ST. CLOUD -- The 70th annual Governor's Fishing Opener is this weekend, and there's plenty to know about the event. From who can fish, to what's going on for the public to partake in, and even a new boat to win, we've got everything you need to know for the weekend, and the preparations for it, right here.

  • 1

    The Actual Fishing Is By Invite Only

    Lake George, Mississippi River

    While the event is a large undertaking, and hundreds of people attend and participate, those who take part in the actual fishing are by invite only. A trip to the governor's opener website's FAQ sections tells us:

    "Explore Minnesota Tourism and the host community extend invitations to media representatives to attend the event to increase publicity for the area, fishing and other recreational opportunities".

    All that extra attention is expected to bring in around 4-5 millions worth of free press and marketing for our community.

    Our version of the opener should be a rather unique one.

    Mikael Damkier/ThinkStock/TSM
  • 2

    The Community Is Putting in Extra Time to Make Sure We Look Good

    Wilson Park, Mississippi River, Beaver Island Trail

    Volunteers from the community and Beaver Island Brewing have held separate clean-up events to get our city looking good for the few hundred reporters and politicians that will see it this weekend.

    Twenty-three-year-old Katie Weber organized the Wilson Park clean-up crew, she says the event was organized to correspond with the Governor’s fishing opener.

    “I actually contacted Scott Zlotnik with the parks and rec department about doing this, and he said he would really appreciate it if we did it around April- May to prepare for the fishing opener.”

    The city of St. Cloud provided garbage bags and gloves for the volunteers.

    Katie Weber and other volunteers cleaning up Wilson park. (Photo by Justin LaBounty WJON)
  • 3

    Area Kids Are Getting Involved

    Lake George, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, Sartell

    Several area 4th graders from Sauk-Rapids, St. Cloud, and Sartell School Districts are getting some extra hands-on education in relation to this weekend.

    The Minnesota DNR has been working with the kids for the past few months.

    DNR Education Specialist Deb Groebner says they want to teach kids about conservation and are using the governor’s “Year of Water Action” as a guide.

    The program will culminate with the Youth Fishing and Aquatic Education Day at Lake George Friday, May 11th. The students will each get their own rod and reel and a life jacket to take home.

    MyFWCMedia,Flickr
  • 4

    YOU CAN WIN A BOAT

    And Who Doesn't Like Boats?

    To help fund the opener, the St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is raffling off a brand new Tracker pontoon boat.

    St. Cloud director for the Governor’s Fishing Opener Julie Lunning says the Governor’s Fishing Opener is a state event but surrounding cities do have to help cover some costs.

    “Although this is the state of Minnesota’s event the host communities are responsible for running everything and do take on the fiscal responsibility. This allows us to raise money to be able to run the event, be successful and do some great things for the people that are going to be coming to town.”

    The raffle winner will be announced in the evening on Saturday, May 13th. Each raffle ticket is $10.

    Chrissy Gaetke, WJON
  • 5

    There's Plenty Of Events For Everyone

    Call it a "Festivus for the rest of us", St. Cloud Metro

    While the big deal this weekend is the fishing itself, there's plenty going on that you don't need an invite for!

    From the community picnic, which Spokesman John Libert says will be a happy well-fed event:

    Other than just music, we’re going to have food for anywhere up to 8,000 people.  We’re going to  have chicken.  We’re going to have a well-fed, happy, concert going on.

    There will also be golf, and special tours for the weekend.

    Along with area businesses getting involved - several Sauk Rapids business owners are planning an event on the Saturday of the Governor’s Fishing Opener. Roy Dodds is the owner of Urban Lodge Brewery and Restaurant, he has this to say about the plans for this weekend:

    And because Sauk Rapids has the most [fishable] shoreline on the river, Sauk Rapids Sportsmen Association – in conjunction with the city – is organizing shore fishing stations.  So people can explore the river that way. And we thought, as a group of businesses in the community, that it would be fun to showcase our park system.

    Besides Urban Lodge, Old Capital Tavern, Manea’s Meats, and Mixin’ It Up Gluten Free Bakery have all signed on to be a part of the event.