Wisconsin Governor's Fishing Opener

May 5th & 6th, 2023

The Northwest Wisconsin ITBEC Tourism Committee (Travel Northwest Wisconsin) is thrilled to announce the Wisconsin Governor's Fishing Opener for 2023! NW-ITBEC is a 12-county group dedicated to marketing Northwest Wisconsin. The event will rotate around the region each year to showcase the incredible natural resources that the region offers. NW ITBEC will invite dignitaries and media to celebrate the opener, while also focusing on inspiring the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts to learn all about fishing.

Wisconsin Governor's Fishing Opener
Wisconsin Governor's Fishing Opener

Family Fishing Day

The NW ITBEC Tourism Committee is proud to present the Family Fishing Day as a part of the Wisconsin Governor's Fishing Opener being held in Price County on Saturday, May 6th, 2023. The focus of this event is to inspire the next generation to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Families are welcome to come out to Elk Lake Park to enjoy a fun day full of family entertainment, including "learn to fish" casting lessons, the DNR Fishmobile, minnow races, s'mores station, face painting, and more!

Saturday, May 6th from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Elk Lake Park, 585 County Rd H, Phillips, WI 54555

Governor Evers at the 2022 Fishing Opener.
Governor Evers with a nice catch at the 2022 Fishing Opener

Community Fish Fry

While you're at the Family Fishing Day, join us for a shore lunch at 11 a.m. (until sold out) with a community fish fry prepared and served by the Phillips Lions Club.

Lunch is $10 and will include 2 pieces of fish, fries, coleslaw, cookie and water.


Image of Family Fishing Day flyer

Thank you to the sponsors who make the event possible:


Dairyland Power Cooperative | Discover Mediaworks

Enbridge | DSG Outerwear

Hidden Cove Resort | Homespun Coffee & Crafts

Indianhead Foodservice Distributors

James Netz Photography | Kwik Trip

National Marine Manufacturers Assoc. | NW ITBEC

Rice Lake Tourism | St. Croix Rod

The 5 Senses | Weather Shield MFG

Wisconsin Counties Assoc. | Xcel Energy

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Event

What is the purpose of the event?

The Wisconsin Governors Fishing Opener exists to raise awareness of the fishing and tourism industries in the State of Wisconsin. The event brings Wisconsin dignitaries to the area, including the Governor and Cabinet Secretaries from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. A main goal of the event is to obtain significant media coverage highlighting the host community and Wisconsin’s fishing and tourism industries. It also provides a fun, outdoor-focused community event. One of the significant updates to the event in 2022 was to create a family-focused event on Saturday to inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

Who can attend?

With the event changing hands in 2022, some changes were made to the VIP portion of the event. While the group would love to invite everyone, due to limited seating, the banquet, destination showcase tours, and breakfast will be by invitation only. Invitations will be extended to select dignitaries and active members of the media.

The Family Fishing Day and Community Fish Fry are open to the public, so everyone is welcome to attend. And, of course, everyone is welcome to join in on the fishing!

What is the history of the Wisconsin Governors Fishing Opener?

The event was operated by Wisconsin Indian Head Country, Inc. for several decades. In 2022, the torch was passed on to the Northwest Wisconsin ITBEC Tourism Committee to keep the event alive. More history will be added in the near future.

Who is the primary point of contact?

Laura Palzkill, Executive Director of the Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce, email or 715-339-4100.

Fishing opener Chair, Sherry Beckman 715-634-4801.

About the Host Destination

Where is Price County?

Price County is located in Northwest Wisconsin. Communities include Phillips, Park Falls, Prentice, Ogema, Kennan, and Catawba. More information on Price County can be found on their website.

Where will the fishing take place?

The host lake will be the Phillips Chain of Lakes which includes Duroy, Elk, Long and Wilson lakes.

Where will the Family Fishing Day take place?

Elk Lake Park, 585 County Rd H, Phillips, WI 54555