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2022 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener Announcement

Mar 25, 2022 10:35AM ● By Editor

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz at the 2021 MN Fishing Opener.  Photo: Explore MN

 in the From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources • March 25, 2022

Friday Governor Tim Walz, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced details for the 2022 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener.

The longtime tradition will continue in May of 2022. The 2022 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener will celebrate fishing in a variety of ways, over several weeks and in multiple locations in the Chippewa National Forest region and Leech Lake Reservation.

Among the highlights for the 2022 event are:

  • Roundtable on the State of Fishing and the Fishing Industry in Minnesota: The nonprofit anglers' organization MN-Fish will share perspectives with DNR, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and the Department of Employment and Economic Development leadership on a variety of fishing-related issues and topics. Date TBD. Location in the Twin Cities.
  • Take a Mom Fishing weekend (May 7-8): All Minnesota moms have the opportunity to fish without a license, and families have the chance to gather and enjoy this great tradition together. Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen will fish with her son.
  • Media availability (May 13): DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen, Explore Minnesota Tourism Director Lauren Bennett McGinty, fisheries staff, tourism staff, and others will talk about the present and future of fishing and the outdoor tourism economy in Minnesota. Interviews with the Governor and DNR and Explore Minnesota officials will be made available virtually and in-person in the Chippewa National Forest region.
  • Minnesota Fishing Opener (May 14): Half-a-million Minnesotans take to the lakes and streams to kick off the state's walleye, sauger and northern pike opener. Governor Walz will fish with Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame guide Tom Neustrom on a lake on the Leech Lake Reservation. Leech Lake Chairman Faron Jackson, Sr. and Leech Lake fishing guide Rory Haaland will also join the Governor to mark this important Minnesota tradition.

"The Governor's Fishing Opener is an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the fishing tradition to Minnesotans and highlight its impact to our businesses, tourism, and outdoor economy," said Governor Tim Walz. "We are hopeful that the 2022 Governor's Fishing Opener events will get even more Minnesotans to participate in our state's time-honored fishing tradition."

Minnesota boasts about 1.4 million licensed anglers each year and a half a million who fish during the fishing opener. Minnesotans have extensive fishing opportunities — for a great variety of fish species — at 4,500 fishing lakes plus 3,800 miles of trout streams and 16,000 miles of fishable streams and rivers.

"Each year, the Governor's Fishing Opener is a unique event, and this year will be no exception. What continues each year is the passion and enthusiasm Minnesotans have for this great tradition and pastime. In fact, we've seen even more people discover the joy of fishing and we want to continue that momentum," said DNR commissioner Sarah Strommen. "This time is also a reminder of how critical it is to invest in our natural resources to ensure they are well-managed and sustained for this and future generations."

The Governor's Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. The event was designed to promote the development of Minnesota's $2.4 billion fishing industry, and in recent years, it has served as an iconic kick-off celebration for the summer tourism season. Prior to the pandemic, travel and tourism generated $16.6 billion in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota annually.

"As the state's tourism promotion office, we'll focus on encouraging travelers to explore new waters and unique Minnesota destinations this season, netting memories to last a lifetime," said Explore Minnesota Tourism Director Lauren Bennett McGinty.

Minnesota's great fishing starts with its many diverse bodies of water. The "Land of 10,000 Lakes" only hints at the variety of waters available to anglers. The Mighty Mississippi is one of many rivers and streams where anglers can reel in huge catfish or northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, panfish, trout and more than 100 lesser-known species.

Details about the May 13 media availability and interviews will be sent to members of the media in the coming weeks.

More information

  • For help planning a fishing trip, or to order a free copy of the 2022-23 Minnesota Fishing Guide, travelers can visit (link is external) or call 888-VISITMN.
  • For information on public water accesses, fishing piers, fishing licenses and more, visit (link is external) or call the DNR Information Center, 888-MINN-DNR (646-6367).
  • For more information on the Governor's Fishing Opener, watch for updates in the coming weeks at (link is external).
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