The ice is out on most lakes across the state, and anglers have prepared their gear and made their plans for Saturday's Minnesota fishing opener.
It's the annual start of the season for catching walleye, northern pike and several other species across the state. Among the anglers who will be out on a lake for the opener is Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who will be taking part in the 71st annual Governor's Fishing Opener on Green Lake near Willmar.
Ahead of the opener, here's a collection of fishing trivia, history and facts about fishing in Minnesota. But before you read on, why not test your prior knowledge with this quiz:
Fishing in Minnesota, by the numbers
Approximate number of licensed anglers in Minnesota
Approximate number of people expected to fish on Saturday's opener
Number of lakes in Minnesota; about 4,500 of those are considered fishing lakes
Miles of fishable rivers and streams; about 3,800 miles of those are trout streams
Species of fish found in Minnesota waters
What are the most sought-after fish in Minnesota?
A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey showed that walleyes top the list, followed by northern pike and muskies, then panfish, bass, crappies and trout.
Source: Minnesota DNR
Which communities have hosted the Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener?
The Minnesota Historical Society has compiled a list of past Minnesota Governor's Fishing Openers dating back to 1948. Here are the stops made by Dayton and his two most-recent predecessors (find the full list here):
2018: Willmar, Green Lake
2017: St. Cloud, Mississippi River
2016: McGregor, Big Sandy Lake
2015: Tower, Lake Vermilion
2014: Nisswa, Gull Lake
2013: Park Rapids, Fish Hook Lake
2012: Waconia, Lake Waconia
2011: Grand Rapids, Pokegama Lake
2010: Kabetogama / Voyaguers National Park, Lake Kabetogama
2009: White Bear Lake, White Bear Lake
2008: Breezy Point, Pelican Lake
2007: Walker, Leech Lake
2006: International Falls, Rainy Lake
2005: Tower, Lake Vermilion
2004: Baudette, Lake of the Woods
2003: Detroit Lakes, Big Detroit Lake
2002: International Falls, Rainy Lake
2001: Breezy Point, Pelican Lake
2000: Crane Lake, Crane Lake
1999: Grand Rapids, Pokegama Lake
The first 10 governor's fishing openers were held on Mille Lacs Lake; the event has returned there three other times, most recently in 1991.
The last time a governor was unable to attend an official opener? Wendell Anderson in 1975
Minnesota fishing opener weather statistics
Warmest fishing opener on record
92 degrees at St. Cloud (1987)
Coldest fishing opener on record
24 degrees at International Falls (1996 and 2004)
Other weather stats
Three-quarters of Minnesota fishing openers have not seen any measurable precipitation
More than half of fishing openers on record have been cloudy
At least a trace of snow was recorded on the opener at International Falls five times in the past seven decades
The average fishing opener in Minnesota sees highs in the 60s to near 70 degrees — which is what forecasts are calling for this year.
Source: Minnesota DNR State Climatology Office
• New to fishing? Some common terms to know• Getting started: A beginner's guide to fishing• Watch: How to clean a fish• Rules and more: Minnesota fishing regulations• From the DNR: Regional fishing outlooks• Looking for a place to fish? DNR's LakeFinder• How big? State record fish
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