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Sam Cook column: Saturday, no matter what the weather brings, we'll be fishing

Come Saturday, we’re declaring this “Winter Without End” finished. Wrapped up. Over.

We’re going to throw off the shack-nasties and the thoughts of dying deer and the images of head-high snowbanks — and we’re going fishing. We’re going fishing because it’s the opener, and that’s what we do.

Yes, there may be some lakes that refuse to give up their ice for opener, and that’s a shame, but it isn’t going to stop us. We’re going to migrate to water that’s liquid and blue, and we’re going to plop, plop, plop our jigs and minnows into it, and we’re going to fish. Because that, baby, is what the opener is all about.

Our boats might not be totally tuned, and we might have to bring snow shovels to clear the landings, but, by gosh, nobody is going to stop us. We’re going to wear our duck hunting parkas and our deer hunting pants if we have to. We’re going to layer up in long johns and stocking caps and big gloves. Certainly, all of that stuff ought to be handy. We never got a chance to put it away.

We may look like Inuit people on seal hunts, but we won’t be. We’ll be Minnesotans, looking like Minnesotans on almost any opener. It may be raw and windy and cruel, but we will once again know the delicate take of a walleye inhaling a shiner, and we’ll know the world is right again. We’ll have handwarmers in our pockets so we can muster the dexterity to tie on new jigs. And we won’t complain.

We’ll be fishing.

We’ll do it in all of the regular ways and most of the regular places. We’re going to gather at the cabin. We’re going to drive motor homes to campgrounds. We’re going to rise in the dark and line up at public landings. We’re going to stand around campfires the night before and watch the light flicker on the faces of people we love. We’re going to talk about the other crazy openers when winter tried to stand in our way. Like last year.

Because we don’t want to miss this. There’s something strangely satisfying about joining hundreds of thousands of other Minnesotans who wouldn’t think of missing an opener, who want to be able to tell their kids and grandkids about the opener in 2014. Remember? When the ice went out just a day or two before opener? Remember? We barely got the dock in. Yeah, that was ’14. Remember? We were ice-fishing for crappies two weeks before the opener. Two weeks! That was crazy.

You wouldn’t want to miss all of that, would you?

I didn’t think so.

So, we’ll do what we have to do. We’ll seek moving water. We’ll seek shallow bays. We’ll fish tiny jigs, very slowly. And we’ll just see what happens. This close to the spawn, the walleyes could be stacked in the current. It could be great.

On the other hand, it could be slow and frigid and sort of miserable.

But, frankly, none of that matters. What matters is that we’ll be fishing open water again, somewhere. Because we can. Because the Earth has tilted just enough on its axis so the sun’s rays are strong enough to weaken the grip of the ice. With any luck, the wind will come just in time to shove that big sheet around and bash it to smithereens. So we can go fishing.

Yes, it’s going to be close. But do not be faint of heart. Do not give up hope. Do not forget to put the plug in your boat.

Somehow, come Saturday, we’re going fishing.

Sam Cook can be reached at (218) 723-5332 or Follow him on Twitter at or on Facebook at “Sam Cook Outdoors.”