ON ANY OPENING day of fishing season, there are usually three scenarios that could play out for any given fisherman.

The first and the most optimistic that any fisherman would hope for is a day of good weather, a huge population of fish wishing to commit suicide and a stringer of fish going home to the frying pan.

The second, which no fisherman in his right mind wishes to see, is a day of high wind from the north, a full-fledged snowy blizzard and a lake where the fish population seemingly was totally wiped out over the course of the winter. Most often, after a day of fishing like that, the experienced fisherman will quit early, go home, sulk and drink heavily of Demon Rum.

Yet a third scenario, one which I would wager is the most common, is that opening day fisherman take what weather comes, put in an effort that varies from extreme to half-hearted, and are happy to come home with a few fish and a wife that isn’t waiting with a large club because the angler didn’t do his promised chores before he lit out for the lake.

Of course, there is always another option a fisherman can choose for opening day and it is the one I chose this year: Stay home, rake the lawn, beat the rugs, mop the kitchen floor, take out the trash and otherwise strive valiantly to do every item listed on my lovely wife’s to-do list.

OK, so my rake never touched the lawn, my wife did the rugs and mopped the kitchen floor, but I did take the garbage to the landfill. After which, I stopped at the lake cabin of a friend to shoot the breeze for a couple hours. Hey, a man can only do what he can do.

This opening day for me meant not a single rod and reel was readied for fishing, not an oar was dipped in the water and there was no hangover stemming from a day on the water with unreliable, unrepentant, morals-lacking companions of extremely doubtful character. 

Further on the plus side, my lovely wife and I spent an enjoyable late afternoon and early evening with many friends at a superb Cinco de Mayo party. I might add that though the food and beverages were excellent, I never did spot a bottle of Kraft® Mayo anywhere on the food table, leading me to wonder why they were honoring that fine condiment in the first place, but I digress, back to the fishing. 

In what might be termed a minor miracle, not only was the opening day weather outstanding, but many of our shallower lakes, especially those with some sort of current running through them, were open and available to fishermen. 

Earlier in the week, it had seemed the possibility of that happening was far-fetched at the least. Monday last, there were ice fishermen still out on many larger, deeper lakes and the ice was still white as driven snow. By Wednesday, at least on all the lakes around me, the ice was black as coal, lending hope that ice-out would happen at warp speed and on some lakes it did.

My fishing season did not officially start until Sunday afternoon, shortly after I gave up the Milwaukee Brewers game as a lost cause by the fifth inning. It took me but a scant half hour to rig up a couple rods, find my pocket tackle box full of panfish jigs, bobbers and assorted gee-gaws, pull on my waders and otherwise make ready for a trip to one of my favorite little bluegill lakes. 

It took slightly longer for my wife to fill a tote bag large enough to hold a baby elephant with snacks, sparkling water, a hefty tome to read, a winter parka, snacks enough to last three weeks and assorted other necessities for what would be, at most, a two-hour outing.

As I expected, we had no company at my chosen lake, at least of the human kind. There were a few thousand peepers giving voice and three mallards, including two beautiful drakes that were content to meander along the shoreline as I fished 50 yards or so away.

I left the truck with my wife occupying our dogs at the shore, tossing a retrieving dummy. Molly was pretty much left behind on every throw of the dummy. At almost 9 years old, she is no match for the year-old strength, speed and stamina of Gordie, so she watched while he charged into the water, time after time, like a raging bull after a red flag.

I began fishing next to a semi-fallen Norway pine, the topmost branches of which droop well into 8-foot deep water. In short order, I decided that an orange jig and waxie were not going to entice any bites. 

Moving around the shore, I switched to a favorite flippy floppy-tailed little jig in anticipation it would put bluegills in my creel. It did not. As I moved into calm water, my thoughts were that the bluegills were in deeper water unreachable to a fisherman wading the shoreline was the only reason for no bites. It was not. I found another. Bluegills by the dozen were floating at the edge of grass lining the shore. It was obvious the lake had experienced a significant winterkill. 

I decided then and there to try another favorite honey hole small lake. Back by my wife and dogs, there were more bluegills, along with some frogs and a bass of about 14 inches, floating. Naturally, Molly, ever the genteel lady, had decided a roll in rotting bluegills on the shoreline sand would be nice so back home, it was my job to get her in the tub, where I could go to work with lots of water and oatmeal shampoo.

Before I gave up the fishing, we toured some other back roads, but a few fruitless casts in one of the lakes they led to convinced me the remainder of our evening would be better spent as a simple sightseeing tour.

We went home fishless, but we also went home having visited some of the prettiest little lakes you could find anywhere in the world and, for me, no fish cleaning looming over my head.