Longtime fishing guide Gildow to host governor for opener
BRAINERD, Minn. -- Ray Gildow, a longtime professional fishing guide in the Brainerd lakes area, will be Gov. Mark Dayton’s guide in the Governor’s Fishing Opener on Saturday.
Toby Kvalevog, also of the Brainerd area, will fish with Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon, Explore Minnesota Tourism officials said Friday in a news release.
This will be Gildow’s fourth opener serving as a guide, but he has hosted media anglers in all of the previous events, he said.
A casual acquaintance of the governor, Gildow said he served as Wadena County chair of Dayton’s first U.S. Senate campaign. Dayton lost that race. Gildow and his wife also visited with Dayton in Washington, D.C., when he served in the U.S. Senate.
Although he’s guided many important business officials, Gildow said Dayton will be the biggest celebrity he’s ever hosted on the water.
“It’s a very nice honor,” Gildow said of guiding the governor on Gull Lake.
A U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, Gildow has been a professional fishing guide in the Brainerd lakes area for 25 years, according to the release.
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.
Kvalevog, a fisherman for 35 years, has called the Brainerd lakes area home since 1999. He considers the area a “multi-species mecca” thanks to the diversity of fish that can be caught here, 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,” Kvalevog said. “Fishing is all about making memories, and for me, this will be one that lasts a lifetime.”
Kvalevog is an eighth-grade physical education teacher at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. He lives in the Brainerd area with his wife, son and two daughters.
The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. Fishing is a key part of tourism, one of the largest sectors of Minnesota’s economy, state officials said.
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.
For more information on the fishing opener, visit www.mngovernorsopener.com.