OTTER TAIL COUNTY — The 73rd Annual Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is a Minnesota tradition spanning decades and an event that hits home for the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
"It's very near and dear to our way of life in Minnesota," said Henry Drewes, the northwest region fisheries manager for Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources.
Falling on May 15, the fishing open is two weeks before Memorial Day weekend.
Drewes said the law protects walleye, muskie and bass during spawning season, saying more than two million anglers — or one in three Minnesotans — hit the lakes every season.
"That's three times the population of North Dakota, so if you put that kind of pressure out on those spawning fish, that's probably going to have an impact on our fish populations," Drewes said.
Postponed for the first time last May, the Governor's Fishing Opener is set to try again for Otter Tail County, and its more than 1,000 lakes.
Organizers are getting a head start on planning the event. Chair of this year's opener, Erik Osberg said it's an economic boon for local spending and hospitality. He is also hoping for the same long-term exposure experienced by previous host sites.
One of the county's plans is hosting a statewide fishing derby on the FishDonkey app called #OnlyinMN Cup. All anglers can take pictures of their fish in the app and share them for prizes.
With multiple locations and nearly all activities, including fishing itself being outside, the only thing left to be determined will be the weather.