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Media Advisory
State of Minnesota

Media Contact(s):

Alyssa Hayes, Explore Minnesota
O: 651-276-8738 // [email protected]

Shannon Terry, Otter Tail County
O: 218- 671-3445 // [email protected]

Kristi Coughlon, Minnesota DNR
O: 218-407-2122 // [email protected]

Claire Lancaster, Governor's Office
O: 651-219-2975 // [email protected]

2021 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener, May 13-15

Later this week, Gov. Tim Walz, local residents, guests, media, and community hosts will visit Otter Tail County to open the 2021 Minnesota fishing season. The 73rd treasured state tradition will continue this year by following Stay Safe MN event parameters, starting Thursday, May 13, through Sunday, May 15.


  • Gov. Tim Walz
  • John Edman, Explore Minnesota director/CEO
  • Sarah Strommen, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) commissioner
  • Otter Tail County area community members/officials, local residents, and guests


  •  Otter Tail County Thumper Pond Resort (300 Thumper Lodge Rd, Ottertail, MN 56571) will serve as event headquarters; various activities highlighted below will take place throughout Otter Tail County to highlight travel and recreation opportunities.


  •  May 13-15, 2021


  • Celebrate a Minnesota fishing tradition: Fishing is a key part of Minnesota's tourism industry, and 500,000 anglers celebrate the Minnesota season opener. It's a way of life throughout the state and the Governor's Fishing Opener has been a treasured tradition since 1948 that celebrates our state's great outdoors and recreation opportunities. The event helps kick off the summer travel season in a different host community each year.
  • Hear from Gov. Walz, Explore Minnesota, Minnesota DNR and Otter Tail County area hosts: Highlighting the importance of fishing and tourism to Minnesota's economy, regional travel opportunities and more.
  • Catch a few interviews at Media Row: Join media cohorts from around the state during Media Row on Friday, May 14, from 5 to 10 a.m., to discuss the Minnesota fishing season, Otter Tail County and statewide travel and recreational opportunities. Media Row will be held outside at Thumper Pond Resort (300 Thumper Lodge Rd, Ottertail, MN 56571).
  • Wet a line on opening day, Saturday, May 15, virtually or in person to cast for stories and fish alike. In-person fishing will kick off on Otter Tail Lake with a send-off ceremony outside of Beach Bums Bar and Eatery at 8 a.m., followed with a celebratory shore lunch in two shifts from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. Beach Bums is located at 35776 Co Hwy 72, Battle Lake, MN 56515.
  • #OnlyinMN Online Statewide Fishing Derby: Anglers from all around can also join the fun on any Minnesota lake during a virtual statewide fishing derby via FishDonkey. The friendly competition runs Sat., May 15 from 12:01 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Explore Otter Tail County and Find Your Inner Otter: This is the first time in history that a Governor's Fishing Opener will be held in Otter Tail County. Various Opener media activities will highlight the area, including self-guided adventures throughout Otter Tail County, angling opportunities and more. Visiting media attendees are encouraged to explore the area at their own pace by taking the "Find Your Inner Otter" quiz.

Located in west-central Minnesota, Otter Tail County offers a classic Minnesota lakeside getaway. It's one of the largest counties in the state, comprising more than 2,200 square miles, 22 charming communities and the most lakes (1,048) in any U.S. county, including the 10th largest lake in the state, Otter Tail Lake. Area lakes offer plenty of fish, including many panfish varieties, walleye and sturgeon, not to mention an abundance of water recreation. Nearby, Glendalough State Park and Maplewood State Park, home to Inspiration Peak (the highest point in the county), local restaurants, charming shops, lodging properties and more offer additional leisure activities


  • Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener event images will be available on Friday, May 14, by 11 p.m. and throughout the weekend.
  • Fish for other event updates in reel time on social media using #MNGFO2021 and #OnlyinMN.
  • Media Row details can be found here

Media contacts:

If you plan to attend the 2021 Governor's Fishing Opener activities in person, most activities throughout Otter Tail County will be held outside, including Media Row at Thumper Pond Resort. Please plan accordingly and bring appropriate outdoor attire. Please see schedule of media activities if you're interested in attending the 2021 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener. For more information, visit All events will comply with Stay Safe MN guidelines, including capacity limitations, physical distancing and face-coverings.

The 73rd Minnesota's Governor's Fishing Opener, being held in Otter Tail County, May 13-15, 2021, has been a Minnesota tradition since 1948. The event is hosted by Minnesota's governor and a different Minnesota community each year to highlight the importance of tourism and fishing to the Minnesota economy. The event is organized by 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 can be found at