Ever heard of Minnesota Governor Luther Youngdahl? Well, he was the governor who began the great annual Minnesota tradition of the Governor’s Fishing Opener back in 1951. It may be a celebration of the opening of the walleye-fishing season, but it also marks the beginning of Minnesota’s brief window for summer tourism.
For almost 60 years, we have marked this event with a big party and lots of media attention. Communities around the state actively vie for the opportunity to host the opener each spring. In the past year, the community of White Bear Lake has been busily preparing for Governor Pawlenty’s arrival this weekend for the walleye opener.
What conditions will Governor Pawlenty be facing this weekend? A visit to checkmylake.org reveals that White Bear Lake is a relatively healthy lake, especially for one in the Twin Cities metro.
It gets a thumbs up for water recreation and swimming, since the water has very low counts of phosphorus and chlorophyll, two chemicals that contribute to excessive algae and other plant growth on many of our lakes. The Governor should be prudent when eating the fish he catches, however, since the fish tested from White Bear Lake show potentially harmful levels of mercury and PCBs. Adults should not eat more than one walleye meal per week while children and women of childbearing age shouldn’t eat more than one walleye meal per month. A further look at the checkmylake.org site shows that White Bear Lake suffers from an infestation of Eurasian Milfoil an invasive species that threatens native aquatic plants and deteriorates the quality of the lake habitat. The Governor will do us all a favor when he checks his boat’s propeller for traces of the weed when he finishes his fishing, so the weed doesn’t spread into other lakes.
Be sure to check out if YOUR lake is clean enough for swimming and fishing and find out what you can do to keep it healthy at checkmylake.org.
How should Governor Pawlenty dress for the occasion? Paul Douglas and his colleagues at mnweathercenter.org provide a detailed forecast for the opener. It looks like he should bring a warm coat (temps ranging from 44 to 56) but may not have to worry about any rain showers. Since the site provides regional forecasts for around the state, be sure to check the site for your trip this weekend whether it’s for the opener, mother’s day, or to open up the cabin.
Are you getting out this weekend? Be sure to send in your stories, photos and even videos so we can share them on our site and in the next issue of Conservation Minnesota Magazine.
|Minnesota Governor Karl Rolvaag with Iowa Governor Harold E. Hughes at the 1965 Walleye opener on Gunflint Lake. Photo courtesy of MN Historical Society.|