Dick Herfindahl: Is a sunny, dry opener too much to ask?

Published 7:19 pm Friday, April 26, 2019

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


Although we have been treated to some nice weather this past week, the uncertainty of spring weather has once again reminded us that spring, indeed, is not summer. With the Governor’s Fishing Opener looming in the not too distant future, fingers are crossed that the weather for the opener is at least tolerable. With all of the hard work that folks have been putting in to make this event a success, I am hopeful that the event will be blessed with mild temperatures and a little sunshine.

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I have been attending the Governor’s Fishing Opener for the past 23 years. This will be the first year since 1995 that I have not fished at the event. I will be at the Saturday events but in a different capacity this year.

Of those 23 years attending the event I have fished in almost all different kinds of weather. My first opener was probably my most miserable one as far as the weather goes. It was raining and cold with a strong wind. It didn’t take long to find out that no matter what rain gear you had on, staying dry was not an option.

Over those years I have met a lot of interesting people that I look forward to seeing each year. One of those folks that I have become friends with is Jeff Anderson, a sportscaster from Watertown, South Dakota. We met about 15-years ago through a mutual friend, Danny Olson, a sportscaster from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who has since passed. We have fished together almost every year since.

Hosting this event is great for the community and the amazing thing about it is the fact that we have so many folks who have stepped up to the plate to be on different planning committees and to volunteer. We could never make this happen without the many volunteers that it takes to do the things like serving meals, parking cars, registering guests, helping with directions and so many other tasks that are an important part of making this event a memorable one for the many media guests and visitors to our community.

In Minnesota, an estimated 500,000 anglers will celebrate the fishing opener. An example of what kind of an impression this event will make on our area. The Governor’s Opener will reach an estimated audience of 685,025,084. The estimated ad value equivalency $1,171,165.33 with the total number of mentions being 2,518. This will be a huge boost for our community as the eyes of the state will be focused on the Governor and the Albert Lea area.

There have been some folks who have heard or manufactured rumors that the DNR is going to stock or have stocked tanks full of adult walleye in Fountain Lake for this event. I have spent quite a bit of time these past few months with various folks from the DNR and I can honestly say that this is not the case. I was assured by the DNR that Fountain Lake has a healthy walleye population. Walleye fishing can be tough on many of the shallower lakes in southern Minnesota where one of the main obstacles when it comes to catching walleye in shallow lakes is high boat traffic. Hitting the lake in early morning, late evening or even doing some night fishing can be most effective. The last walleye stocking in Fountain Lake was in 2017. The DNR usually stocks fry in the spring and fingerlings in the fall, but rarely do they stock adult fish.


Life jackets a safety necessity when boating on cold water

Men 20-60 years old are least likely to wear a life jacket, most likely to drown.

With waterways across the state clearing of ice, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anxious boaters that wearing a life jacket is a critical safety necessity during the spring “cold water” season.

While boaters should always wear a life jacket no matter the water temperature or season, public safety officials stress wearing a life jacket — not just having it on the boat — is the one action that significantly increases the chances of surviving a fall into cold water.

“The shock of falling into cold water triggers your gasp reflex, which more than likely means inhaling water,” said Lisa Dugan, DNR boating safety representative. “Wearing a life jacket gives you a fighting chance to get your head above water, stay calm instead of panicking, and call for help before hypothermia sets in.”

Though air temperatures continue to rise, water temperatures statewide are still dangerously cold; cold enough to cause the gasp reflex and incapacitate even strong swimmers in less than one minute.

We are still looking for volunteers to help with some of the events on May 11.

If you are interested in being a volunteer, you can call or text me at 507-383-2231 for more information. This is your chance to help showcase this great community we choose to live in and one we are proud to call home. If you are interested in being a volunteer, you can also message the CVB at 507-373-2316.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers. We must never forget those who are still putting themselves in harm’s way so we can enjoy all of the wonderful freedoms we have today.