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Father's Day suggestions for any old day

Chris and Maria James spent their Father's Day fishing trip together on Potato Lake well before the official date had arrived. Activities for the annual dad adornment might not fall on Sunday, June 20, but the recipients won't mind.

For those of you who haven't referred to your calendar lately, there's only eight shopping days left until Father's Day. Unless of course the newspaper sat in the mailbox or a pile on your counter for a couple days, in which case you may need to enter Father's Day gift buying mode and immediately hit the panic button.

It's easy to pick out an appropriate gift for some dads, while other fathers are much more difficult to shop for.

I for one am simple to buy for. Gimmicky to practical, I like it all; books, ties, Swiss army knives with 143 different tools including a foldout toaster and switch-blade automated external defibrillator, I'm easy to please.

Yet if you're trying to amuse the affectionate angler in your life, these gifts might just make the perfect impression.

n State Park Pass:

Minnesota's 72 state parks are sure to please both the avid and novice outdoorsmen. Today, (June 12) visitors can enter any of the state parks free of charge. That means if you'd like to visit Itasca State Park and crawl across the rocks at the condensed beginning of the Mississippi River that eventually greets the Gulf of Mexico or would rather see another state park in any direction, there is no charge.

Many parks also have GPS, birding, fishing and kid's kits to further entertain the recipient.

n Maintenance gift certificate. If your father is a boat owner, the costs for maintenance surely add up. Ask your dad where he takes his boat for spring and fall tune-ups and add little extra for purchases such as oil, ropes, anchors or life preservers. A gas card to fuel his angling endeavors is also highly appreciated.

n Walleye stamp. Add the $5 walleye stamp to a fishing license purchase and the proceeds will go toward Minnesota DNR stocking efforts. For an extra $2, a commemorative collectors stamp will be sent to your mailing address. Pro: the money will be used to help your dad catch more fish. Con: your dad must be along to buy him the stamp, meaning the surprise will be spoiled.

n Fishing cap. Every dad can use a special, good luck fishing cap. My own father used to have one so hideous that the only place he was allowed to adorn it was in the boat. In other words, the "fancier" the hat, the more luck it will bring.

n Lures. A lure is a great gift from the kids, but only if they get to pick it out themselves. No matter if he catches fish; it will be the first one he grabs for when he opens the tackle box.

n A day on the water. Father's Day is the perfect time to give the gift of time. No other present means as much as a morning, afternoon or evening out on the water. It doesn't require a lot of money to pay for it, yet it's the best choice for a Father's Day memory, whether the fish bite or not.