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Opinion

Anglers prepare for spring fishing

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March 3, 2011

It has already been the snowiest winter in over a quarter-century and we are staring at the prospect of another storm early next week. Wednesday arrived with zero degrees, yet spring is almost here.

The Mississippi River does not freeze between St. Paul and Red Wing, Minn. This glorious fact allows cabin fever-crazed anglers who have little regard for their own comfort to launch their boats and try to catch a fish.  I’ve often heard the comment, “What about ice fishing?” Fishing rods are not meant to fit in a five-gallon bucket. Most anglers won’t admit to it, but ice fishing is something we force ourselves to do for lack of a better option. So when we find open water, we migrate to it. 

As our migration begins, so does our quarry’s.  Without the walleyes, it would all be a moot point. March is the time for walleyes to begin their spawning run.  In the next few weeks, tens of thousands of fish and hundreds of anglers will meet on ice-free water.  In some places, the boats will pack in one hundred anglers in a half-mile. The intensity of the fishing pressure means it is mostly a catch-and-release fishery, but that matters not. The opportunity to float instead of stand on water is reward enough, but 10-pound walleyes don’t hurt either.

While this paper is being printed, I will be in the midst of my first excursion on the river. The forecast calls for snow. No matter, a few flakes are no more than a nuisance. Besides, I’ve been anticipating the trip since I tucked the boat away in November. Jig shopping, line spooling, buying a new motor I can’t afford, the things that sustained me through past winters have almost got me through this one. 

Soon it will be spring break. For much of campus it will mean trips to Mexico, the Caribbean, maybe spring training.  For me it will mean a glorious week of uninterrupted cold fingers and a snotty nose.

While you’re thinking I should be jealous of you, I will try to understand why you’re not jealous of me.  So if you or your roommate can get to a boat and you’re not fleeing the area, come join our club “#fishingnerds”.