The 71st Annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will be held May 11-13, 2018 in the Willmar Lakes Area, including the communities of Willmar, Spicer, and New London.

We’re looking for 110 friendly fishing enthusiasts!

Apply to be a 2018 Fishing Host!

The Executive Committee for the 2018 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener is looking for volunteers to serve as Fishing Hosts during the weekend-long event that will take place in the Willmar Lakes Area May 10-13.

All area residents with a licensed boat  and a passion for fishing are encouraged to apply. Primary responsibilities are simply to have fun, be friendly, and serve as welcoming ambassadors for the Willmar Lakes area.

Fishing Hosts are expected to attend the Appreciation Dinner on Thursday, May 10, and the Fishing Host & Guest Pairing event on Friday, May 11. On the day of the event, Hosts must be available for the official Send-Off Ceremony Saturday morning, and the Shore Lunch, both in Spicer. The official Fishing Challenge will wrap-up around 4 PM on Saturday. In recognition for their efforts, Fishing Hosts will receive a commemorative gift package valued at several hundred dollars.

For more details, or to apply, call the Willmar Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at  (320) 235-3552.

Apply to be a 2018 Fishing Host…

Enjoy a picnic meal, concert, and show-off your hometown pride as we kick off the 2018 Fishing Opener in the Willmar Lakes Area! Bring a lawn chair and come prepared for any weather conditions. Free picnic meals will be served to the first 3,000 attendees.

This event is free and open to the public, so please spread the word!


Download an event flyer

About the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener

The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. It was designed to improve Minnesota’s economy through the development and promotion of the state’s recreational opportunities, especially fishing. The first opener was a cooperative promotion between the state’s resort industry, media, and public officials. Today, the emphasis is even broader. It celebrates the kickoff of the summer tourism season. The special partnership continues today with a promotional focus on a host community as well as recreational opportunities statewide.

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