Another “opener” has come and gone. Fishing opener, that is. In Minnesota there are basically two outdoor events that shadow all others by comparison. Those would be the Minnesota walleye season opener, which most piscatorial fools around these parts just refer to as “the fishing opener.” The other event occurs almost six months later and is affectionately called the “deer [hunting] opener.”
Oh, sure, there are other openers in Minnesota such as the “bass opener,” “stream trout opener,” “the muskie opener,” “the pheasant opener,” and so on. Heck, we even have a “crow season opener,” but I challenge most MN sportsmen to even tell me when that is without looking it up in the game regulations synopsis.
Indeed, like in many other states, the Minnesota sportsman’s calendar reads like a family calendar full of birthdays. In the outdoors there are all sorts of exciting events worth celebrating going on throughout the calendar year.
But today I am paying tribute to the Minnesota fishing opener that just recently was held here in cold Minnesota. In fact, where my group fished around Bemidji, Minnesota it was SO COLD that several of the big lakes in that region had still not yielded their ice to spring during the opener. Yea, mention global warming in our fish camp this year and you would have been encouraging someone to whip you silly with a frost-covered casting rod.
It’s certainly not encouraging when you drive by a lake en-route to your fishing destination and see it still mostly covered with ice. In this picture it shows Leech Lake (near Walker, MN) almost completely still covered with ice (except near the shore).
Indeed, what will be most remembered about the 2008 Minnesota Fishing Opener for me will be the cold, the rain…then turning to snow, and the few quality walleyes our group caught. For the third consecutive year we had our annual Saturday evening fish fry which is sort of our benchmark for achieving fishing success on opening weekend.
To me fish camp is much more than fishing. It’s about good food, good friends, and, of course, good fishing. But it’s the combination of the three that is really important. Some might add a fourth criteria in “good beer,” but I’ll leave that one to your imagination. The bottom line is fish camp is about the fun those in attendance make of the event.
Granted, with gas pushing $4.00/gallon it’s not easy (or cheap) to trek 5 hours north for a weekend experience of any sorts these days. Still, the camaraderie of fish camp is important and should not be underestimated. Some might wonder why we spend so much and put as much effort into a weekend of fishing as we do. Well, for me it’s the tradition. To not attend fish camp is like starting your summer off on the wrong foot.
Take a look at the photo gallery of the fish camp where I attend. Click HERE. You’ll see a bunch of kids with fishing poles ranging in age from 10 years old up to youngsters in their late 80’s. Isn’t that what fishing is really all about? Participating in an outdoor sport where “old-timers” can sit side-by-side with fishermen still learning what makes the outdoors such a wonderful place to be.
I encourage you to find and make your own outdoor traditions. For me, it revolves around Minnesota’s fishing and deer hunting “openers.” Events both vital to keeping my outdoor spirit alive and invigorated. Yet, traditions are also important occasions to pass along the passion to the younger generation. I guarantee the positive experiences passed along on “the opener,” no matter what it is, can make an indelible impression in the minds of both youngsters and oldsters, alike.
2008 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.
Filed under: Fishing