ALBERT LEA, Minn. (WCCO) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz celebrated Saturday’s fishing opener with a little friendly competition between himself and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, who was fishing in a different boat.

“So our boat caught nine. I personally caught three. You got to one,” Flanagan said.

Other lawmakers went to Albert Lea Saturday for the Governor’s Fishing Opener as well.

Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said the Senate boat did well, catching about 13 fish.

Gov. Walz says they didn’t talk politics much, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t productive.

“I have been on a few of these with the Governor. It’s a great time to build the relationship. The last stretch is always tough. Just to come out and fish together, I think is really important, so today was good in that regard,” Gazelka said.

“I very much appreciate the tone of how this has been done. There’s a healthy disagreement on direction but not on goals in what the state needs,” Walz added.

Sen. Gazelka says lawmakers are going to roll up their sleeves Sunday and finish their work. The legislative session ends a week from Monday.

Lots of other anglers also headed to Albert Lea to participate.

“Two perch, one crappie and a northern. I’ve got four fish, so this is one of the best governor’s openers yet,” said Doug Grann, of North Branch.

Grann comes to the opener every year, but it’s not every year you catch a huge fish right in front of the cameras.

“What did we measure it? Twenty-eight inches,” Grann said.

Just five minutes later, another boat beat him. But at the end of the day, it’s just being out on the water that really matters.

“Being out here, seeing all the fish, catching fish certainly is a big thrill. Being out here at daylight, seeing the geese fly over, being with nature – I think that’s why we get out here. Not so much the catching, it’s the fishing,” Grann said.

Katie Steiner

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