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Green Lake Preparing For Frozen Governor's Fishing Opener

SPICER, Minn. (WCCO) -- Green Lake in Kandiyohi County has an appearance that's more winter then open water.

And that's exactly what it will need in just a few short weeks, when this area hosts the annual Minnesota Governor's statewide Fishing Opener May 10–13.

Driving along the lake you clearly see sections of dock still sitting where they were stacked last fall – now frozen to the ground.

"It's one of those things where you have to make a plan B and hope for the best," said Brad Hanson, a co-chair of the local host committee.

In a way, Hanson's in the hot seat. As the person answering the questions whether or not Green Lake will be ice-free come the opener, he can only watch the clock and hope for open water.

"We really got serious three weeks ago and wondered what would happen, especially with all the storms coming in. We knew we had to come up with another plan," Hanson said.

Green Lake is just three weeks from its latest ice out ever, which happened on May 8, 2013.  That is the same year that lakes around Park Rapids forced Governor Dayton to fish on a river, since all other lakes were still covered in ice.

Hanson says plan B is to move all the guests to a number of smaller lakes in the Willmar-Spicer area, which tend to open up far sooner than the larger Green Lake normally does.

"We have a list of six or eight other lakes that people are welcome to go out and enjoy," said Dean Anfinson.

Hosting the traditional statewide fishing opener is big business in small towns with picnics, parties and a ton of publicity.

Frozen or not, the Willmar Lakes Area host committee is making the most of it by promising a good time whatever the conditions.

"Before we know it we'll be fighting whitecaps and putting in boats and lifts," Anfinson said.

Anfinson and his wife, Laura, are responsible for lining up 110 boats and operators for all of the out-of-town guests. Hoping they'll need them on a lake still sealed by two feet of solid ice.

"Whether it's the first of May or the first of June, we'll be doing it," Anfinson said with a smile.

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