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John R. Eggers: Backup plans for fishing season’s Opening Day

What can you do if the ice doesn’t go out?

Well, boys and girls, it looks like we won’t be able to go out and play in the water Saturday, the Opening Day for the Minnesota 2013 fishing season. All of the old gents have been saying that we may break the record for the latest ice melt on Lake Bemidji.

If that’s the case how are you going to entertain your friends who are on their way up north for the fishing opener? What will you do?

I have been pondering this because my brother and friend will be leaving on Thursday and hope to catch a few of those elusive walleyes to make up for the ones we didn’t catch last year on Opening Day.

I didn’t pack my ice auger away so we could go ice fishing. I know many of you have been saying the same thing.

I could suggest that you could travel south for the opener because the lakes in southern Minnesota are open but who ever heard of going to southern Minnesota to fish when you live in Bemidji? Please, we have a reputation to protect.

Here are some things I have been thinking of doing in case the ice is still on the lake. You may want to do the same.

— Rent the movie “Moby Dick.” Dream about catching a fish that big.

— Ask your pastor to bless your boat and your rods and reels and lures.

— Just out of spite, play Bing Crosby’s, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”

— Drive to my hometown of Waterville and fish bullheads. If you don’t catch any you can stop at the local VFW and buy a plate.

— Scout out some rivers and creeks for northern and walleyes. Leave your spear at home.

— Fish perch. I can see many of us doing just that. Honestly, a mess a perch is as good as or even better than a walleye.

— Kayak around the edge of the lake. We just may see a run of kayaks in our stores.

— Take a polar plunge to wake up and ask yourself, “Why am I upset? Next week or the week after will be even better.”

— Check out the burgers at one of the many bar and grills in the area. They’re all pretty good. While you are there make up some stories about the big one that got away this morning.

— Go to a baseball game. Oh, that’s right, they aren’t playing either.

— Go ice boating.

— Go quilting. I don’t know why I included this one. It’s going to be such a crazy day you may as well do something that is kind of crazy.

— Walk or bike around Lake Bemidji. Who knows, by the time you get done the lake may be open.

— Rake your lawn. Yes, I can see a lot of us doing this.

— Go to church and pray for the ice to go out. I understand that the local clergy expect to see the churches full next Sunday. They have been thinking about getting more folding chairs.

— Read “Moby Dick.” You will see that the movie is actually much better than the book.

— Sit around the campfire and sing. I just might do that.

— Read Tom Clancy’s “Enemies and Assassins.” It will take you the weekend to get through it but it is a good, good book. (At least for guys.)

— Ask your wife for suggestions on what to do. I did. She didn’t have any. Oh, yes, spend Mother’s Day at home. I didn’t say anything.

— Play with your dog. Our dog, Simon, just got fixed so he needs someone to lean on.

— Celebrate Mother’s Day like we are supposed to do. (See, I did include it.)

— If your friends are renting a motel room, maybe you can use the pool to practice your casting.

— Go to Park Rapids and shake hands with the Governor. He will be spending the day at a popular bar and grill telling fish stories.

— Buy some plants.

— Go to a few garage sales.

— Paint the kitchen.

— Clean the garage. (I can’t believe I said that.)

— Think positive. As I write this, I just heard they had 15 inches of snow in Owatonna. See, it could be worse.

— Go to an area fish market, buy some walleye and have a fish fry. See, that wasn’t so hard.

— This may be the best suggestion for you as well as any friends coming north, “Stay home!”

— No, here’s a better one, get your deer camp ready.

JOHN R. EGGERS of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.