Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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A tough ’03 opening day

Associated Press

Detroit Lakes, Minn. It took Gov. Tim Pawlenty less than an hour
to hook a fish Saturday in his first fishing opener as
governor.

Pawlenty, who marked the 55th annual Governor’s Fishing Opener
on Big Detroit Lake, managed to pull in a 6-pound northern pike
just 45 minutes after leaving the docks at 5 a.m., much to the
chagrin of his wife.

“I was out on the water for six hours and caught nothing,” Mary
Pawlenty said. “The fish he caught made up for it,” she said with a
laugh.

The Pawlenty crew which consisted of two fishing guides returned
to shore shortly after noon because the governor wanted to catch
the Minnesota Wild playoff hockey game.

Pawlenty, who’s overseeing his first Legislative session as
governor, said the opener was a nice break. “If we got all those
legislators on a pontoon and give’em some beef jerky and a fishing
pole, I think we’d have this thing resolved,” Pawlenty said of the
state’s budget crisis.

A misty morning and temperatures in the mid-40s made for a long
wait between bites, but the Pawlenty crew did net another 3-pound
northern and a walleye that measured 17 inches, said fishing guide
Joel Wambach.

Despite a wet and cold day, Pawlenty was able to match one of
his predecessors’ opening-day accomplishments. Arne Carlson came up
empty in seven of eight openers. Jesse Ventura had better luck,
scoring walleyes in three of his four openers.

Pawlenty’s weekend in Detroit Lakes drew hundreds of spectators,
who attended a parade and a “walleye shore lunch” at a city park.
The town of 7,348 has long been a hot destination for tourists and
anglers alike.

Detroit Lakes Mayor Larry Buboltz said he was also excited that
the city was chosen for this year’s opener. He said he hopes the
attention the city is receiving will lead to a successful tourism
season.

“Tourism and fishing are an important part of the state. This is
a good chance to show ourselves off,” Buboltz said.

Pawlenty had a chance to show off, too, when he held up the
walleye he caught.

“Do you see it, girls?” he asked his daughters, Anna, 10, and
Mara, 6, who waited with relatives while their parents fished.
“This would normally be good eating, but we’re going to put him
back,” he said before releasing the fish.

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