Special Thanks!

The Brainerd Lakes Chamber and Grand View Lodge hosted an outstanding “Grand” Opener event.  Thanks also goes to the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce for coordinating the community picnic and all the volunteers that worked to make this event a huge success!

State of Minnesota

Media contact:
Alyssa Ebel, Explore Minnesota Tourism
651-757-1857 / alyssa.ebel@state.mn.us

Lake Vermilion Area to Host 2015 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener

Next year’s Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will be held in the Lake Vermilion area, May 7 through 10, 2015. Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism promotion office, organizes this event each year in coordination with a host community. The 68th annual Governor’s Fishing Opener will be hosted by the Lake Vermilion Resort Association (LVRA), with Fortune Bay Resort as headquarters.

“During my four years as Governor, we have had outstanding Fishing Openers hosted by community leaders in Grand Rapids, Waconia, Park Rapids, and Brainerd,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “I am delighted to announce that next year’s Governor’s Fishing Opener will be at Lake Vermilion. Thank you to everyone involved in hosting next year’s Opener.”

“The Lake Vermilion area has a long tradition as a northeast Minnesota fishing destination, and now, it’s also well-known for great golfing, scenic parks, historic sites, numerous resorts and more,” said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. “The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener will put the Lake Vermilion area in the spotlight for travelers.”

“The Lake Vermilion Resort Association and Fortune Bay Resort are thrilled to have this prominent event,” said LVRA President, Jay Schelde. “We last hosted it in 2005, so we know what to expect and we’ll be ready to showcase all that the Lake Vermilion area has to offer.”

Fortune Bay Resort, which is owned and operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, will host many of the events and activities. There are also plans for area tours, including the new Lake Vermilion State Park and other area landmarks.

“There will be no shortage of activities,” said Schelde. “This event will be a great economic boon to the Lake Vermilion area, giving us the exposure needed to show people what an amazing destination this is.”

The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. The event was designed to promote the development of Minnesota’s recreation industry, and in recent years, it has served as an iconic kick-off celebration for the summer tourism season. Travel and tourism generate $12.5 billion in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota annually.

The Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener provides the host community with an opportunity to highlight local fishing and other travel activities, attractions and points of interest. Media from throughout the Midwest region attend the event, resulting in significant publicity for the host community and Minnesota.

More information about the Governor’s Fishing Opener is available at: www.mngovernorsopener.com


As the state’s tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota Tourism pursues an entrepreneurial approach, leveraging the state’s tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. A council of representatives from the state’s tourism industry strongly connects Explore Minnesota Tourism with tourism businesses and organizations. Tourism is a $12.5 billion industry in Minnesota, a key sector of the state’s economy. The leisure and hospitality industry, a major provider of tourism services, employs over 245,000, representing 11 percent of private sector employment. Leisure and hospitality also generates 17 percent of state sales tax revenues. For every $1 invested in state tourism marketing returns an estimated: $8 in state and local taxes and $84 in spending by travelers.

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2014 Minnesota Fishing Opener Hosts Selected
for Governor and Lieutenant Governor

ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 2, 2014) – A pair of accomplished anglers from the Brainerd Lakes Area will host Governor Mark Dayton and Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon for the 2014 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener on Saturday, May 10. Ray Gildow will fish with Gov. Dayton, and Toby Kvalevog will fish with Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon.

Ray Gildow_Gov. Fishing Host Toby_Lt. Gov. Fishing Host
Ray Gildow
Toby Kvalevog
Click on image for larger version.

A U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, Ray Gildow has been a professional fishing guide in the Brainerd Lakes area for 25 years. His love of fishing dates back to his toddler years, when he learned the sport from his father and grandfathers. He calls Gull Lake his “second home” after fishing there in every season since junior high. Additional contributions to the Minnesota fishing industry include his book, “Legends and Legacies: A History of the Nisswa Guide League”; his Lakeland Public Television show “Lakeland Currents”; and his weekly fishing report on the “Brainerd Outdoors” radio show.

“It is a distinct honor to be chosen as the governor’s fishing host for the 2014 Fishing Opener,” Ray says. “This is one of Minnesota’s richest historical traditions, and I am extremely humbled to be a part of it.”

Beyond fishing, Ray keeps himself busy as the chair of the Staples Motley Area Community Foundation, board member for Lakeland Public Television, drummer and singer with his part-time band, and husband, father and grandfather.

Toby Kvalevog, a fisherman for 35 years, has called the Brainerd Lakes area home since 1999. He considers the area a “multispecies mecca” thanks to the diversity of fish that can be caught there, including walleye, bass, perch, northern pike, muskie and crappie. He enjoys the strategy that fishing requires, as well as the memories and long-lasting relationships he has built over the last 12 years as a fishing guide on Gull Lake.
“It is an honor and privilege to have been selected to fish with Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon for the 2014 Minnesota Fishing Opener,” says Toby. “Fishing is all about making memories, and for me, this will be one that lasts a lifetime.”

Toby is an eighth grade physical education teacher at Forestview Middle School in Brainerd, and enjoys hunting and playing and coaching hockey. He lives with his wife, son and two daughters.

The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a treasured tradition in Minnesota since 1948, while fishing is a key part of one of the largest sectors of our economy, tourism. The Opener is also a kick-off celebration for the statewide summer tourism season. Travel and tourism generate $12.5 billion in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota annually. The annual Governor’s Fishing Opener is an opportunity to spotlight Minnesota fishing and the Brainerd Lakes Area.


Fishing host contact information:

Ray Gildow, Fishing Host to Gov. Dayton
Email: gildow@arvig.net
Cell phone: 218-821-8848

Toby Kvalevog, Fishing Host to Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon
Email: tobyk@leisureoutdooradventures.com
Cell phone: 218-821-0168

Media contact:

Alyssa Ebel, Explore Minnesota
Email: alyssa.ebel@state.mn.us
Phone: 651-757-1857