Was I fishing in a dream, or did this opener really happen? Someone pinch me please. For the first time since I can remember fishing a Minnesota opener, the snow didn't fly, the wind didn't blow, and the cold never set in. It was beyond beautiful! Heck, I even saw the first water skiiers and party cruisers on the water. While all of the "norms" for our opener failed to transpire, one thing remained the same - the walleye chomp was on!
My opnening day partners were Dusty Gesinger and Sean Bailey. Two fishin' dudes that I've shared many openers with. We hit the Waconia watering hole for the midnight start time, and boy did we start the season out with a bang. The first walleye to hit the net came shortly after midnight by yours truly. An 'eye that was too big to keep and pushed the stick at just under 24 inches. I was proud! Not to be outdone, Dusty crushed my mark with a lengthy 27 3/4 inch walleye of his own. We laughed and gave high fives. Our streak of Midnight openers has given us some extremely large fish over the past several years. One common scenario is that I catch the first fish, then Dusty catches one just a bit bigger. For example, two years ago I got us on the board just after midnight with a 28 incher that I thought would win the 'big fish' honors. As I was puffing my chest over my big catch, he set the hook into a 31 incher that blew our mind. I guess it's fate, but I will be the first to admit that I love every time he out duels me. I have become accustomed to it and would expect nothing less from him. Maybe it's why I give up my night of sleep, and why I love the midnight opener so much.
While our midnight run is always fun, we really look forward to Saturday morning and catching a meal for a fish fry. After a short rest, we left Waconia and headed over to lake Minnetonka to watch the sun rise over the lake. This too has been a yearly tradition, and once again the walleyes held up their end of the bargain. As the sun hit the Eastern horizon, the lines went tight. We boated some for the frying pan, but found most to be way too large. A problem that we weren't complaining about at all. We found our average size to be about a 4 pound fish, and caught several between 22 and 25 inches. A treat for a metro fishing opener. For a while we thought we were on Mille Lacs or Leech, but again, we weren't complaining.
The rest of the weekend was more of the same. We fished hard, fishing a total of three lakes, and finally managed our meal for a fresh walleye dinner. With weather typical of July, many large walleyes, and the fact that I caught at least one walleye on 3 different lakes on Saturday, I am going to rate this opener as one the best I have ever experienced. My boat was truly blessed with the great walleye success. The only thing I couldn't figure out was how the heck Dusty and I caught all those walleyes, and Sean got skunked? Haha, Yep, he won't live that one down anytime soon! Fortunately, he stepped his game up on Sunday and finally got the smell out of the boat! Thanks to all that made my opener so memorable.
As always, you can see more pictures in my personal walleye photo album. Also, if anyone is interested in catching some metro 'eyes, the time is now and I still have limited room available for guided trips. From the walleye filled metro waters, keep on livin' the dream!
Catch more at www.trophyencounters.com