Crews with the Department of Natural Resources are confident they will have the majority of DNR public water accesses ready in time for the May 11 fishing opener.

"DNR crews statewide are making good progress preparing public water accesses for the upcoming fishing season,” said Nancy Stewart, the DNR’s water recreation program consultant. “Once the ice is off, they inspect boat ramps, repair them if needed, and put the docks in the water.”

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

There are about 3,000 public water access sites statewide, and the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division manages about half of them. “Boaters will find good launch conditions at most public accesses for the fishing opener,” Stewart said.

Access facilities on some rivers may not be usable due to high water or flood damage, and on the larger northern lakes if ice persists.

Stewart offers these suggestions for a safe and successful fishing opener:

  • Call ahead to get the latest report on the lake and access you intend to use.
  • From shore or dock, inspect the ramp above and below the water to ensure it is in good condition.
  • Wear a life jacket when inspecting an access while in the water.
  • Have a plan B – if a particular fishing opener lake access is unusable, try another public water access.

There are helpful resources on the DNR’s Public Water Access website.

Boaters and anglers can also get questions answered by calling the DNR Information Center: 888-646-6367 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday).