By Adam Hjelm

One thing is for sure…Saturday, May 9 2020 was a memorable Minnesota fishing opener.

There were hardly a handful of vehicles at the town boat access at the break of dawn. There weren’t herds of people waiting at the bait store. There wasn’t a constant train of traffic peeling off the freeway and coming into Osakis. There wasn’t a line of campers, trucks with boat trailers, or other traveler congestions at the gas stations. There wasn’t the hustle at the café or the grocery store. The municipal bar and the VFW’s lights were off. Parking spots were open throughout town, everywhere. There weren’t too many cabin windows light up or shoreline campfires glowing around the lake.

The world, the state, and the city were dealing with a pandemic. People were instructed to social distance at least six feet away from others. People were discouraged from traveling long distances. Local bars and restaurants were doing curbside pickup, if they were open at all. Gatherings of any number of people were taboo. School buildings were closed. Elderly and other folks with health issues were told to avoid the world as much as possible.

The weather was anything but delightful for fishing. A brisk northwest wind was blustering around a combination of light rain and random flurries. The menacing clouds kept the sun from shining and barely allowed daytime highs to creep up into the 40s. The overnight lows dipped down below freezing and even froze over some small puddles and potholes.

Many, many of us tell fishing tales of fishtails. Stories of fishing opener have been told year after year, generation after generation. Memories, family traditions, friendships, and so much more have started at the lake in early May. What will our collective memories, tales, and stories of this year’s opener be? What will your memories, tales, and stories of this year’s opener be?

One thing is for sure…Saturday, May 9 2020 was a memorable fishing opener.