I found exactly one dead bass on the first loop that I paddled around the pond. No other signs of winterkill. No hoards of merganzers, cormorants, gulls, eagles or other opportunists like those that followed the winter of '96-'97. A major cold front arrived for Saturday's general fishing opener, and I did not even wet a walleye line. Some lakes were still not ice free - a record late spring. By Sunday morning the temp had dropped to 22 F.
No matter - it is too late to deter the fish from coming into shallow water, seeking warmth - by 5 pm it was in the sixties and the water temp was nearing 50. Today it was 80 and the game is on ! Everybody survived the long winter just fine. Ticks out in force. First spring peepers join the chorus tonight. Flycatchers and rose-breasted grossbeaks safely back home.