Fishing for fun? Check out the Governor’s Fishing Opener

Published 8:32 am Thursday, May 9, 2019

By Sarah Kocher

After a year of preparation and anticipation, the Governor’s Fishing Opener is here.

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In addition to activities hosted for statewide media attending the event to cover the governor and the community, several events are planned for the public to take part in this week.

One fish, two fish, red fish, new fish

See where the magic happens for baby fish with a tour of the Waterville State Fish Hatchery, where those attending an open house can see incubating fish eggs and young fish at different growth stages, sampling gear, nets, work boats and live fish and learn more about the process of raising fish. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Waterville hatchery is the state’s largest cool water facility.

Each year, a total of 40 million walleye fry, 1.5 million northern pike fry and 300,000 muskellunge fry are hatched there. The open house is from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday at the hatchery at 50317 Fish Hatchery Road in Waterville.

Rendezvous reprise

Come for a small taste of what Albert Lea offers each year at the Big Island Rendezvous. During the fishing opener, there will be a chuck wagon and demonstrations. The Big Island Rendezvous Experience will be in the North Broadway parking lot from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Dinner and dancing

Celebrate the start of Albert Lea’s first Governor’s Fishing Opener hosting gig with a party Friday night. There will be a free pork loin sandwich dinner for the community as well as children’s activities, a raffle, sponsor market and dance. “Hooked on Broadway” runs from 4:30 to 10 p.m. in downtown Albert Lea.

Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susie Petersen encouraged the public to attend. She said the committee is planning on feeding 2,500 people.

“We want lines, and this is free, free, free to the community,” Petersen said.

Local author celebration

Hear what the Park Avenue Authors group has put together in celebration of community talent for the fishing opener. The writers compiled a group of their own short stories or excerpts for “The Biggest Fish Story,” from which they will be reading aloud at a public event from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at The Albert Lea Art Center.

Take in art

The Freeborn County Arts Initiative caught the fish of area artists and is bringing them to the public with its “Something Fishy” gallery exhibition. Adult and student artists alike have work displayed side-by-side in a show themed specifically for the opener. Stop by to see literal and figurative interpretations of the theme as well as for a photo opportunity with the giant bluegill sculpted by Kids College students. The gallery reception is from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Freeborn County Arts Initiative at 224 S. Broadway Ave.

Opening ceremony

Before the fishing begins Saturday, Gov. Tim Walz will lead an opening ceremony. According to the DNR, about half a million anglers head out to fish during the Governor’s Fishing Opener weekend. Those who would like to view the opening ceremony should be at the south end of Edgewater Park at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Karen community fishing

Members of the Karen community are invited to the south end of Edgewater Park to join DNR Karen liaison Eh Moo Kue, who will join in fishing. From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, learn about Minnesota fish as well as the state’s fishing rules and regulations. The DNR will provide rods, reels and bait for those fishing during the event. Parking is available at the south end of Edgewater Park nearest the bandshell.

Blue Zones walk/run

If you’d rather travel by foot than boat on Saturday, community members are invited to participate in a Blue Zones walk/run from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Those who participate can register to win prizes at one of three pit stop locations. Start anywhere along the Blue Zones walkway, which is the trail around Fountain Lake.