Fishing opener seen as safe success

ALBERT LEA, Minn. - Area officials geared up for what they thought would be a hectic fishing opener weekend, but folks in our area were following the rules better than expected.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), alcohol is one of the most common contributors for boating accidents and fatalities in the state, which is why opener weekends mean extra patrol units.

As hundreds of people headed out to try their hand in reeling in the first big catch of the season, area officials with the Minnesota DNR and the Albert Lea Police Department headed out as well to make sure everyone was staying safe while having fun.

J.D. Carlson, the Deputy Director of the Albert Lea Police Department, says that he’s used to seeing an increase in patrol units however, he believes their efforts to crack down over the years has been paying off.

“With the lake here in town, and with the interstates around Albert Lea, we haven’t had any DWI’s or any fishing incidences,” Carlson says.

Ryan Williamson was one of the many anglers who enjoyed the fishing opener, but he was also one of the many who played by the rules.

He says that he split his Saturday between two lakes and that he was surprised to see all of the official out on the water.

“The game wardens were really out on fishing opener,” Williamson says, “and I think they’re getting pretty strict with that stuff, which is good.”

Since operating a boat is like just like driving a car, Williamson believes that more people should take into account the risks of drinking and boating.

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