Brainerd Lakes Area Gears Up For Fishing Opener And Unofficial Start Of Tourism Season
Trucks pulling boats, trailers, and campers packed Highway 371 Friday as people descended on the Brainerd Lakes Area for fishing opener.
“We’re really excited to welcome literally thousands of people up to the Brainerd Lakes Area every year for Minnesota’s unofficial holiday,” said Brainerd Lakes Chamber President Matt Kilian.
Fishing opener in Minnesota marks the unofficial start to the summer tourism season, and the Brainerd community has been busy gearing up for the summer months ahead.
“You start painting the walls and cleaning the tanks. Just trying to spruce everything up,” said Sherree Wicktor, owner of S & W Bait in Nisswa. “We’ve seen a real good supply of people, constant people actually. It’s been pretty busy around here.”
Area resorts have been busy preparing for an influx of guests that the summer months bring.
“We’re feeling great. It’s time for some summer. Everybody is so ready for spring. Everyone is so ready for summer. We’re going to have a very busy season here at Grand View, and I think the area is going to be very busy,” said Mark Ronnei, Grand View Lodge Managing Director.
Grand View Lodge in Nisswa will host more guests than ever this year as a new boutique hotel is set to open in July.
“We’re adding 40 additional accommodations over what we had last year, in addition to the hotel. We expect to have between 1,000 and 1,200 guests most nights,” added Ronnei.
Fishing opener and the tourism season in the Brainerd Lakes Area brings a huge economic impact.
“Fishing is a $2.4 billion industry in Minnesota and, really, the Brainerd Lakes Area is that ground zero for all things outdoor recreation in the state,” added Kilian. “We have the lakes, we have the trails, we have the trees, we have the wildlife.”
No matter if it’s the resorts, bait shops, or restaurants, the community is ready for the weekend and season ahead.
“We’re really looking forward to welcoming thousands of people, to have a lot of fun, and to make memories,” Kilian said.
One thing’s for sure: after a long, cold, and snowy winter, Minnesotans are more ready than ever for the upcoming summer season.