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Governor's Fishing Opener headed to southern Minnesota in 2023

Gov. Tim Walz announced the annual angling event would take place in Mankato for the first time.

2018 fishing opener
A passel of boats ply the St. Louis River Estuary for the 2018 Minnesota fishing opener.
Clint Austin / file / Duluth News Tribune
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ST. Paul — Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, Aug. 8, announced that the 2023 Fishing Opener was set to take place in Mankato for the first time in the event's history.

The governor traveled to south-central Minnesota to make the announcement Monday. And he said the state chose Mankato to host the event to highlight the Minnesota River Valley region, including several prime spots for anglers.

“I am incredibly excited to bring the longtime tradition of the Governor’s Fishing Opener to Southern Minnesota and my hometown of Mankato,” Walz said. “This region is home to an extraordinary diversity of fishing opportunities on over 100 lakes and rivers. I look forward to celebrating the unique tourism and outdoor opportunities that the region has to offer.”

Southern Minnesota has played host to the opener just five times since the annual event got its start in 1948. Mankato is set to welcome anglers to the kick-off to summer tourism event May 12 and 13 of next year.

Tourism leaders in the area said that the community was "thrilled" to be picked to host the event in 2023.

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“This key event for our state will put a spotlight on the variety of fishing and outdoor recreational assets throughout the Greater Mankato Region,”said Jessica Beyer, President & CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. and Visit Mankato.

The annual fishing opener is expected to look more traditional in 2023 than it has in recent years after the state took a "hybrid approach" to the event earlier this year, holding events and news conferences at several locations.

Walz canceled the event in 2020, due to COVID-19 and Otter Tail County hosted a smaller get-together in 2021.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter  @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email  dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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