Jim Braaten

Jim Braaten lives near Kenyon, Minn., and has been an avid outdoorsman for more than 35 years. He lives on the family farm that was first settled by his ancestors 152 years ago. He has been an outdoors writer and photographer, and he owns a business producing and marketing calendars.

Discovering a cure for spring fever

Posted by: Jim Braaten under Weather, Fishing Updated: February 15, 2010 - 11:31 AM

I didn't realize it at the time, but I made a mistake about three weeks ago. I purchased a new boat, motor and trailer in anticipation for an early spring. It seemed like a logical purchase at that moment, but ever since that wonderful day the snow just keeps piling up.

Indeed, somehow the spring season seems to be less imminent with each passing day. What I now have come to realize is that buying a new summertime outdoor toy during the dead of winter can give a person an extreme case of the winter blahs.

Oh, sure, I could go out and participate in various ice-fishing activities that are going on strong right now. I could even strap on the snowshoes and trek out for some fabulous predator hunting going on during this time of the year. Of course, that’s not the point…all I yearn to be doing is sitting in my new boat, playing with the electronics and catching fish in warmer weather. I want winter to end!

Glancing up at the calendar it’s depressing to see the Minnesota Fishing Opener is still 89 days away. For that matter, Minnesota’s average ice-out date doesn’t come until AFTER the April tax deadline. Granted, I could likely find open water on the river system if I looked for it…but the point remains it’s still winter and this year it has seemed like an unusually long one.

As I sit on the tractor blowing snow I day-dream what it will eventually be like to make waves on the water rather than snow piles along my driveway. As I struggle to pull heavy snows off the roof of my house I pause occasionally to image what it will be like to reel up that nice late-summer muskie. Somehow, sore muscles after a day of casting has a quite different feel to it than aching muscles as a result of moving heavy, wet snow.

There’s just no doubt about it this winter needs to end soon. After all, for many of us it got started early in October with only a few teaser periods of nice weather thereafter. And now with the football season officially over, these next several weekends can be relentlessly long and boring.

So, is there a magical cure for dealing with spring fever? No, but like any ailment manifesting itself in your body, I’ve found there is a prescription that works for me to reduce the psychological discomfort. Perhaps best of all…you don’t even need to visit your doctor to seek relief.

My recommendation: Turn on the TV and check out some of the great outdoors programming to be found on both cable and on local channels. If nothing else, these programs can suck you in and at least take your mind off of not being out there doing it yourself.

Ever since my youth when I would watch the likes of Virgil Ward, Roland Martin and eventually Winkelman and the Lindners…TV has served as great medicine for chasing the wintertime blues.

I must admit…fishing vicariously with any of these legendary TV fishermen doesn’t eclipse actually being out on the water in your own boat. Not even close. But when the alternative is to go outside and shovel the sidewalk…well, hand me the remote please. I need another dose of outdoors video comfort to get me by just a few more weeks until this situation will surely pass.

Related Items Worthy of Note

This past week Sportsman Channel began airing in High Definition (HD) on DISH Network, channels 285 and 9483(HD). Also, the Sportsman Channel, in honor of President’s Day, is asking viewers to vote in their online poll to determine which of 8 Great Sporting Presidents would you rather spend a day in the woods with. Learn about these great Presidents and then be sure to vote on your favorite.

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