Park Rapids, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Governor's Fishing Opener kicked off the start of fishing season in Minnesota.
"The Governor wanted to fish at 12:01 a.m., the first legal moment to cast a line into Minnesota waters," said the Governor's fishing host, Jason Durham,"The Governor didn't have a real good track record going into this event, he's had two previous Governor's fishing openers and had yet to land a walleye, and we did it today."
Gov. Mark Dayton landed his catch just after midnight on opening day. He was joined by the Lt. Governor and an old friend.
"I had Gov. Dayton and I had another Governor too, Jack Dalrymple from North Dakota," said Durham, "So it was very unique in having two separate governors in the boat at the same time, something that hasn't happened in the Governor Fishing opener history."
The opener was held on Fish Hook Lake in Park Rapids.
There was still a tremendous amount of ice on the lake, which made fishing challenging.
"Fishing was tough. Yesterday was really good. We went and crappie fished yesterday, got some crappies seen some Northerns up shallow," said angler, Doug Hanson, "So I figured I had a game plan put together, had some warm temperatures yesterday and now here we are, cold front conditions, low pressure system, fish just shut down."
Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon says that Hubbard County's tourism industry produces almost $29.1 million annually. Part of that is fishing.
"MN has the second largest participation of anglers in a state, nation wide. We are second only to Alaska," said the Lt. Gov.
Not only does fishing have an impact on the state, but the opener has brought the community together.
"Not only have we had 400 volunteers that have stepped up to do all the work behind the scenes to make this happen, but we have a tremendous group of people that have attended the event and made it happen for us," said Event Chair Dennis Mackedanz.
The Lt. Gov. says that the tourism industry has a $11.9 billon dollar impact to the state's economy.