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Angling activities shorten wait to opener

Anglers are eagerly anticipating the 2012 Minnesota Fishing Opener, hoping to land a big walleye like this one on May 12. For some people, waiting for the opener to arrive is more difficult than waiting for a bite once it does. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

The countdown started months ago, but the days are dwindling for the arrival of the 2012 Minnesota Fishing Opener.

Giddy anglers can pass the time over the next week in several different ways. To aide you during the painstaking wait, I've outlined some fishing related activities to partake in.

Sunday, May 6

Take a youngster over to Walker for the annual MarineMax Kids Crappie Contest. The event is free and includes hotdogs, pop and dozens of prizes. The event runs from 1-3p.m. at the MarineMax Marina on Leech Lake (take a left at the stoplights when you enter town on highway 34 and watch for signs on the right).

All participants must have a fishing rod and wear a personal floatation device. Minnows will be provided. Children ages 13 and under are eligible to participate and those 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Monday, May 7

If you haven't already, stop by the tackle shop and pick up your 2012 fishing license. By doing so early in the week, you'll avoid the last minute rush later in the week. You might even opt to purchase the voluntary $5 walleye stamp. Those proceeds go toward walleye stocking. Don't forget your rules booklet. And don't forget to look it over to note new angling rules (and those you may have forgotten about).

Tuesday, May 8

Grab one of the new Aquatic Invasive Species stickers and place it on your boat. The stickers can be found at major bait shops, the DMV and the Fisheries office. Make sure you know the laws pertaining to AIS and explicitly follow them.

Wednesday, May 9

Re-spool your reels with some fresh line. You'd hate to lose a lunker due to old, weak fishing line.

Thursday, May 10

Double-check and triple check your boating equipment. You should've already started the boat, greased your wheel bearings and updated your boat license. But did you remember to put your throw-able seat cushion in the boat? Do you have emergency items like a paddle, Band-Aids, extra tools and a flashlight?

Friday, May 11

Since your preparation is complete, celebrate "Fishing Opener Eve" by inviting your fishing buddies over to make predictions and most importantly, talk smart and share tales from past years.

Saturday, May 12

Finally! The big day has finally arrived! If your tradition is to head out on the water at midnight, use caution; and your boat lights.

If you prefer to wait until daylight's a bit closer, be patient at the boat access. It could be bustling at the launch of your choice and a few extra minutes may be required before it's your turn to set the vessel adrift.

During your wait, examine the signs at the public access to ensure you're familiar with any experimental regulations that may be in effect on that particular body of water.

And at the end of the day, reflect upon the joy of getting back on the water; whether you caught fish or not.