I truly have to believe that we have finally turned the corner and are actually headed into the summer season. Having survived a long winter of cold and snow I am actually excited to see what summer has in store.
I began filling the bird feeders early on in the spring and it has brought some good results, bringing numerous birds to the feeders this year and surprisingly enough there have been very few blackbirds around to torment me. I guess that the blackbirds and starlings are the Rodney Dangerfield’s of the bird world because they get no respect, at least not from me.
While I was up north a couple of weeks ago I had time to reflect on the wonders and beauty of nature and the wildlife that nature has blessed us with. Observing ducks, geese, loons, deer and other such critters in their natural habitat gives me that feeling that I am actually closer to nature. Now there is something about watching mallards walking down my sidewalk or sitting atop the neighbor’s roof that just doesn’t quite do it for me. The same can be said for Canadian geese walking down the sidewalk at Frank Hall Park. It just doesn’t quite give me that same feeling. Now if I drove a few miles to, say, Pickerel Lake and observed the same critters it would seem pristine and all back to nature-like. It’s funny how the same birds or animals put in a different environment can change a person’s perspective. Just a thought.
When I attended the Governor’s fishing opener in the Brainerd/Nisswa area a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of my days as a youth when I yearned to head north for a week; or in my fantasy it would be for a few weeks or more to bask in the beauty of the north woods. Today the area has changed some with many more opportunities to shop and dine but the beauty of the area has not changed.
Looking back at the many folks that I used to look to for fishing tips, whether it was magazine articles or fishing shows most of them seemed to originate from this area of the state. When traveling north with my grandson Dylan he would occasionally ask me if we were in the middle of nowhere yet? Well this area may not be in the middle of nowhere but whenever I was there or even just passing through it always symbolized “up north” to me. This has not changed today because there are just so many lakes and much forest land to accommodate any wants that a visitor to the area may desire.
When I look back at opening weekend and the few days following I am grateful for the weather that we had on opening day. The weather on opening day was almost perfect; except for the fish who seemed to have a severe case of “lockjaw”. On Sunday I headed north to the cabin to see if it had survived the winter in one piece. To my surprise there were no trees down, at least not blocking the driveway and everything seemed to be in order. At the end of the season we usually take home anything that may freeze over the winter so spring involves re-stocking the cabin with canned goods and other miscellaneous things we may need for the summer
Once at the cabin I unloaded the truck and filled the bird feeders even before I began putting things away. This is usually one of the first things that I do because it can sometimes take a day or two for the birds to discover the food. This time, however, they came almost immediately and wasted no time putting on the feed bag.
The weather that Sunday was ideal and I was able to sit back and watch as the birds literally “flocked” to the feeders. Once Sunday turned into night things changed and I awoke to cold temperatures and a steady rain with a few snowflakes thrown in, which persisted for the whole day and most of the next. My main goal for the next couple of days was to make sure that I had enough dry wood to keep the cabin nice and toasty, which it did. I have to say that our little wood stove keeps our cozy little cabin nice and comfortable.
If you have ever tented in weather like that (done that) you know that it is almost impossible to stay dry and warm when the weather stays damp and cold. Ahhh, those were the days – actually in looking back those were actually some very good times but, alas, the resilience of youth has long since been replaced by creaking joints, aching muscles and an appreciation for the warmth of a dry cabin with a warm fire.
A lot of folks have wondered what the reasoning was behind the DNR not opening up Albert Lea Lake and some others that had winter kill to promiscuous fishing. After speaking to a top DNR official at the opener he said that they have taken a more cautious approach to that issue because many lakes that have winter kill still have fish that survive. This year he said that the DNR only allowed promiscuous fishing on seven lakes in the state. He said reason for that change was that people would report lakes as freezing out when in reality there was some fish kill but not enough to kill off the lake.
Until next time; any time is a great time to enjoy a little fishing on one of our area lakes but no matter when or where you plan to fish be safe and if you’re in a boat be sure to wear your life jacket.
Have a safe Memorial Day and please remember those who served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.