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Minnesota Fishing Opener: Let Summer Begin!

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Father and son fishing on Gull Lake
Fishing // Article

Minnesota Fishing Opener: Let Summer Begin!

By James Riemermann

For many, Minnesota's fishing opener is the beginning of summer—a day that roughly half a million anglers eagerly await each year. 

The fishing opener is sacred in Minnesota, especially for walleye anglers. For serious or even halfway-serious anglers in Minnesota, staying off the lake on the opener is a recipe for heartbreak, like a 10-year-old staying home on Halloween.

Minnesota is the third most-popular inland fishing destination in the country. There are approximately 1.5 million licensed anglers in Minnesota, second only to the state of Alaska in resident fishing participation.

The fishing opener usually corresponds with Mother’s Day. 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’s Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener was originally slated to be held May 7-10 in Otter Tail County, but has been postponed to 2021 to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Despite the Fishing Opener event postponement, the 2020 fishing season will still open on May 9. Find more details regarding the 2021 Governor’s Fishing Opener at mngovernorsopener.com.

Man holding 25-inch walleye

Angler shows off a 25-inch walleye caught on Maple Lake near Alexandria / Joe Scegura's Guide Service

In a state where walleye is king, many Minnesota anglers think of it as the walleye opener. But in fact, the May 9, 2020 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. The season for sunfish, crappies, perch, channel catfish and a few less popular species is always open.

For more information on fishing in Minnesota, on opening weekend or any other time, learn more about fishing in Minnesota, or find rules, regulations and more details on fishing seasons at mndnr.gov/fishing.

James Riemermann

James Riemermann is a retired writer and editor. Raised in St. Paul, he's a city boy who feels more at home in the woods. Sitting by a campfire on the shore of a quiet north woods lake is his idea of paradise.