The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Outdoors

April 6, 2014

Cross column: Exorcising winter's demons ... finally

Given my druthers, by now, I’d druther be fishing from my boat.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there is much likelihood of that happening any time soon on area lakes.

So like the rest of you, any fishing I have done in recent days has been through a hole in the ice.

But at this late date, at least we can call it ice-fishing lite.

With sub-zero temperatures (hopefully) behind us, there no longer is a real need to haul along shelters, heaters, propane tanks to the lake.

After months of loading and unloading all of that equipment, gearing up for late season ice-fishing is refreshingly simple.

A pail, limited tackle, bait, a couple of rods and depending on where you’re fishing, perhaps a flasher, and you’re in business.

In most instances, on lakes where there is lots of fishing activity and overnight temperatures near or above freezing, even the gas auger can be left behind since the holes from the previous day will remain open.

Ice fishing at this time of the year is to enjoy the best of what the sport has to offer, yet a way to exorcise those demons brought on by all of those frigid temperatures and piles of snow over the past several months.

I’ve made a few fishing forays to area lakes in the last few days to cash in on the late-season panfish bite.

There has been little danger of sunburn, to be sure.

But while the weather hardly has been balmy, at least it has been comfortable enough to sit out in the open on a pail while catching a meal or two of bluegills and crappies.

Unlike those wintery days when we’re all isolated within the confines of shelters, huddled next to hissing heaters, being out in the wide-open spaces brings a social aspect to the sport.

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