You couldn’t really tell it by the cold weather we have been experiencing, but spring is not all that far away. As I had written in my previous column March too can be full of surprises. Every time I watch the news and see the amount of snow that they have been receiving back East I feel lucky because like it or not you don’t have to shovel cold.
In order to keep our sanity we must look to spring and that reminds me of the many outdoors recreation shows that will be occurring in the upcoming weeks. I can’t think of a better way to pacify our need for open water fishing and warmer weather than to attend a sportsman’s show. I also find myself looking forward to watching fishing shows that don’t involve pulling a fish through a little hole in the ice. I have nothing against ice fishing, but it will soon be time to move on.
Just the thought of hearing the sound of a lure being cast as it “plops” onto the water gets the adrenaline flowing. I long to feel the wind and mist in my face as I drive the boat across open water in search of that “hot spot” that I know will produce the fish that I seek. This is what dreams are made of and this is also what helps me get through the winter. I have not yet taken the time to inventory my tackle boxes, but I can see that day looming on the horizon. This is also a good way to get a person psyched for the upcoming season.
I don’t know of any fisherman that opens his tackle box in the spring and thinks that there is nothing that he needs. It just doesn’t happen, at least to the folks that I know and fish with. Let’s face it; there are numerous tackle companies out there that are always coming up with that sure-fire “killer bait” that we just have to have. We know that they catch fish because the commercials tell us that they do. I don’t know how many lures I have in my possession that I’ve bought because they were supposed to be the next big thing. Sadly, what hooks the fisherman doesn’t always hook the fish.
If you want to get an early start on open water fishing, the stream trout season for Southeast Minnesota opens on March 18th.
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The Minnesota DNR is reminding us that the time is drawing near for the removal of what we call “permanent” fish houses. Dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice no later than midnight for each of the dates given in the following categories.
• Minnesota–Iowa - Feb. 20
• Minnesota–Wisconsin - March 1
• Minnesota–North and South Dakota - March 5
• Minnesota–Canada - March 31
Dates of removal are determined by an east west line formed by U.S. Hwy. 10, east along Hwy. 34 to Minnesota Hwy. 200, east along Hwy. 200 to U.S. Hwy. 2, and east along Hwy. 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
• South of line - March 2, 2015
• North of line - March 16, 2015
If shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted, and the structure and contents may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer.
After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.
Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited.
It is unlawful to improperly dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state. Please clean up around your shack and check with local refuse providers or landfills for ice shelter disposal information.
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Until next time, stay warm, check those tackle boxes and always take some time to enjoy the outdoors.
Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason that we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.