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Minnesota Fishing Opener: A Hallowed Tradition

By James Riemermann

We really enjoyed this article from explore minnesota tourism. We thought we’d share it with you has well.

Fishing Opening Lake of the Woods

The fishing opener is sacred in Minnesota, regardless of how good the fishing turns out to be. For serious or even halfway-serious anglers in Minnesota, staying off the lake on May 11 is a recipe for heartbreak, like a 10-year-old staying home on Halloween.

In Minnesota, the opener usually corresponds with Mother’s Day, so to keep the peace in fishing families, our state legislature passed the “Take a Mom Fishing Weekend” law in 1989, allowing Minnesota mothers to fish without a license on opening weekend.

This year, the annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener takes place May 9-12 on Fountain Lake in the Albert Lea area. Although it’s primarily a media event for invited guests, there is a community picnic open to the general public featuring free food, family fun and other activities. Details will be posted at

In a state where walleye is king, many Minnesota anglers think of it as the walleye opener. But in fact, May 11 is the season opener for a number of species that reside in Minnesota waters, including northern pike, trout, and—in some areas of the state—bass. Sunfish, crappies, perch, channel catfish and a few less popular species are always open.

For more information on fishing in Minnesota, on opening weekend or any other time, visit the Explore Minnesota fishing page, or find rules, regulations and more details on fishing seasons at