The local planning committee for the 2020 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener is adding new ways for folks to celebrate the Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener in 2020. This year will be the 73rd Annual event and while the main goal is to continue the storied tradition, there will be a few differences from years past.

Many times, the Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener focuses on one lake, however, one of the goals of the 2020 event will be to highlight the diversity of fisheries in Otter Tail County. "We have over 1,000 lakes here," said Nick Leonard, Sponsorship Chair of the local planning committee. "It is hard to pick just one. So we are going to have an online fishing derby that will allow local residents, visitors, media and other dignitaries to enjoy a friendly competition on any body of water in Otter Tail County." The online derby will be a catch and release event to run from midnight-4 pm on May 9, 2020.

Local planning committee chair Erik Osberg shows off his 29-inch walleye he caught during the summer of 2019 in Otter Tail County. The local committee announced new events for the 2020 Governor's Fishing Opener. Submitted photo
Local planning committee chair Erik Osberg shows off his 29-inch walleye he caught during the summer of 2019 in Otter Tail County. The local committee announced new events for the 2020 Governor's Fishing Opener. Submitted photo

Another way the 2020 Minnesota Governor's Fishing opener will differ from years past is the way youth are involved. It's not uncommon to find a kids fishing clinic as part of the fishing opener, however, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) is planning to continue the participation of youth throughout the season. Through discussions within the Fishing Subcommittee, a fishing mentorship for youth is emerging as a continuous program instead of a one-time event.

"We still have a few details to finalize with this plan, but we hope to create a partnership with local high school fishing teams to find kids within local communities who might want to become mentees," said local planning committee Chair Erik Osberg. "These students would be invited to fish on more than one occasion. Hopefully, creating a deeper connection with fishing and the outdoors in general."

Jeff Ledermann, Education and Skills Team Supervisor for Fish and Wildlife Outreach, with the MN DNR added, “The DNR is very interested in making sure we apply best practices to our efforts to recruit and retain new anglers and hunters. Recent research has found that while one-time, introductory, angling events provide awareness, they don’t have the ongoing support to make sure new anglers move past that initial experience. We are excited to work with the local high school angling clubs to create a program where youth are mentored through multiple steps towards becoming new anglers.”

For a complete list of locations visit mngovernorsopener.com. If you have any questions about sponsorships or donations, please contact Nick Leonard, Sponsorship Chair, at 218-998-8057 or nleonard@co.ottertail.mn.us