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Pawlenty is 'inclined' to back earlier fishing opener

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Pawlenty checks out some gear
Gov. Pawlenty sorted through some fishing lures at Joe's Sporting Goods in St. Paul, before the 2007 Governor's fishing opener.
MPR Photo/Tom Scheck

The odds of an earlier walleye fishing opener in Minnesota have greatly improved.

      Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on his radio show on Friday that he would be "inclined to sign" legislation moving the opener forward by a week.

Pawlenty said there are several good reasons to change the opener.

"We give people an extra week of fishing. We can start the fishing season earlier and that might help tourism, it would promote more tourism activity in Minnesota and of course the chance to catch more walleye quicker is better," said Pawlenty. "The fishing opener often conflicts with Mother's Day, which puts anglers in Minnesota at some tension with their spouses, their moms, their grandmoms and family."

Pawlenty added that he wants to make sure the shift would not interfere with fish spawning.

Last week, state Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, said he'd push for the earlier opener - in part to keep it from falling on the weekend of Mother's Day in some years.

      Chaudhary said it would bring the state's dates in line with neighboring states. It would mean a May 2 opener in 2009, instead of May 9.

             (The Associated Press contributed to this report)