The Last Windrow: Gosh, this diehard angler sure misses Canada

Thanks to COVID-19 restrictions, it sounds like the walleyes are safe again this summer.

Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

I might not be boating a Canadian walleye again this summer. The walleyes might like that, but I don't.

Gosh, I've missed Canada. Our annual trip to the land of the maple leaf was canceled last year and it sounds like it might be canceled again this year. News from the border does not make one think that visitors from the south will be crossing that border anytime soon.

The regulations determining whether U.S. citizens will be allowed to enter are almost unworkable for the casual vacationing traveler. If you would be permitted to enter the country, you would then be ordered to quarantine for 14 days with no movement allowed. That does not compute.

Living in northern Minnesota is a treat - don't get me wrong - but having Canada as a next door neighbor makes it even better, especially if you're a person who likes to fish. I and my wife are two of those people.

We have ventured into the Land of the Maple Leaf country many times over the years and have always come back refreshed and enthused with the friendliness and openness of the country and its people. Canadians, at least the ones we've met, seem to enjoy their visitors from the south.


Some of that could be the result of the billfolds we bring with us, but I think it is more than that. We share a common border and we share common problems.

But the fly in the ointment this year is the same as last - COVID-19. I've been checking Canadian newspapers and I find that the same plague that has affected us down here in the lower 48 has also made its way across the Canadian countryside.

Schools and businesses have been closed, mask wearing is required and travel across the border is almost nonexistent except for those who qualify as "essential" or "daily workers." Fishermen pulling boats up from the south are a rare if not absent commodity.

I find by looking at the Canadian regulations that even after a U.S. citizen has had a negative test before entering the country, once inside Canada one must quarantine for 14 days. That means staying in your cabin for 14 days before even thinking of venturing out.

And then one must take another test and be negative to get back out of the country. Not many are going to go through all those hoops just to catch a walleye or a bass.

I'm wondering how all those resorts and tourist-centered businesses are going to make it through this. It's tough enough with the short summer seasons to make a living north of the border, and the restrictions now in place are going to make it tougher.

I wonder if the bait and tackle shops and eateries will even be there once the restrictions are lifted. I've read several news articles detailing the plight of many of those businesses.

A couple of years ago there was a bait shop advertised for sale in the town nearest our fishing camp. The real estate ad stated that for a sum approaching a million bucks you could own this "thriving" business and as an additional perk you would inherit a minnow trapping license and fur trapline.


I made a comment to my beloved that maybe we should consider this "opportunity" of a lifetime. The silence that followed my comment said all it needed to say. We're still living in the USA.

I'm wondering if that business is still there after this shutdown. I'm wondering how any of those small shops have survived this gut punch. I guess we won't get the answer this year unless Canada changes its mind and lets us in.

It sounds like the walleyes are safe again this summer. Gosh, I miss Canada.

See you next time. Okay? Stay safe!

John Wetrosky - Last Windrow.jpg

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