By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV 

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton is fishing near Grand Rapids for his first Governor’s Fishing Opener, a tradition dating back to 1948.

Dayton planned to head out on Lake Pokegama in time to wet a line when the season opened at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

But the main event was set for around 8 a.m. A bipartisan group scheduled to send him off at dockside included House Speaker Kurt Zellers, Sen. Al Franken and Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon. A news conference and shore lunch are scheduled for around 10:30 a.m.

The Governor’s Fishing Opener traditionally serves as a kickoff celebration to the summer tourism season.

Many of festivities are based at Ruttger’s Sugar Lake Lodge. Most of the fishing will be on Pokegama and other area lakes.

Vados Express Bait and Tackle Shop in Spring Lake Park estimated they would see nearly 1,000 customers before their 10 p.m. close Friday night. They will be open up early Saturday morning to accommodate another rush.

“Just like the governor, they want the big one,” said Mike Frost, who kept up with customer requests behind the counter.”We got crappies, fatheads, shiners, minnows, night crawlers and leeches.”

At the Cabela’s in Rogers, the biggest sellers were fishing licenses and as customer Brian Culver puts it – anything that will reel in a walleye. He came to buy a new pole before driving up to Lake Mille Lacs before midnight.

Joe Blake and his father Jeff Blake of Andover are headed to Lake Mille Lacs too, and say they’ll head out with a strategy.

“The colder weather the fish are going to be real shallow, we are going to be throwing jigs up in sand flats and shallow rocks,” said Joe Blake.

At Lake Minnetonka, Mike Zmuda of Fridley and a fishing buddy launched their fishing boat before 7 p.m.

“You just want to get your spot out there,  you never know, if you can find a hot spot, you are all right,” said Zmuda.

And their dreams are no different from any other angler. They come to come back with a real fish story – no exaggeration necessary.

“A wall mounter – it would be nice to get a big one,” said Zmuda.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Bruce Hagevik Reports

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. Yelper says:

    Bet Dayton will catch more fish than that loser Pawlenty ever did on the opener!

  2. A. Johnson says:

    Try Whitefish Lake in Crow Wing County. One of the best.

  3. kevin says:

    hey Yelper ,Dayton couldn’t catch fish with dynamite. Also he would need to raise taxes to buy the dynamite.

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