Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Late start for summer fishing

Layout 1 (Page 1)Although it ain’t a big deal here; the Minnesota fishing opener passed through Park Rapids Minnesoda last weekend. All the reports I heard whilst driving home from Fargo last Friday indicated that the ice on Fishhook Lake around Park Rapids hadn’t melted yet. So Governor Dayton, along with a huge list of accompanying dignitaries (I understand Governor Dalrymple and his charming wife Betsy were spotted in the crowds), had to fish in the Fishhook River instead.

My brudder lives on Fishhook Lake so I was probably more engaged in this activity than either of my loyal readers. He informed that he would be one of the official 100 boats that would guide Governor Dayton and his entourage for the day. The Minnesota fishing opener is a big deal to Minnesotans; and both my loyal readers know that me, my brudder, friend Eug, and my two boys participated in this event until we realized that the weekend after opener was a better weekend to fish.

The weather usually sucks and the boat traffic on the opener takes on freeway proportions; it is not uncommon to worry more about other boats in your lane than the fishing line in your hand.  And God save you if you catch a walleye and mark the spot.

How can you tell if someone in a boat faraway catches a walleye? When someone uses a net to retrieve a fish and then puts the fish in their live well. Walleye fisherman don’t like to put a northern pike in the boat, they call them slimers, and toss them back with great disdain.

Once you snag a walleye it’s usually a good idea to toss a floating marker in where you think you caught it. However, our experience has taught us that a marker becomes a fishing boat magnet. Boats from the other side of the lake stealthily troll towards the marker… and if another walleye is bagged it doesn’t take long for every boat on the lake to circle the marker a few times.

We took good note of this Minnesota behavior one morning when we discovered another boat in our spot. We set our rigs up a couple hundred yards from the interloper, tossed a marker out, circled it once, and slowly trolled our way to our desired fishing hole.

The boat in our spot slowly headed towards our marker, we even said good morning to its occupants as they went by. It didn’t take long before there were a dozen boats circling our phony marker. Meanwhile, we hovered over our spot and quietly harvested our limit while enjoying the fruits of our ploy as well.

Alas, such thoughts only make the howl of the elusive walleye more prominent. But the lakes are still iced over and I’ve just been informed by Eug that we may have to wait until June to imbibe in the hunt.

About now those of you who’ve never experienced a fishing opener should be wondering what’s the big deal and the answer is that I enjoy the Minnesota opener because North Dakota’s fishing season never closes, so the only way I know that it’s time to go fishing is about now.

Thus here I am on the verge of retirement, waiting for Eug and my brudder to decide how much longer I have to wait before I can satiate the howl of the elusive walleye that’s rampaging my conscious…

Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top. Let me just say that I hope the ice goes out and the fish come up and I get to expend some of my retirement chasing such things.

Here’s hoping that you get to enjoy chasing after your desires as well…