The Last Windrow: Fellow anglers, you aren't going to believe this

It has been a fishless year so far for this fisherman. I know, it's hard to believe if you know me. I'm going to fix that soon.

Photo illustration /

If I weren't living it, I wouldn't believe it.

Totally uncharacteristic for this ex-farm boy, born on the fertile sod of Iowa, baptized by wind, hail and snow, and lover of the fine art of sport fishing.

No, even I would have a hard time believing what has become a fact for me in the year 2022.

I've not been fishing one time this year!

To those who have known my past, this seems almost impossible. My relatives and friends have known that through my years the sport that held my interest the most included a rod and reel.


I don't play golf. I don't play tennis. I don't run marathons. I don't jog. Those activities have never attracted me as much as a running river or a lake featuring a "walleye chop."

Ever since I pulled that first horny-headed creek chub from the west branch of the west fork of the Little Sioux River, I've been what you could call hooked.

I've written before that my dad told me that at the age of 4 I landed and grabbed that chub between my two hands and wanted to take it to bed with me that night. That didn't happen, but the seed was planted.

So, this year found me recovering from two hip operations that began last December and carried through the winter months until March. It's tough to go ice fishing when you're lying flat in bed with one leg that doesn't work.

Hence, there was to be no ice fishing this year. I could almost hear those panfish calling to me from the depths of a nearby lake, but there was little I could do about it other than to think of times past when I drilled multiple holes through three feet of ice and lowered my bait to the waiting sunfish below.

But, I did recover slowly, and when I was able to, I hitched up my boat and pulled it out of its storage place in mid-May thinking at least I'd be able to get in on the early walleye bite.

I hooked up the water hose to the motor for the first test of the year, and to my surprise the water pump failed to pump water. I couldn't believe that a 20-year-old motor might have a problem, but it did and the boat headed for the repair shop where I was put on a waiting list.

It seemed that everyone who had a boat out over Memorial Day had a problem also and the repair shop was backlogged. No fishing from that boat was done through the month of June, prime time in walleye country.


The boat is now back and running and we've just celebrated Independence Day. I've yet to wet a line or much less get close to a public access ramp.

I sit here at this computer wearing a baseball cap that says "Fish! It's simple!" Well, maybe for some that might be true. But for me, this year fishing has been anything but simple. Somehow the zest for fishing that I was born with has diminished a bit this year.

For a kid who loved to fish so much that he actually fished in the water accumulated at the bottom of a trench silo behind a barn, this year has been unfulfilling, to say the least.

I knew there were no fish in that trench silo, but just watching the bobber float on the dirty water was enough to quench my thirst in place of the real thing.

John Wetrosky
John Wetrosky (2022)

But, there are still four good open water months left in this Minnesota and Canadian north country, and if my hip holds out from gardening tasks, I do believe I'll be able to achieve being able to drop that boat in the water and head for a lake somewhere in search of a fish.

At this point, I don't even care what species comes up from the depths. If it has scales, fins and gills, I'll be satisfied.

It has been a fishless year so far for this fisherman. I know, it's hard to believe if you know me. I'm going to fix that soon.

See you next time. Okay?

Opinion by John Wetrosky
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