Faith: Where do all the walleyes go?


Here, midway between Fargo and Duluth, half of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes are found. Consequently, the month of June has, through the years, become the month abounding with fabrication, perhaps prevarication. I’m not saying “outright lying.”

I refer here to the number and size of walleyes reportedly caught. It’s an art form that uses imagination only to disclose where walleyes are, and are not, to be caught. Whenever someone reports a spot where walleyes do not exist, it is probably that very spot where the reporter’s live well frequently swirls, accidentally of course, with fresh caught walleyes!

One might encounter someone who claims there are no walleyes in Pine Mountain Lake but there are in Norway Lake. That is the person who catches the prized fish readily in Pine Mountain. When people report that the walleyes are gone from Whitefish but Leech is hot, it’s wise to assume the reporter limits out on Whitefish.

That the Mississippi is never mentioned should mean something to all of us. When sharing this kind of “news,” people work to wipe away grins, akin to artists at a showing looking at their finished pieces. Old-timers understand this drama, and enjoy its comedy, but grieve deeply with its tragedy - when ambiguity lacks credibility and the expression of indigenous culture goes poorly.

So it goes in the month of June. July comes too quickly when common experience teaches that no walleyes are to be caught anywhere. They lose their teeth in July. As everyone knows, walleyes don’t bite when they have a sore mouth. This fact causes joy and concern shared before prayers in our diverse churches.


What’s the motive behind those joys and concerns? Could they empty the lakes of one’s competitors? Could they bring families together on the weekend? Credible ambiguity!

Speaking of joys and concerns in our churches, one might properly ask at this point what these comments have to do with church. After all, this is supposed to be a faith column!

Well, Jesus loved to go fishing. It’s not too far-fetched to suppose he knows well the fabrication and prevarication mentioned above. He noticed this, perhaps, most of all in the behavior of his lead disciples, like Peter and the long history of clergy following him.

And it seems reasonable as well to suppose that Jesus is pleased that at least in some sense we’re on the same page with him. That’s a good thing to be on the same page with Jesus. He empowers us to celebrate the goodness in life meant for all, and, in life’s shipwreck, to treasure compassion and hope.

Gotta love that Jesus page! That love is the point of it all, including June and July and this column as well as midway between Fargo and Duluth.

Oh, and by the way, there are no walleyes in the Mississippi between the Crow Wing State Park landing and the Highway 371 bridge.

Loren Grage is pastor at Pine River United Methodist Church.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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