Monday, January 11, 2010

The new year has arrived and winter trout season is now open in southeastern Minnesota. I went out this weekend and on my drive home I got to thinking about why there is a winter trout season in Minnesota in the first place. A couple DNR guys/walleye fisherman must have been sitting around a table drinking heavily and decided to play a joke on trout fisherman. After all, walleye fisherman are not stupid, they sit inside their heated fish houses, shot-gunning PBR and watching the game on a 50” plasma. Trout fisherman, during a Minnesota winter, have it a little tougher. We have to trudge though 4 feet of snow and slide down step banks to the river and if you were out this weekend, on top of all that, it was frozen over. Not just a little frozen over. There was snow on top of the seriously frozen over river. It looked more like a ditch that would be fun with snowmobiles than a trout stream. I knew my chances were not good when I was driving down and snow was drifting across the road from the 20 mph gusts. Ah, I’ll just use my five weight.
It has been pretty cold lately. The Mississippi is frozen over. Bank to bank about 200 yards of frozen over, snow covered, moving water. It’s crazy. It has been so miserable lately, when I heard the forecast of 18 degrees on Sunday I had to get out and fish a little.
18 seemed like a serious warm up. Unfortunately, that is still freezing and wasn’t enough to loosen the ice that had developed over the last month of sub-zero temps. I figured there had to be some water that was open that could be fished. I was wrong. Well, I guess there could have been open water somewhere but after about an hour of walking through waist deep snow I gave up. I only got about a quarter mile from the car. So let me re-phrase. There was no open water a quarter mile from my car, in one direction. So, back to those walleye fisherman, I’m down for ice fishing like that from now on. One thing ice fisherman don’t do, for good reason, is walk trough the water.

I had my waders on and decided to cross the river in one spot that had open water. It was three inches deep and moving fast. No trout there. I slid down the bank and landed on the stream side ice. Crack. I crossed the stream and barely got my boots wet. But I did get them wet and that was a bad idea. After walking around in the snow and then re-crossing at the same spot I got back to the car and found out my boots were frozen to my feet. Seriously, you guys have a plasma in there? Huh? My laces were frozen to my boots and water had gotten between the tongue and the rest of my boot. And guess what? Yeah, it froze them together. So, I decided to get back in the car and drive to a different spot and, hopefully, thaw my boots a bit. I got out and checked a new spot. Yep, frozen over. It actually wasn’t too hard to get the frozen boots off. Once I tapped the ice off the laces and between by laces and the boot with the reel seat of my rod they came right off.
It’s going to be 30 for part of the week and 30 on Saturday. I’ll give it another shot then. In two weeks I’m going ice fishing, in an ice house that is heated, so after that I may never fish for trout in the winter again. PBR? High life for me, if you got one.