Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener in Mankato

Governor Walz Announces 2023 Governor’s Fishing Opener to be Held in Mankato

ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Tim Walz announced that Mankato will host the 75th Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener on May 12-13 of 2023.  This is just the fifth time since 1948 that the Fishing Opener will be held in Southern Minnesota. Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion office, coordinates each year with the Governor’s Office, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the host committee to put on the event celebrating the kickoff of the summer tourism season.

“I am incredibly excited to bring the longtime tradition of the Governor’s Fishing Opener to Southern Minnesota and my hometown of Mankato,” said Governor Tim Walz.  “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.”

Nestled in the scenic Minnesota River Valley, there are more than 150 lakes within 30 minutes of Mankato.  There are also three state water trails, mapped and managed for paddling:  Blue Earth River, Minnesota River and Watonwan River.  The region boasts more than 50 miles of paved walking and biking trails connecting users to two of the region’s state parks:  Sakatah Lake State Park and Minneopa State Park, home to a herd of bison and waterfalls.

“Spring is great time to visit Mankato,” said Lauren Bennett McGinty, director of Explore Minnesota.  “Minnesota looks forward to working with the Mankato team to promote the impressive variety of things to see and do in this vibrant community throughout the year.”

The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948.  The event was designed to promote the development of Minnesota’s recreation 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 generate $16.6 billion in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota annually.

“The Mankato area is home to some of the best fishing in southern Minnesota.  I’m so thrilled that we will shine a light on that fact during the 2023 Governor’s Fishing Opener,” said Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen.  “Not only are the nearby lakes well-known for walleye and northern pike fishing, the Minnesota River is home to more than 80 fish species, including sauger, white bass, and trophy catfish.  Whether from shore or boat, the fishing will give newcomers and longtime anglers experiences worth coming for!”

This will be the first year Mankato has hosted the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener.  The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener provides the host community with an opportunity to highlight local fishing, attractions, and points of interest.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the host community for the 2023 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener,” said Jessica Beyer, President & CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. and Visit Mankato.  “This key event for our State will put a spotlight on the variety of fishing and outdoor recreational assets throughout the Greater Mankato Region .”

The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener is organized by the Governor’s Office, Explore Minnesota, a volunteer host committee, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources , and the many sponsors that make the event possible.  More information about the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener is available at mngovernorsopener.com .