Hosts of 71st Governors Fishing Opener Impatiently Waiting for Ice Out

The Planning Committee for the 71st Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener gathered on Green Lake Sunday 4/15 during the April blizzard

Willmar, Minn. (April 15, 2018) – The 71st annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener is only 28 days away, and hosts in the Willmar Lakes Area are digging out from an April blizzard that dumped over a foot of snow throughout the region.

As if that’s not bad enough, the record spring cold has left Green Lake – the site of this year’s Governor’s Opener – with a whopping 25 inches of ice to melt off by May 12th.

“Our latest ice-out in on record was May 8th, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for a quick warm-up,” said Beth Fischer, Executive Director of the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. 

In spite of the record cold, late ice-out, and weekend blizzard, the Planning Committee for the Governor’s Fishing Opener has not lost their sense of humor. On Sunday, they gathered on Green Lake with ice augers, chainsaws, blow torches, axes, shovels and a sign that said, #ComeOnSpring and #WeGotThis.

 “What can you do?” said Fischer. “We may as well have fun with it.”

They may poke fun at themselves, but the folks from the Willmar Lakes Area really do know how to remove ice from a lake. This past January, volunteers worked alongside the Wee Kut Ice Company of New London to harvest ice from Green Lake for the St. Paul Winter Carnival ice castle that was built during the Super Bowl.

Whatever the case – frozen or unfrozen – Fischer says not to worry. “We have several beautiful lakes to choose from in the Willmar Lakes Area, so we’ll make sure the Governor gets out on the water.”

In addition, the committee has several other activities planned throughout the weekend, including a free community picnic and concert. They’ve dubbed it the “Rockin’ Robbins Fishin’ Edition,” a spinoff of the Willmar Rotary Club’s popular summer concert series at Robbins Island.

For more information, including regular ice-out updates, 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.

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