ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 4, 2018) -- Willmar area resident and accomplished angler Kelly Morrell will host Gov. Mark Dayton at the 2018 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener on Green Lake in the Willmar Lakes Area on Saturday, May 12. As Fishing Opener host, Morrell will serve as a volunteer fishing guide to the governor.

Morrell operates JME Companies, a ready mix concrete business, and spends much of his spare time fishing, hunting, and giving back to the local community. "Each day on the water presents a new challenge on how to figure out the best pattern to fool the fish," he said. "The fish do not have any bias. They don't care if you are in a kayak or expensive bass boat. It is a level playing field for everyone on the water."

Morrell considers Green Lake his home lake, where he guides a group of young men from a local group home every week to share his passion for fishing and faith. "Green Lake is the jewel of Kandiyohi County. At 5,000 acres, it is the largest body of water and also includes the largest variety of fishing habitat. It is a fisherman's dream lake," he said.

Located about two hours west of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the Willmar Lakes Area is a premier central Minnesota vacation destination with over 360 lakes, including Green Lake, the area's largest. The area boasts numerous recreational activities, including fishing, boating, hiking and biking, plus dozens of parks, sandy beaches, fishing piers and boat accesses.

Held May 10-13 this year, the Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener has been a treasured tradition in Minnesota since 1948. Fishing is a key part of one of the largest sectors of the state's economy--tourism. The opener is also a kick-off celebration for the statewide summer tourism season. Travel and tourism generate $15.0 billion in leisure and hospitality sales in Minnesota annually.

This year's Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is coordinated by Explore Minnesota, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Willmar Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information, high-resolution images and fishing host contact information, please visit You can also follow along via social media, using #MNGFO2018 and #OnlyinMN.

About the Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener
The 71st Annual Minnesota's Governor's Fishing Opener, being held in the Willmar Lakes Area, May 10-13, 2018, has been a Minnesota tradition since 1948. The event is hosted by Minnesota's governor and a different Minnesota community each year to highlight the importance of tourism and fishing to Minnesota's economy. The event is organized by Explore Minnesota with a volunteer host committee, and supported by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the many sponsors that make the event possible.