TALKIN WITH DOKKEN: Would there ever be a Governors Opener on the Red River?
Q. I know with ice still on many lakes that Minnesota's walleye opener -- and the first week or so of fishing season this year -- will be a challenge, but has East Grand Forks ever tried to host the governor for the fishing opener? In years past,...
Q. I know with ice still on many lakes that Minnesota's walleye opener -- and the first week or so of fishing season this year -- will be a challenge, but has East Grand Forks ever tried to host the governor for the fishing opener? In years past, we have had bang-up openers on the Red River fishing for catfish as opposed to chasing walleyes.
A. That's an interesting concept, but to my knowledge, East Grand Forks has never tried to host a governor for the Minnesota fishing opener, and I very much doubt it's even been discussed.
The Governors Fishing Opener -- Park Rapids, Minn., hosted this year's 66th event Saturday -- is steeped in the tradition and mystique that surrounds the walleye, which is Minnesota's state fish. And the idea of shifting gears and having the governor target catfish, instead, likely wouldn't go over very well among Minnesota fishing purists -- especially those for whom the only "real fish" is a walleye. As the name suggests, the governor's opener also is tied in with the opening day of walleye season, and with catfish season open year-round, organizers would lose the "event" status that opening day provides.
As Park Rapids organizers found out all too well this year with the latest ice-out on record, Mother Nature calls the shots. Most years, ice-covered lakes aren't a problem on opening day. By comparison, flooding on the Red River is a relatively regular springtime occurrence, which would create nightmares for planners.
That being said, the Red River holds a high-quality walleye population, and when river conditions are right, few places offer a better shot at a trophy fish. I caught my personal-best walleye, which measured 31½ inches, in October 2008 right in East Grand Forks city limits just minutes from my back door.
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