Fishing with the governor

After several months of working to get Gov. Rick Snyder out fishing for a day, local charter boat captain Denny Grinold got his chance this week. Grinold hosted the governor on Monday, and said he came away extremely impressed.
Matt DeYoung
Jul 27, 2011

 

“He’s a super nice guy, very comfortable what he’s doing and comfortable around people,” said Grinold, who captains the charter boat Old Grin, docked at Grand Isle Marina in Grand Haven. “This is something I’ve been working on for several months. I’ve got a couple good friends who are on the (governor’s) cabinet, and they talked the governor into sampling some Great Lakes fishing.”

Snyder and his son, Jeff, had the opportunity to fish with a collection of the state’s most influential salmon anglers.

Grinold, a past president of the Michigan Charter Boat Association, is currently in charge of state and federal government affairs for the association. In addition, Erin McDonough, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and Dennis Eade from the Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishing Association were part of the boat’s crew.

“It was really the first opportunity we’ve had to spend some quality time together,” Grinold said. “Basically, for 10 hours, we had him captive, and we made a lot of progress.”

Of particular interest were invasive species, including spiny water fleas, which are a huge inconvenience to fishermen in Lake Michigan.

“He saw firsthand how the spiny water fleas are clogging up reels and lines, just the impact that invasive species have,” Grinold said. “We caught 4-5 fish, probably lost 4-5 fish, but we spent a great deal of time cleaning water fleas off our line.

“Particularly with three of the largest sport fishing organizations in the state on board, it was almost like a perfect day — both weather-wise and the camaraderie,” he continued. “We got a lot of valuable information exchanged between the three groups and the governor.”

Grinold is confident that Snyder has the best interest of outdoors groups in mind when he’s making decisions in Lansing.

“He’s very pro-outdoors, fishing, hunting and camping,” Grinold said. “He’s a regular guy, and you just can’t help but like him when you sit down with him.”

Snyder also got a firsthand look at a new initiative called Hook and Cook, a program that allows anglers to bring their catches to area restaurants.

“The restaurants then prepare the customers’ catches, and he really enjoyed that concept,” Grinold said. “He wants to get people outdoors and stimulate the tourist industry.”

Sara Wurfel, a spokesperson for the governor, said the fishing opportunity gave Snyder a chance to learn about one of Michigan’s water-based industries.

“It was a chance to get out and learn about the sport fishing community,” Wurfel said.

Wurfel said Snyder was able to learn about the industry and, with a focus on Pure Michigan, “learn about what makes Michigan Michigan.”

Wurfel said Snyder is an avid fan of the water, having grown up in the Battle Creek area. She said he not only enjoys fishing, but water skiing and other water activities.

Tribune reporter Alex Doty contributed to this story.

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