Ice Fishing in May

2013 featured the winter that wouldn’t end. Here in Minneapolis, the snow has finally melted and leaves are starting to come out on the trees. Farther north, though, the lakes are still largely frozen. This weekend is the opening of Minnesota’s fishing season, one of the most important dates on the calendar. But it’s hard to go after those walleyes when you’re dodging ice on the lake. The Minneapolis Star Tribune posted this mournful account:

Fishing season began Saturday in Minnesota, and in some cases involving significant determination, fishing began Saturday, too.

Anglers were greeted by temperatures far colder than just one day before, by a cold and gusty north wind and by ice still covering the largest Up North lakes. It’s believed no fishing opener since 1950 was so dramatically affected by weather, not so much the weather on opening day but that of the weeks previous.

Still, anglers found options in rivers and smaller bodies of water where ice had managed to become open water despite a winter that lingered long into spring.

The Strib’s article is accompanied by a number of photographs, including this man who is sitting on the ice of Pike Bay Lake, trying to fish:

Here he is literally ice fishing in May, using the traditional ice auger:

It is hard not to feel sorry for these fishermen. They apparently found some open water and got their lines in the lake, but they look way too cold to be having much fun:

Wallace Stevens once wrote:

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves….

Yes, but he was talking about January, for crying out loud! When the pine trees are still crusted with snow in May, I don’t care how inured you are to Minnesota weather, there is misery in the sound of the wind.

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