Catch, click, release: Fishing tournaments going virtual

Catch, click, release: Fishing tournaments going virtual
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Updated: 6:21 a.m.

When Otter Tail County opens Minnesota’s fishing season by hosting the 73rd annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener this weekend, some aspects will look a lot like past years: Lots of media, visits by dignitaries and a chance for the local community to promote tourism.

But anglers won’t have to make the drive to Otter Tail County to join this year’s festivities. They won’t even have to own a boat. All they need is a fishing rod and a smart phone.

Anyone can compete in a virtual fishing derby this year: They catch a walleye from any public water body in Minnesota, use an app on their phone to submit a photo, then let the fish go.

The idea was in the works last year, before the Governor’s Fishing Opener event was postponed due to COVID-19. This year, it made sense to have a statewide event that anyone can participate in, said Erik Osberg, chair of the local planning committee.

“It’s safer for everybody involved,” Osberg said. “It’s safer for the…

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