ST. CLOUD -- A long winter hasn't been a favorite of many, but for the owner of Stop Light Bait in St. Cloud, it suits him just fine.

Aaron Kreller says good ice conditions early in the season got the ice fishing off to a strong start. Cold and snow in recent weeks has extended the season and has meant more sales at the bait shop.

Even so, Kreller says most people are now starting to look ahead to the fishing opener in May.  But, a late ice out on Minnesota lakes and rivers means it may be hard to get a very popular type of live bait come the 2018 Minnesota Fishing Opener...

We need some open water for a few weeks and some warmer temperatures to get leeches.  You know, a lot of guys like leeches and everyone wants a jumbo leech early on.  It's hard.  It takes leeches a little time to grow and I think we're gonna have a lot of ice.

In fact, Kreller thinks larger lakes up north will still have ice on them for the May 12th opener.

Kreller says if you're planning to do some ice fishing yet this season, be careful of the ice conditions, especially around the accesses and shorelines.