Skip to main content

Governor's Fishing Opener: A quick history

  • Author:
  • Updated:

According to the Minnesota Historical Society, the first governor's fishing opener was likely held in 1948 at Mille Lacs, with Gov. Luther Youngdahl in charge. We say "likely" because, according to the MNHS, there's no evidence Youngdahl was actually there.

For the first 10 years, Mille Lacs hosted the event before it moved to Upper Red Lake in 1958. In 1961, Walker's Leech Lake was the host, and since then the opener has rotated around the state every May.

In 1963, the Minnesota media dubbed the event the "Governor's Fishing Party." That name stuck until Gov. Al Quie gave it the more formal name, the "Governor's Fishing Opener." "Party" apparently sounded too festive.

For a who's who list (governors/lakes/cities) of every opener since 1948, here's a link from the Historical Society.

And here's just a few photos, courtesy of the Historical Society, of ex-governors angling ... for fish:

1961: Ex-Gov. C. Elmer Anderson and Gov. Elmer L. Anderson --

1965: Gov. Karl Rolvaag with Iowa Gov. Harold Hughes --

1977: Gov. Rudy Perpich --

Finally, here's what the Fishing Opener looked like in the early 1960s, courtesy Alexandria's KCMT-TV. Some of the video is silent, with a few interviews later in the clip. But it's pure gold:

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Lost 1-year-old reunited with parents in Brooklyn Park

The girl was found by a concerned citizen around 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Screen Shot 2020-12-27 at 8.33.49 AM

For 2nd time, Minnesota farm devastated by deadly fire

Around 1,000 goats and a litter of puppies were killed when a barn caught fire on Friday.


Fleeing suspect crashes, killing innocent driver in Brooklyn Park

The suspect fled police in Osseo and was going south on County Road 81.

1497 S Ferry St, Anoka, MN 55303, United States - August 2021

Body found tangled with debris in the Mississippi River

The individual's name has not yet been released.

Northtown Mall Carnival

Around 100 kids run from carnival fight into Northtown Mall

Police say a large fight was happening on the ferris wheel before kids fled into the mall.

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 9.29.03 AM

Former state senator Scott Jensen endorsed by GOP for governor

Jensen beat to multiple other hopefuls for the endorsement at Saturday's convention.


NWS already monitoring Thursday for severe weather in MN

Monday-Wednesday should be fantastic weather in Minnesota.


Body of missing Mankato woman believed to have been found

A canoer found the body in a swamp near Eagle Lake Friday.

kim crockett facebook sos

MN GOP endorses attorney general, secretary of state candidates

Kim Crockett was endorsed as the party's candidate for secretary of state, while Jim Schultz won the endorsement for attorney general.


Volunteer firefighter identified as man killed during Thursday storms

The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office confirmed that 63-year-old Ryan Erickson died when a grain bin fell on him.

Juan Ramos, standing outside of his Taco Chon Mexican Grill, in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Firm takes on case defending Taco Chon against Taco John's lawsuit

The local Mexican restaurant is fighting a case presented by Taco John's over naming rights, among other things.