The Last Windrow: For anglers' sake, we need to get along with Canada
I hope Canada doesn't decide to put a tariff on walleyes. I'm kind of worried about that.
This part of northern Minnesota attracts thousands of anglers each year searching for walleyes, northern pike, bass and panfish. The highways are full of $100,000 boats pulled by shiny-wheeled pickups and cars. A long way from the rusted out pickup and beat up boats I remember making the trek in in earlier days.
It is common for we who live up here already in the pine and lake country to venture even farther north seeking our fishing thrills. We purchase passports and wander across the border to our friendly northern neighbor, Canada.
There is an annual pilgrimage to the land of the maple leaf and hockey rinks in search of "easy" fish. Fish that haven't seen a million lures and jigs cast before them. Unless some unforeseen weather event hinders the fishing, usually even a person who doesn't know how to fish has a chance to get a tug on the line.
And so it is with me and my wife. We will be making that trip sometime in the future, and we always relish just getting away and fishing on a lake devoid of cabins and million dollar mansions.
Canada has used its collective head in shoreline development. They may be clear-cutting logs in the vicinity of a lake, but the lakeshore is left intact with trees where eagles roost.
I often wonder why we didn't do it that way. But, that's another story.
Once we are given the "thumbs up" by the border guards, we happily turn the truck north and visit familiar scenic views along the road. You know you're in Canada when you reach the rocks. Giant slabs of granite surround you as you pass by sparkling lake after lake, each promising a full stringer.
For anyone who likes to fish, this is anxiety provoking.
We stop at the first bait shop we happen on to purchase our licenses, bait and whatever lures we forgot at home. The bait shop we usually stop at is for sale. You can purchase the whole mess for a small fortune and toss in a minnow trapping licence and a fur trapline to go along with it.
My wife gives me the evil eye when I remark that maybe we should experience a change in life and purchase this goldmine and spend the rest of our lives having the fun of running a bait store. Then she brings me back to reality. No, that won't happen. Been there. Done that.
But, lately I've become worried with this trade war talk that's going around. It seems we're ready to clobber them and they are ready to clobber us. I'm wondering where all this might lead.
As a result, will we be held for a day at the border crossing answering probing questions? Will the Ontario conservation officers be following us around the lake looking for any minor infraction that may land us in jail? Could they jack up the price of minnows so high that we'll be forced to use bare hooks?
Who knows where this tariff talk could lead?
And, at the price of a walleye, what if a tariff were instituted on any walleyes we wanted to bring home? Walleyes are already selling at the grocery store for plus $12 a pound. A tariff could put the price out of sight, forcing us to start eating bullheads and carp again as I did on the Iowa prairie.
I'm hoping that the governments of these two "friendly" neighbors can somehow come to agree to figure out how to get along and leave the walleyes alone. I don't think I'm the only one.
I like Canada.
See you next time. Okay?