ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - Area bait dealers are worried about the supply of minnows ahead of this weekend’s fishing opener.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is aware of a shortage, especially of fathead and shiner minnows statewide.

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Aaron Kreller owns Stoplight Bait in St. Cloud. He said this year’s winter kill was tough on the bait minnow supply.

I know that the ponds took a beating this year with the snowfall. You know, the snow cover is what kills them. So we had a pretty big kill-off this year. So it is going to be a big effect.

In addition, regulations continue to limit the minnow supply. Minnesota and Maine are the only two states that ban the importation of bait into the state for fishing. For decades, so-called “bootleg bait” from neighboring states was able to increase the supply, but the DNR began cracking down on the importation of bait about 10 years ago. However, neighboring states will import bait from Minnesota, thinning an already short supply.

Small ponds on agricultural land have been the main breeding ground for minnows, and those ponds are disappearing when the land is sold for other development purposes.

The DNR has also limited the trapping of minnows on several lakes, claiming the traps and nets can be used to spread invasive species, like zebra mussels, into other lakes.

Kreller is confident he’ll have the necessary supply for the opening weekend, but worries shortages may cause problems later in the season.



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