ORR – Cold Springs, Inc. is a small general store located 22 miles north of Orr, MN on Hwy. 53. Cold Springs Deer Farm is one part of the family business that is run at the site. Visitors can get up close and personal with the tame deer that reside on the property. In addition to the general store, they also have a commercial bait business which has been operating for 84 years.
Val Cook and his wife Marilyn run the general store while their sons Jack and John, who are third generation owners of the business, handle the bait end of the operation. This year has proven to be a challenge for the bait business given the harsh weather over the past few months.
Val said that they are stocked with plenty of bait for the opener but they do not have any spottail shiners at this time. Shiners are one of the most popular choices of bait for anglers but cold weather hampered their spawning this year.
“There is no question that this is a problem for us and for others in the bait business,” Val said. “Weather hurts us in this business just as it does farmers. We lost some wild bait in some areas due to the weather and are hoping it will warm up soon to help with the spawning.”
While spottail shiners may be the most desirable bait for anglers, there are alternatives available. Cold Springs offers fat heads, sucker minnows, and rainbows. They also stock night crawlers and leeches. Val indicated that they have plenty of all of these.
The largest part of the bait business is in their commercial sales. Cold Springs delivers to resorts, convenience and sporting good stores, and bait shops from International Falls to Ely and everywhere in between.
Even though the more popular choice of bait may not be available for the opener, there are still plenty of other options to dangle off the hook to lure in a keeper.