Albert Lea to host 2019 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener

The annual Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is heading to the southern part of the state next year.

Fountain Lake in Albert Lea will host the 2019 event from May 9-12. The announcement was made late Saturday as this year's event was wrapping up at Green Lake near Willmar.

It will be the first time that Albert Lea has hosted the annual spring tradition in Minnesota.

"The Albert Lea area is a real recreational gem of southern Minnesota," John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota, said in a news release. "Our organization is incredibly excited to work with this friendly, energetic community on one of our biggest cooperative promotional events of the year."

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Fountain Lake covers 521 acres and is home to 20 species of fish, including walleye, largemouth bass and northern pike.

The governor's fishing opener has been held each year since 1948; it promotes the state's recreation industry and serves as a kick-off to the summer tourism season.

Other recent host communities include St. Cloud in 2017, McGregor in 2016 and Tower in 2015.

With Gov. Mark Dayton deciding not to run for re-election this year, it remains to be seen who will be in the governor's boat for next year's opener.