Dick Herfindahl: Coping with a lot of snow, a dose of cabin fever

Published 5:41 pm Friday, March 8, 2019

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


I don’t really believe that a conversation about how beautiful the snow is in the countryside is a safe topic right now. Most of us are wondering what we are going to do if we get another significant amount of that white stuff. I am ready for a “slow, steady melt” that will not bring about any flooding. That is on my wish list for the near future.

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Over the years, I have often had to resort to my secret weapon to relieve the stress of the dreaded “cabin fever” during an extended winter season. I will now reveal my secret… Daydreaming. On a cold, blusterous, winter night I will sometimes sit back in my easy chair without any TV with just the sound of the wind blowing the freshly fallen snow against the window. That is when I will dream about sitting on a lake in the early morning when the sun is just starting to hint of a new day on the horizon.

I have experienced many of those type of mornings first hand over the years. Recently, my early mornings on the lake have not been quite as early as in past years. When we would vacation at Spider Lake, I liked to challenge myself to be the first fisherman on the lake each morning. I would be up at the crack of dawn, grab my fishing gear, a thermos of coffee and head to the lake in search of any fish that would take the bait.

Most mornings I would venture from the resort to the south end of the channel where it opened up into what everyone calls second Lake. I found that trolling back and forth along the edge of the weeds could result in some very productive fishing. The first few passes would result in catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass. If I started catching perch, I would be on the alert for a walleye or two. I would usually catch one or two walleye in the early morning at that spot. Once the pike started to bite, I knew it was about time to head in for breakfast.

My favorite fishing time was early morning when it was totally calm and there was just a touch of fog blanketing the lake. At that moment, it seemed as if I had the whole lake to myself. Casting a lure into the fog in the direction of the sound that fish just made as it broke water in search of breakfast. There always seemed to be something magical about the sound of a jumping fish on a foggy morning. The magic wasn’t necessarily in the sound, but in not knowing what kind of fish or how large it was. There were times when there was little doubt that it was one big fish that made that splash. The plop of the lure hitting the water as I cast it into the unknown is one that I can always hear by just closing my eyes and using a little imagination.

Those few moments of magic are sometimes short lived as the sun starts to peek over the top of the mix of pine and birch that cover the eastern shoreline. As the sun slowly appears, the morning fog starts to disappear as it raises the curtain on a new day. Daydreaming is a handy tool to have in your tackle box of life. I can recall many days while working at the local meat packing plant when I’d be standing on the production line and someone would ask me “what lake are you fishing on today?” I would usually answer Spider, with a smile on my face. It worked for me and it also seemed to make the time go by faster.

I would rather have that vision of making another cast and reeling in the “big one” than to be anticipating the next shovel full of that white stuff.

Whenever I would take the grandkids fishing in the boat and it was about time to leave, I’d usually ask Trevor, the oldest, if he was ready to leave. One time his brother, Taylor asked me “Grandpa why do you always ask him if he’s ready? You know he is going to say ‘just one more cast’ which turns into many.” Maybe that is why I always asked him.


Boat hosts needed for Governor’s Fishing Opener

Until next time, we are getting closer to our goal, but we are still in need of “fishermen” to sign up as fishing hosts. We haven’t quite reached the number of hosts needed to make this event a success. I would like to encourage anyone who is a registered boat owner and has been considering being a boat host or knows someone that might be interested in the Governor’s Fishing Opener by being a boat host to sign up online. The easiest way to do that is by going to www.mngovernorsopener.com look for the search box and type in boat host, click on search glass and it will take you to the page. Select boat host information and follow the instructions. You may also stop by the CVB office to pick up a registration form or call me at 507-383-2231 for more information. This is our chance to showcase this great community that we choose to live in and one that we are proud to call home.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers during the year 2019. They are the reason we are able to enjoy all these wonderful freedoms we enjoy today.