Explore Minnesota, the state's tourism promotion office, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz will kick off the 2019 fishing season this Saturday, May 11.

An estimated 500,000 anglers will reel in a tradition that's one of the North Star State's unofficial holidays, flocking to Minnesota's many lakes and rivers to celebrate one of the largest fishing openers in the country.

Fishing is a way of life in the True North. So much so that the Minnesota governor has honored the tradition since 1948 by hosting the annual Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener. Each year, the event is hosted by the current governor, Explore Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a new host community each year.

The 72nd annual Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener will take place on Fountain Lake in Albert Lea, Minn., May 9 to 12.

"In the beautiful Albert Lea area, Fountain Lake offers great fishing and travel opportunities," Gov. Walz said. "I thank the community for hosting this 72nd annual Minnesota tradition, and look forward to opening this year's summer fishing season."

Minnesota offers world-class fishing thanks to its diverse bodies of water, and the moniker "Land of 10,000 Lakes" only hints at the variety. In fact, the state has 11,842 lakes, 69,000 miles of rivers and streams, and more shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii combined. From America's greatest Mississippi River, to the Great Lake Superior and thousands more fishing destinations across the state, anglers can reel in several species.

"Our lakes and rivers are the envy of the nation, making Minnesota a premier destination for fishing, fun and memories on the water. From novice to elite anglers, it's easy to include fishing as part of any Minnesota vacation," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota.

Minnesota's fishing opener is the start of the summer travel season, which offers many recreational opportunities throughout the state. Visit exploreminnesota.com to learn more.