UNDATED -- The coronavirus pandemic led to record-breaking fishing license sales this spring ahead of the Minnesota fishing opener, and while sales have mostly leveled-off, overall, sales are up 11% over last year.

Youth licenses which cover 16-and-17-year-olds is up 34% over last year and the highest sales since the state lowered the cost to $5.00 in 2013.

Eric Altena is the DNR's Area Fisheries Supervisor in the Little Falls Office. He says conservation officers are reporting many more boaters and anglers out this year...

I think some of the things we need to think about is just being considerate on the ramps and stuff. There may be people that don't have as much experience backing their boats in and whatnot. Certainly, just making space available (for them) and not being impatient.

Altena says it's good to see more people enjoying Minnesota's lakes and rivers and is encouraging everyone to remain patient at boat landings.

He says it's a good idea to have a backup plan in case your favorite lake's boat landing is full.

Altena says for people who don't have access to a boat, there are plenty of great shoreline and pier fishing opportunities as well. He says the Mississippi River in central Minnesota is a great fishery with plenty of places to cast a line right from shore.

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