Baudette set to host governor

Lake of the Woods, known as the “Walleye Capital of the World,” is gearing up to host Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s entourage, as well as about 300 media reps, for the 2004 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener.
This is the 56th-annual Governor’s Fishing Opener, but the first time the Lake of the Woods and the Baudette community have played host to it.
A tradition since 1948, the event is intended to improve Minnesota’s economy through the development and promotion of the state’s recreational
opportunities, especially fishing.
The first Governor’s Fishing Opener was a co-operative promotion between the state’s resort industry, media, and public officials. Today, the emphasis is
even broader—the event celebrates the kick-off of the summer tourism season.
The partnership with the state and resort industry continues, with a promotional focus on a host community as well as recreational opportunities
But fishing is not forgotten, and clearly is still the main promotion of the event.
And it’s pretty likely that Gov. Pawlenty should be able to catch some fish.
Lake of the Woods this year has an abundance of walleye between three and six years old, measuring from 11-15 inches, as a result of consecutive years of successful spawning, reported Mike Larson, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources area fisheries supervisor in Baudette.
But fishing success for many anglers may depend on the weather this weekend.
“If we get a lot of warm weather, the bigger walleye tend to move out into the lake, making them harder to catch,” Larson said earlier. “But if it’s a
late spring with colder weather, the larger fish stay closer to shore and are more vulnerable to anglers.”
The latter may be true for the many local fishing hosts who will aid visiting members of the media and other guests when they wet a line tomorrow for the Minnesota walleye opener.
The forecast calls for high temperatures tomorrow of about 60 degrees F, with a chance of rain in the afternoon and evening.
But even if the walleye aren’t biting, Larson said northern pike remain abundant, with opportunities for 20-pound fish.
Meanwhile, public events during the Governor’s Fishing Opener include a community park celebration at 3:15 p.m. today at Timbermill Park, when Gov. Pawlenty is expected to dedicate at new public water access offering improved access to Rainy River and Lake of the Woods.
In addition, he will help DNR fisheries staff tag and release a lake sturgeon to bring attention to the ongoing recovery of the species in the
Rainy River and Lake of the Woods.
The release also will highlight a sturgeon tagging research project being conducted jointly by the DNR, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and area First Nations.
A community parade and picnic begins at 4:15 p.m. today in Baudette, which will feature family activities, draft horse wagon rides, wildlife displays, an art show featuring local artists, and music on stage.