It was calm on the St. Louis River early Saturday last weekend and you could hear Dylan Perbonich arguing with his buddies from 200 yards across the water.
"I told you it was a fish!" Prebonich yelled at his buddies sitting in the same 12-foot boat right near shore. They had argued it was a snag. "I know what a fish feels like!"
Of course his buddies, Evan and Jake Schaller, didn't believe them until they saw the 26.5-inch walleye on the surface.
"I told you!"' Prebonich said again, later noting he caught the fish on a pink jig and nightcrawler "First walleye of the season."
So started the Minnesota fishing opener on the wide, high and fast river in Duluth's Fond du Lac neighborhood, a Saturday morning that brought light winds and sunshine -- the kind of opening day everyone agreed we had earned after a cold, snowy spring so far.
Just upstream, Kevin Sailor of Superior was on the Department of Natural Resources public fishing dock on the Minnesota side of the river, just off Minnesota Highway 23 near Perch Lake. He got there before sunrise and had the place to himself. It was 36 degrees and the sun was just inching high enough to notice.
"I was thinking about sleeping in this morning. But I couldn't do it. I had to get out and fish," said Sailor, who was trying a night crawler and spinner on one rod and a jig and minnow on the other, a legal system on the river. "I haven't got my boat ready yet so I thought, what the heck, I'll come here and fish from shore."
Sailor was using a pink and white spinner blade on a crawler harness.
"For some reason this seems to be the best color for me in the river," he said, quickly noting, however, that it hadn't performed any magic as yet. "I think the water is a little too cold."
That was the sentiment other shore anglers expressed up and down the river bank. Al Davis of Duluth confirmed it by casting a small fishing thermometer into the river and reeling it back.