I just returned from my annual May fishing trip, and the first thing I did after returning home was to move my writing table outside.  In the week I was out of town the average temperature seems to have jumped ten degrees, and I am writing this blog from my front porch wearing a tee shirt and pajama bottoms. It was just cold enough that I went back inside to put on a pair of socks. 

In regard to my fishing trip, this is the second spring in a row that Americans were not allowed to enter Ontario. The pandemic must be gutting the western Ontario economy. Last year my fishing buddies and I simply cancelled our trip. This year we fished, but stayed in the United States. Brothers Ken and Larry, two of the core people on these trips, have a second home in Wisconsin’s Door County, so we switched our location to their summer getaway. This was the first time in fifty-five years I’ve spent an entire week in Door County, and the living conditions this year were a bit more upscale than the Sears canvas tent I stayed in as a kid. Neither the crowded campground in Peninsula State Park nor the high end second home near Ellison Bay qualify as a wilderness experience, but I am sitting back in La Crosse thinking fondly of both experiences. 

After a week near the tip of Door County, I feel like this blog should be about my fishing trip, but most of my previous blogs about outdoor adventures have focused on the mishaps that occurred. What do I write about when a trip goes off without a hitch? My friends and I fished, cooked some excellent meals, slept, and drank a little too much. Since no one reading my blog really cares about the fish we caught or the food we ate, I am left with a very good trip, but no tales to tell. 

Actually I have one very quick anecdote. On our first day out, I reeled in the largest walleye I’ve ever caught. Walleye is our fish of choice when it comes to frying up a fish dinner, so I asked whether we should keep it. All four of my companions were aghast that I even asked the question. Etiquette demands that any fish past a certain size be returned to the water. Part of has to do with freeing fish that are good breeders. Part has to do with respect for any fish that, in fish years, has survived as long we have.

There are several aspects of fishing that I’ve failed to get down on paper, because so much of the sport is beyond my comprehension. A good example is the rationale behind the self-imposed rules most fishermen and women have about catch and release (which have very little to do with the legal seasons, size requirements, and bag limits set by the managing authorities). It is just part of the mystique of fishing. 

Steven Simpson