EVERY FISHING EXPEDITION has its own story.

Some are better than others. Some take longer in the telling than others. Some rely on foibles and mishaps to enhance the telling. Some are stories of success; some have nothing but an empty net to tell about.

I embarked on a fishing expedition last weekend’s opening morning, as did thousands of other fishermen in Wisconsin. Mine was a rather small expedition, but nonetheless had its moments to make it memorable.

Waiting for it to warm up a bit, I didn’t even attempt an early morning assault. At the gentlemanly hour of 10 a.m., I loaded the Old Town, oars, life jacket, rods, tiny tackle box and trout net into the truck and pointed it north.

How far north, you ask? Well, as I explained to friends this weekend after returning home from a very successful outing of catching trout, I have a little trouble remembering exactly where I went.

At first, I was pretty sure I fished a small lake west of Hurley for the first time. I was sure of that. But as my short-term memory loss kicked in, I began remembering that I went all the way north of Ashland to fish a couple of favorite trout holes there.

Soon after that thought came to mind, a mental picture flashed across my forehead that I really was over in the Cable-Drummond-Delta country, but then, that picture went fuzzy.

Did I really roam that far? After carefully thinking it over in my brain-fogged, befuddled mind, I suddenly remembered I fished somewhere close to Fifield, but then, that memory gave way once again. My last and clearest remembrance of where I was put me either right here in Vilas County or else over Florence way. At any rate, I caught trout.

But first there was the matter of getting on the water. After arriving at my chosen lake, I started to slide the Old Town into the water when a vision of horror struck me. There were the oars in the bottom of the square stern all right, but they had no oar locks on them.

Slapping myself on the forehead, I only then remembered I swiped those oar locks last fall to put on a pair of oars I had purchased to leave with the jon boat that stays at duck camp in North Dakota year-round.

What to do, what to do? Many miles from home and a fierce wind blowing directly in at the boat landing meant there would be no chance of paddling around the lake with a clumsy oar.

Maybe it was the lake, for it was at this very same body of water last spring when I fished with my good friend, Larry McCaughn — just a short time before he was tragically taken from us — where we found ourselves in a similar bind.

That time, I plumb forgot to bring the oars along. Larry thought that was funny. After a few cuss words, so did I. With necessity being the mother of invention that day, we broke off some stout dead oak branches to a length of about 6 feet and paddled our way around a semi-calm lake for a few hours with oak branches for paddles. We even caught some trout.

This time, I was more fortunate. After a run into a nearby town where I bought a new set of oar locks, I returned to the landing ready to put them on the oars. Not quite so fast, said my addled brain. My tool kit, including pliers, screwdrivers and sockets, was in the groomer I drive all winter while grooming ski trails.

Back to square No. 1. Fortunately for me, about that time my friend, Jim Tait, from Boulder Junction, was coming off the lake. He had tools in his car. Oar locks mounted, a hearty thank you to Jim and I was finally on the water.

Which brings us to the trout. They were quite cooperative. Feisty, hard-hitting rainbows didn’t take long to decide the very small wobbling plug I was throwing at them looked delicious.

My fishing partner, as he often is, was very enthusiastic the entire time in the boat. But then, you would expect a 3-year-old yellow lab to be that way. Gordie loves to fish and he always provides a few laughs. Sometimes, a cuss word or two as well.

He provided the humor this time when, after landing and unhooking a trout, I had to unhook myself caused by Gordie whanging into me from behind trying to get a better look at the trout. While I wrestled the hook out of a shirtsleeve, Gordie wormed under my seat and barked like a madman at the still-flopping trout. He doesn’t tolerate misbehaving trout very well.

In less than two hours, I caught about 10, missed a half-dozen hits and lost another three or four partway to the boat. Four were kept and they provided a fitting end to the story when they came out of a frying pan Sunday evening.

Fried trout, home-baked garlic breadsticks and corn on the cob was indeed a great way to finish off an opening weekend of fishing.

And that’s my fishing story for this time.