – he caught a 21-inch walleye on his first cast of the season.