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Governor's Fishing Opener hosts impatiently wait for ice out on Green Lake

Members of the Planning Committee for the Governor’s Fishing Opener have not lost their sense of humor. On Sunday, they gathered on Green Lake with ice augers, chainsaws, blow torches, axes, shovels and a sign that said, #ComeOnSpring and #WeGotThis.

WILLMAR — The 71st annual Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is only 28 days away, and local organizers say there is a whopping 25 inches of ice to melt off Green Lake — site of this year's Governor's Opener — by May 12.

"Our latest ice-out in on record was May 8th, so we're keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for a quick warm-up," said Beth Fischer, executive director of the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a news release.

Whatever the case — frozen or unfrozen — Fischer says not to worry.

"We have several beautiful lakes to choose from in the Willmar Lakes Area, so we'll make sure the governor gets out on the water."

The Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener, a tradition in Minnesota since 1948, will be May 10-13 in the Willmar Lakes Area, including the communities of Willmar, Spicer, and New London.

Hosts in the Willmar Lakes Area this weekend are digging out from the April blizzard that dumped over a foot of snow throughout the region. In spite of the record cold, late ice-out, and the weekend blizzard, Planning Committee members have not lost their sense of humor. According to the news release, they gathered Sunday on Green Lake in Spicer with ice augers, chainsaws, blow torches, axes, shovels and a sign that said, #ComeOnSpring and #WeGotThis.

"What can you do?" said Fischer. "We may as well have fun with it."

Folks from the Willmar Lakes Area really do know how to remove ice from a lake, organizers point out. In January, volunteers worked alongside the Wee Kut Ice Company of New London to harvest ice from Green Lake for the St. Paul Winter Carnival ice castle that was built during the Super Bowl.

For more information, including regular ice-out updates, visit