Minnesota Fishing Opener: Let Summer Begin!

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Cast your line on Lake Margaret in the Brainerd Lakes Area / Paul Vincent
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Minnesota Fishing Opener: Let Summer Begin!

By James Riemermann

Minnesota's annual fishing opener is a treasured tradition that celebrates our state's great angling opportunities and signals the beginning of summer. 

For serious or even halfway-serious anglers in Minnesota, the fishing opener is a sacred holiday and the unofficial beginning of summer—a day that roughly half a million anglers eagerly await each year. 

Some think of it purely as the walleye opener, but the season opener includes a number of species that reside in Minnesota waters, such as 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.

Keep reading to get the details on this year's Minnesota fishing opener and prepare to join your fellow anglers on the water this summer.

When is the 2023 Minnesota Fishing Opener?

Minnesota state statute requires the opener to occur precisely two weeks before the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. In 2023, that means the fishing opener will align with Mother’s Day weekend, May 12-13.

Governor's Fishing Opener 2023

Fishing is a a way of life across the state. So much so that the Minnesota governor has honored the tradition since 1948 by hosting the annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener. Each year, the event is hosted by the current governor, Explore Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and a new host community each year.

The 2023 Governor’s Fishing Opener will take place in Mankato. As more information becomes available about the event, it will be posted at

A man fishing on the Mississippi River from Pike Island

Fishing the Mississippi River at Pike Island in the Twin Cities / Zane Spang

More Minnesota Fishing

Minnesota offers some of the best freshwater fishing in the country, from big lakes to scenic trout streams and even the mighty Mississippi. Whether you're looking for tips on where to find walleye, the best season to catch a trophy-sized fish, where to go fly fishing or how to embrace ice fishing, there's no better place to go fishing than Minnesota.

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.