Fishing Hosts Needed for 2018 Governor’s Fishing Opener

Willmar, Minn. (January 16, 2017) – The Executive Committee for the 2018 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 this spring.

“This is a great opportunity for local fishing enthusiasts to share their passion and help showcase our community,” said Fishing Hosts Co-Chair, Dean Anfinson.

Over 100 Fishing Hosts are needed for the event, which will take place May 10-13, 2018. Fishing Hosts will be paired with members of the media, major sponsors, representatives from the Governor’s office, and other special guests.

“Of course, it’s a bonus if our guests actually catch a fish while they’re here,” said Beth Fischer, Executive Director of the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “But the real goal is to highlight our local area and encourage people from around the state to come visit.”

In Minnesota, the Governor’s Fishing Opener is the largest tourism and media familiarization event of the year, resulting in hundreds of thousands (and potentially millions) of dollars of free publicity for the host community. Last year’s event, which was held on the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, brought more than 130 media personnel to the area, generating a total of 3,724 media placements (print, online, radio, TV, and social media) with a publicity value of over $1.3 million.

“This is really an exciting event,” said Fischer. “We’re very fortunate to have won the bid for this year’s Opener, and we encourage people to get involved.”

Fishing Hosts do not need to be experts. They simply need to have a licensed boat, and a willingness to spend some time talking about the Willmar Lakes Area.

“It doesn’t require a fancy fishing boat, and you don’t need to be a professional angler,” said Anfinson. “A pontoon will do just fine, and at worst, you might have to remove a fish from someone’s hook,” he added. “The main requirement is just to have fun and be friendly.”

Prior to the actual Opener on Saturday, May 12, 2018, Fishing Hosts will be expected to attend the Fishing Host 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, filled with donated items from local sponsors.

“Last year in St. Cloud, there was a waiting list for people wanting to be Fishing Hosts,” said Laura Anfinson, Co-Chair of the Fishing Hosts Committee. “So apply early!” she added.

For details on becoming a 2018 Fishing Host, or to apply, visit


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.

For more information, visit

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