Gravy: Moving the opener is a stupid idea
The state Legislature has considered some stupid bills over the years, but I think moving the fishing opener up a week this spring ranks near the top of their bountiful list.
Here they are messing around with the tradition of the fishing opener at a time when this Legislature has much more important things to waste their time on than with this nonsense.
Next they will be looking at moving Christmas because there is not enough snow. Last year would have been a good candidate for that Legislative move.
Among the much larger issues in the outdoors for the Legislature to tackle is keeping the Department of Natural (DNR) solvent and providing services even though the opener change is tacked onto that bill. There needs to be a funding increase for the DNR and that can only happen through increased license fees. They should be devoting their time to getting that issue resolved instead of wasting floor time on this absurd amendment.
I had to laugh when I heard they were even considering tampering with the inland fishing opener just because we had an early spring. Where were the boys and girls of St. Paul those several years when we were sitting here in northern Minnesota wondering if we needed to change out our trolling motors for ice-augers. Sure would have been nice to move the opener back a week using their current thinking process on such matters, but we know what tradition means up here and didn't even consider or think about it.
We went fishing opening day as scheduled and that is how it should be.
Don't get me wrong, I would like to have an extra week to fish walleyes but that is not what the opener is about.
It is about tradition.
For many anglers, plans are made for the opener the previous opener. They reserve the same cabin as they were using and that in turn reminds everyone who is affected to make sure they have that weekend off the following year and if possible, get the Friday before off also. Changing those plans now to accommodate the state Legislature is not an option for many anglers.
I can't speak for the resorters or businesses around here as far as their thoughts on the subject and won't. But it seems to me moving the opener up a week at this time would create some issues but they are much better equipped to fill you in on those than me.
Then there is the fishing.
Like everyone else who fishes on opening day, I like to catch fish. But catching fish is way down the list of what makes the opening day tradition so special. It has more to do with enjoying the day and weekend with family and friends. If you catch some fish, great. If you don't catch fish, it is still great.
Those of us who like to fish walleyes traditionally look to the end of May into the first couple of weeks of June for some of the best fishing of the year for that specie.
Take a look at the fish's biological calendar this spring. The walleye nets were put in by the DNR April 1 this year but the run has been very slow due to water temperatures not warming up much. On a normal spring the nets are put in on April 20.
That means three weeks early is all the run is at best, and with the cold water temperatures, that gap has narrowed considerably.
If you look of it from the fish's biological clock standpoint, the scheduled opener falls right into the heart of what is traditionally a really good walleye fishing time.
And tradition is what the opener is all about.