SPICER—Kandiyohi County reeled in a big catch of its own Saturday at the governor’s fishing opener.
Explore Minnesota announced the Willmar Lakes Area will host next year’s fishing opener on Green Lake May 10-13.
It will be the second time in the history of the event that it has been held on Green Lake.
It’s an honor to be selected as the host site, said Beth Fischer, executive director of the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We look forward to the opportunity to showcase our beautiful lake country and will have fun events planned in the communities of Willmar, Spicer and New London,” Fischer said in a statement.
That was echoed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
“In the beautiful Willmar Lakes Area, Spicer’s Green Lake offers terrific fishing and other great recreational activities,” he said. “I thank the community leaders for hosting this great Minnesota tradition, and I look forward to opening next year’s summer fishing season on Green Lake.”
The annual governor’s fishing opener is organized by Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion office, in coordination with the host community.
The event has been a Minnesota tradition since 1948. It’s designed to promote the development of Minnesota’s recreation industry. In recent years it also has served as an iconic kick-off celebration for the summer tourism season. According to Explore Minnesota, travel and tourism generate $14.4 billion in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota annually.
For the host community, it’s a rich opportunity to highlight local fishing and other travel activities, attractions and points of interest. Media from throughout the Midwest attend the event, resulting in significant publicity for the host community and Minnesota.
“The Willmar Lakes Area is a real recreational gem of southern Minnesota,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota. “Our office is incredibly excited to work with this friendly, energetic community on one of our biggest cooperative promotional events of the year.”
The last time the governor’s fishing opener was held in Kandiyohi County was in 1995, when Arne Carlson was governor.
Carlson failed to catch any keepers that day but other anglers were luckier. One person caught a 12-pound northern on Green Lake and walleyes in the 8- and 9-pound range were reported. More than 100 local volunteers served as guides for the 300 to 400 guests who came for the event.
With 5,560 acres, Green Lake is the largest lake in Kandiyohi County. It’s also a popular fishing destination. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports substantial numbers of eating-size walleyes, mainly in the 15- to 16-inch range, as well as good numbers of smallmouth and largemouth bass, northerns, crappies, bluegills and more.
West Central Tribune by Anne Polta