• 54°

Gov. Tim Walz proclaims Clean Drain Dry Day for Governor’s Fishing Opener

To celebrate Minnesota’s fishing opener, Gov. Tim Walz has reportedly declared Saturday  Clean Drain Dry Day to spotlight invasive species and how boaters and anglers can help preserve a robust fishing pastime and state economy.

Home to 1.4 million anglers, fishing in Minnesota generates over $2.6 billion of economic activity and supports over 26,000 jobs, according to a Wildlife Forever press release.

Working with partners across the state, Wildlife Forever coordinates statewide public outreach and educational efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Invasive species are a direct serious threat now to local economies and recreationists accessing public waters, the release states. The Shell Rock River Watershed District along with Wildlife Forever said there are many partners combating invasive species, from soil and watershed conservation districts, lake associations, county, state and federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations — all united under a common theme of Clean Drain Dry.

One of the initiative’s directives for all bait anglers  is to trash unused bait. If keeping minnows and leeches, anglers are advised to bring fresh water from home to transport. Nonnative minnows and worms can do serious harm on land and in the water, according to the release.

“Clean Drain Dry Day is a great opportunity and reminder for people to follow the steps of cleaning all equipment and gear to prevent accidental spread of invasive species,” said Andy Henschel, Shell Rock River Watershed District administrator.

“I’m happy to see Governor Walz recognizing the treasure our lakes and rivers are in supporting the Shell Rock River Watershed District and the Minnesota way of life,” said Pat Conzemius, president and CEO of Wildlife Forever.

Albert Lea is the host for the 2019 Governor’s Fishing Opener. From Albert Lea to Lake of the Woods, partners across the state plan to send a strong Clean Drain Dry message this spring with highway billboards, sidewalk boards, posters and handouts to the public.

Wildlife Forever said in the release it would like to remind all boaters, anglers, property owners and businesses to spread the Clean Drain Dry message and protect local waters from invasive species: clean, drain and dry all boats, trailers and gear.