Dennis Anderson: Weather more than walleye was top of mind as we launched the opener

Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune on

Published in Outdoors

ON LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH, Minn. — The surprise Saturday on the first day of Minnesota's inland walleye and northern pike season wasn't that the fish were or weren't biting. They're always biting somewhere, sometime for someone, a positive vibe that was the operative mojo of the late, great Jimmy Buffett, among other renowned anglers.

No, the rude awakening for the half-million or so walleye seekers who were afloat on the state's lakes and rivers Saturday was that the weather was so pleasant.

Here in northern Minnesota, on giant Lake Winnibigoshish ("Winnie"), when our group of 13 anglers vectored away in four boats from the docks in front of McArdle's Resort, the morning sun danced brightly onto mirror-flat water.

So quiet were the elements that we briefly considered double-checking our calendars to ensure the occasion wasn't Memorial Day weekend instead of the fishing opener.

But the opener it was, and in our boat, Steve Vilks, Joe Hermes, my wife, Jan, and I soon plopped baits overboard in 6 feet of water.

This was about 8:45 a.m. Saturday.

Maintaining an I'm-going-to-catch-one-soon attitude is especially vital in fishing. Without it, persistence — angling's lifeblood since the days of Moby Dick — can't be achieved.


So it was when we dropped our minnow-baited jigs overboard we figured only minutes would pass before we boated our first walleye, then a second and a third.

Instead, for what seemed like too long, we caught nothing.

"Why is this?" we asked.

Of course, we could only speculate.

We had thought the 53-degree water (later rising to 61) would have encouraged some numbers of Winnie's bountiful walleyes to remain in the shallows on this 11th of May.

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