ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Gov. Mark Dayton and a crew of staff and Minnesota lawmakers went out on the Mississippi River in St. Cloud Saturday for the annual Governor's Fishing Opener.
"I'm a conservationist," Dayton said as he came back to shore after the expedition. "I got one fish."
The governor's fish was a big one – a 3-pound, 17.5-inch bass – and he and his team of House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, and Gazelka’s daughter, Lydia, caught five in total.
But the ladies in the other boat had them beat.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and her crew of female lawmakers – House Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michelle Benson, House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman, and House Assistant Minority Leader Ilhan Omar – caught 35 fish in total.
"She's got bragging rights," Dayton said of Smith.
The overall winner, though, appeared to be Rep. Ilhan Omar, who caught 13 fish.
Dayton said no one discussed the budget, which was left stalled while the Legislature adjourned for the weekend.
"We sort of set that aside so we could all stay in the same boat," he said. "Never came up."
Dayton said they would return to the budget work Monday.
"We don't interfere with Mother's Day."
Daudt said Saturday was the best weather they've had for the event since he's been a part of it. "Last year we woke up in the morning and there was snow on the grass," he said.
"We had great fun," Dayton said. "What a gorgeous day, just incredible day, and just perfect, Minnesota perfect."
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