WASHBURN COUNTY -- For over 50 years the Wisconsin Governor’s Fishing Opener has been held in Northwest Wisconsin and that will continue as Northwest Wisconsin ITBEC’s Tourism Marketing Committee will take over from Wisconsin Indian Head Country, Inc., upholding this long-standing tradition. The tradition continues with the 56th annual event being held on beautiful Shell Lake in Washburn County.

The ITBEC (which stands for International Trade, Business & Economic Development Council) group is comprised of 12 counties in Northwest Wisconsin – Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Chippewa, Douglas, Iron, Price, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer, & Washburn. The group partners together to collectively market Northwest Wisconsin to visitors.

The 2022 planning efforts are well underway and while the event is planned by a different group than in years past, it will still celebrate what everyone loves most – the opening of Spring fishing. We are pleased to announce the VIP Banquet will have designees not only from Northwest Wisconsin but also those who represent the whole state of Wisconsin. While the banquet itself is not open to the public, the planning group is very excited for the new addition of a Saturday Community Fish Fry. This event will be open for all to attend, with family fun for kids, informational booths, and more!

“The community fish fry is such a great way to open this event up for all to come out and enjoy! I am hopeful that being able to host this right on the lakeshore at Shell Lake Beach will make it even more of a hit for everyone,” said Visitor Experience & Outreach Director, Kaitlin Hanson.

Another new addition to the Wisconsin Governor’s Fishing Opener are tours around the destination. This year, travel writers can not only get out fishing, but also experience fun attractions, delicious restaurants, and explore more of what the area has to offer. It is a great way to showcase the host community and the surrounding area.

“Our committee is looking forward to continuing this great tradition that has been passed on to us.” said Michelle Martin, Chair of the Northwest Wisconsin ITBEC Tourism Marketing Committee. “The event will look a little different than it has in previous years and I’m sure we will learn a lot in 2022 about what works and what opportunities are possible for future years. One thing is certain though, we’re very proud to continue showcasing Northwest Wisconsin as a top-notch fishing destination in the Midwest.”

For more information on this year’s Wisconsin Governor’s Fishing Opener & Community Fish Fry, visit the event Facebook page, “Facebook.com/wifishingopener” or contact Kaitlin at Washburn County Tourism Association, kaitlin@washburncounty.org.


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