It’s time to clean out the old tackle box

Published 12:21pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

Column: Woods & Water

What most of us that have lived in Minnesota for some time have been saying all along is that we will pay for the nice weather. The northern half of the state got the bulk of the snowfall while we in the southern part got some much needed moisture with a rain, sleet and snow mix.

For some reason, every time I ventured out in the elements I could hear the postal workers old motto floating around in my head: Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow …

There is one thing that is certain — we do need the moisture. A dry fall followed by an unusually brown winter has only contributed to the already low water levels. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of ponds and streams that have little or no water in them right now so any form of moisture will be welcome.

This is the time of the year that puts a lot of sportsmen in limbo. We have seen some unstable conditions for ice fishing in our area this winter, but from reports that I have heard the fishing wasn’t half bad. The walleye and northern fishing seasons have closed in our area of the state but for those hardy souls that still want to pursue them there are panfish and perch to be caught through the ice.

The time for me to start spending time in the basement rummaging through my tackle boxes is now here. I also plan on spending some time oiling my reels and putting on new lines in the next couple of weeks. This is a surefire way to get pumped up for the upcoming open water season.

This year I am looking forward to spending more time fishing our local lakes. We have plenty of good fishing lakes around the area that offer some great opportunities, so I can’t wait to test the waters.

Some of the area lakes that have been stocked or reclaimed in recent years are already showing results. There are also a few area lakes that I haven’t fished in quite some time that are on my to-do list. I am looking forward to spending a lot of time on the water again this year, whether it is on area lakes or northern lakes, I just can’t wait.

Lately I have found myself drifting off and daydreaming about sitting in a boat on a remote northern Minnesota lake with a soft summer breeze lazily pushing the boat along in a slow drift. Although it was only a daydream that summer breeze will eventually become a reality and those remote lakes really do exist and can be found right here in Minnesota.

These lakes may not always be holding the “lunker” that you are seeking, but, on the other hand, that fish may be just around the next bend or on the other side of that distant point. This is the great part of fishing — knowing that you don’t really know what lurks in the depths of some of these lakes.

I still get excited when fishing a body of water that I have not fished before, and I actually look forward to returning to some of the lakes that I have only fished a time or two. Each year I try to fish at least one lake for the first time. I guess my goal is to fish as many different lakes as I can while still taking the time to revisit some old favorites. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see enough of the 10,000 in my lifetime, but I do hope to put a small dent in that number while I am still able to bait a hook or cast a lure.

Just the thought of casting a lure to a spot that I could only imagine is holding fish gives me a chill of excitement. This is indeed the kid in me getting revved up for another year of fishing. I have always wondered if I would ever tire or get complacent with the thought of another fishing adventure, but so far that is definitely not the case.

In the weeks to follow, I will no doubt be arranging and rearranging my tackle boxes and taking inventory to see what necessities I will need to refurbish. The idea of heading to Cabela’s or Fleet Farm to replenish my jig and plastics supply is becoming more appealing to me with each passing day. I will, no doubt, be checking out the latest surefire lure that has just come on the market to catch any unsuspecting fisherman that lurks in the aisle of the sporting goods store. Purchasing just one of these lures can make the average fisherman feel like he is on top of his game and has been keeping up with the latest fishing technology.

If you want to see what’s new in the outdoors world for the upcoming year you can visit one of the many sportsmen’s shows that are scheduled in the coming month. Starting with the Minnesota Deer Classic & Outdoor Expo March 9-11 in the Coliseum Building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. The largest of these expos is probably the Northwest Sportshow, which lasts for five days starting March 28 and runs through April 1 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. If it is outdoors it will be at this event. I have not attended this show for quite some time but to me it is kind of like the State Fair of sport shows.

This is a good way to cure those winter blahs and get pumped up for summer. I have also caught myself channel surfing for fishing shows more frequently as this year’s version of winter lingers on. This is just another way of relieving the dreaded disease called cabin fever whenever you feel these symptoms coming on.

Just a reminder to area fishermen: ice fishing shelters must be removed from the lakes in our area of the state no later than midnight March 5.

Until next time, play safe, watch out for thin ice, good fishing and enjoy the Minnesota outdoors experience.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.


Dick Herfindahl’s column appears each Sunday in the Tribune.