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Opening Fishing – 2013

May 12, 2013

It is hard to believe that the last time I was on the water was December 2, 2012.  It is also unusual. I can’t remember a span in the last thirty years where I’ve gone six months without being on the water.  Life.  Kids activities. The weather.  Sometimes they conspire against us.

I had big, exciting plans starting the New Year.  Waiting for the lakes to freeze in December and for the catch and release season to open in January gave me plenty of time to read online.  One of my good finds was a blog  called Troutrageous.  One of the topics covered at Troutrageous is his passion for Tenkara.  I kept reading about Tenkara in his posts and learned that Tenkara is a Japanese form of fly-fishing utilizing a telescopic rod and no reel.  Fascinated by Tenkara’s simplicity, I thought it would be a good way to introduce my kids to fly-fishing.  Fly0casting is difficult enough.  By removing the complexities of the reel and stripping line, Tenkara seemed a natural way to introduce some fly-fishing fundamentals such as roll casting and the basic rod techniques.  With that thought in mind, a few helpful hints were left for Santa and sure enough the big guy came through.  The catch in release season opens on selected streams in Minnesota in January and so I had high hopes that I would hit the water.  Wrong.  Hockey, dance lessons, and choir concerts combined with a long stretch of sub-zero weather in January and February quashed any of those plans.  I still had hopes of getting out ice fishing in March.  However, my dad’s broken hip and tending to my mother who has Alzheimer’s intervened.  There is always crappie fishing in April. Unfortunately, the weather again proved a formidable opponent.  Frigid weather and heavy snowfall kept most of the local lakes frozen until the end of April.  The approximate ice out on Lake Minnetonka, May 1, happened to be the latest ice out that I could recall.  In fact, most of the lakes North of Lake Mille Lacs in central Minnesota remain frozen and inaccessible to anglers in a boat, thus delaying for many the start of the fishing season.

For twenty some years I have opened the season on Lake Minnetonka and so with waders and gear ready to go I waded into my favorite spot at 12 a.m. sharp.  It was close to perfect: air temperatures around 60 degrees, a faint breeze and the spot to myself.  Tossing a jointed blue/silver Rapala I hadn’t been on the water more than fifteen minutes when I caught my first fish of the season:  a plump, 16-inch walleye.  Things quickly went downhill from there.  As predicted, a nasty cold front hit a few minutes later and the wind began howling from the north/northwest with gusts exceeding 20 miles per hour.  Challenged to remain standing in the heavy waves I was forced off the water.  Heading home I cranked the tunes and savored the memories of the first fish of the season, which was released to swim again, and thought about my next trip.

Until then, good luck.


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