2006 Minnesota Fishing Opener Weather
Minnesota's Fishing Opener weather is typified by partly cloudy to cloudy
skies, morning temperatures in the low 40's, and afternoon temperatures
climbing to near 70. Three out of four years are free of measurable precipitation.
A trace of snow has been reported in northern Minnesota on at least four
of the last 56 fishing openers. On at least three occasions, some lakes
were still frozen for the opener. Generally there is enough wind to be
felt on the face, maybe enough to 'fly' a flag. Weather on Minnesota fishing
opener dates is highly variable. 56 years of fishing opener weather
data are summarized here to offer a glimpse of what is 'typical' and what
Opening day temperatures have started as low as 24 degrees at International
Falls (1996,2004), with freezing temperatures possible even in Minneapolis (31
degrees in 1979). On the warm side, St. Cloud saw 92 degrees in 1987, Minneapolis
reported 91 in 1987, and International Falls reached 88 in 1977. The average
early morning temperature varies from the high 30's in the northeast to
the high 40's along the southern border. The average afternoon temperature
generally ranges from the mid 60's along the northern border, to the low
70's in the extreme south. Along the shore of Lake Superior, highs are
held in the mid 50's.
Three quarters of past opening days have been free of measurable precipitation.
Two thirds of the fishing openers have been free of any precipitation,
measurable or not. On those days with measurable rain, the amounts averaged
close to a half-inch in the south and a quarter inch in the north. No amounts
over one inch were recorded at either St. Cloud or International Falls,
while Minneapolis experienced 1.15 in 1962 and 1.64 in 1965. Snowfall has
generally has been limited to traces. Traces of snow were officially recorded in 1963
and 1993 at International Falls, and in 1968 at St. Cloud. A tenth (.1) of an inch
fell at International Falls in 2000.
Statewide, less than one year in five offers totally clear skies. The
average amount of cloudiness lies near that fuzzy boundary between 'partly
cloudy' and 'cloudy', but over half of the dates were classified as cloudy.
Average daily wind speeds generally range between 8 and 15 miles per
hour. This range can is described as 'wind felt on face ...' to '... wind
extends light flag'. The predominant wind direction is split fairly evenly
between blowing from the northwest, south, and east.
Fog has been reported on the fishing opener, occurring about one year
in ten in the south, about one year in six in the north. By early to mid
May, Minnesota is entering its thunderstorm season. The possibility of
thunderstorms is greatest in the south (about one in seven), less in the
north (about one in eleven). The weather should be monitored carefully
if the skies appear threatening.
At St. Cloud, the sun will rise at 5:47 a.m.; sunset will come at 8:40 p.m
For International Falls, sunrise/sunset is 5:34 a.m. and 8:47 p.m.
respectively. For Minneapolis, sunrise will be 5:45 a.m. and sunset at
8:34 p.m. Add one minute for each 10 miles west of a given location (at
the same latitude) to get a rough estimate of sunrise and sunset times.
Sunrise/sunset information can be obtained for any community using a Web
site offered by the US Naval
During the 2005 opener it was cool and cloudy with areas of rain. Some peeks of sunshine appeared around lunchtime over central Minnesota. Conditions became quite windy in the afternoon with gusty NW winds. More scattered showers developed in the afternoon and evening. Temperatures were in the upper 30's and low 40's in the morning, and warming to the upper 40's north and mid 50's south by afternoon.
And finally, yes there have been years with ice covered lakes for the
opener. On opening day in 1950, lakes were still frozen as far south as
Detroit Lakes and Osakis. Three other years with frozen lakes, primarily
in the north, were 1966, 1979, and 1996.
This season, the ice left the lakes a
few days early over the south and a week to ten days earlier than
historical averages over the north.
The ice left Rainy Lake, the site of the
2006 Governor's Fishing Opener around April 16.
More information about fishing in Minnesota can be found at the Department
of Natural Resources Web
A history of past fishing openers back to 1948 can be found at the Minnesota Historical Society
Return to Minnesota Climatology Working Group Main page
Last modified: May 2, 2006