Governor’s Fishing Opener – Kickoff

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of Explore Minnesota Tourism

My plan to be out at midnight started to fade as the day drug on.  As did my anticipation of hitting the water.   Mother Nature has wanted me to wait for a lot of things this spring so why should yesterday be any different.

I watched bodies of water alternating between frozen and wavy during my drive to Park Rapids yesterday.  I was getting a little bit of a late jump on the Governor’s Fishing Opener festivities.  Events were planned throughout the day, but I wasn’t going to make it until the evening.  I arrived in time to see Main street in downtown Park Rapids covered in tennis shoes and sandals, teeming with men, women and children eating, dancing and playing fish-themed carnival games.  It was just like any typical street fair/town festival-with the exception of the filet demonstration table.

Yep, in the middle of the street, people were showing you how to filet a walleye.  Welcome to the Governor’s Fishing Opener.

Free community picnic in Park Rapids
Free community picnic in Park Rapids

The opening of fishing in the land of 13,000 fishable lakes is a holiday to many and a gloomy forecast wasn’t going to keep people from the celebration.   Media was in full coverage mode, with outlets from various outdoor publications (see Minnesota Sporting Journal) to WCCO to even Univision.

Frank Vascellaro and Chris Schafer from WCCO
Frank Vascellaro and Chris Schafer from WCCO

Whether or not landings would be mobbed with trucks and trailers at 11:59 or not, the contingent came armed with smiling faces.  With cool temps and strong winds welcoming the fishing season, many plans had changed to include morning launches instead.  That was just fine with me.

After a cool beverage at the Royal Bar I headed back to my cozy respite, Riverside Point Resort and Motel for a good night sleep before breakfast at the legion and a trip to one of the lakes without ice.

51013 - resort mika

51013 - resort swing

Rumors of a few lakes becoming ice free overnight will be discussed over eggs and new plans might form.  Long Lake is rumored to be open and a good part of Fish Hook Lake may have also broken free.

We’ll keep you updated.  For now, Jason Durham gets his (non-existant) bonus by getting Governor Dayton his walleye, just 25 minutes into the opener!

51013 - GFO band

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