Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day and Fishing Opener -- Adventures in Ely

This past weekend were two of my favorite days of the year.  For once, Saturday, came without snow, without hail, without a blustery windy, rainy day that was more about what rain gear to put on that would allow for multiple warm layers underneath than fishing. It was a pleasant day. So of course, that meant that I ultimately had other plans.

One of my fishing partners had to travel to Virginia, Minnesota mid-day to finish up her last hour of behind-the-wheel-driving so that she can take her driver's test as close to five minutes after she turns sixteen as possible.  My oldest daughter is all about fishing, just like her mother.  Her younger sister is also one of those people who will sit in a canoe or ankle deep in water for hours as long as they are biting.

Sure I had a couple of friends that had asked me to hit the water for opener, but I'd promised Lucy that I'd fish first with her, and so, I took the day to work on my novel.  Writing went well enough and all and all it was a relaxing day in which I solved some problems, gained some ground on character development and discovered something I'd been hoping to find.

That evening we went to an early graduation party for one of my son's friends and the next morning was church.  After that Lucy, Juliet and I changed clothes, loaded up the gear and canoe, stopped at the bait store for supplies and headed out.  We needed to be back before five to get started on dinner for Mother's Day.

The sun was out and there was a breeze that pushed us around a little bit, but most often let us be.  The water isn't very warm due to quite a few nights in the twenties, but it isn't just a few degrees above freezing any longer either.  We had sustained ourselves with a quick lunch just before leaving and I have to admit that with the warmth of the sun on my face I was perfectly comfortable just lounging in the stern seat of our Wenonah Champlain.

We had our lines out and the girls spent time between bites to add laughter to the lake.  For some reason Lucy and I repeatedly over cast nearly every time we threw towards the shore.  Probably over zealous after a long winter :) and so we ended up tangled in a few branches and bushes.  That only contributed to the hilarity.  It didn't take long though for her to land the first fish of the season.  On Mother's Day.

Well before that I felt like I'd achieved my goals.  Sitting there in the canoe, peering down through clear water, I felt like Spring had finally arrived.  With the sound of strong wings beating the air a wood duck landed on a house attached to a dead spire of cedar rising up out the lake bottom about 6 feet from my end of the canoe.  She disappeared inside and it was about that time that we too, felt the pull towards home and dinner and the celebration of MOM.

I pulled up that anchor, we stowed our lures, hooks, and rods and put our paddles to water.  Pulling through the cold water it was hard to imagine that just a little while ago we'd have been walking out here.  Up ahead though, shot up two of the clearest signs that the season had changed for good... a pair of loons surfaced, stark white markings against black so deep in color that it takes on purple and green coloring.  Sleek, young, streamlined.  Up close, only a few feet from the canoe, I'm taken with just how beautiful they are each time I see them.  One after the other, they dove underneath the surface and with powerful kicks from their legs glided past.  Every detail was visible in the clear water and their white spots seemed to glow until they surfaced again twenty yards away.

I wanted to stay, but the blackflies had arrived as well, and so we climbed out, grabbed everything and Lucy took off down the trail with the canoe on her shoulders.  Just like when Simon was a very little boy, Juliet now voiced what always comes to mind.  Walking behind, it looked like Lucy wore a giant yellow hat.

Olive bread and barbecued chicken awaited and the giving and receiving of gifts for the two moms in my life.  My wife and my mom.  As Simon would later post, "GOAT" -- the Greatest Of All Time!

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms and Guys, if you spent all weekend fishing, you missed out.

Peace, Tim Stouffer, Piragis Northwoods Company.

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