THERE ARE TIMES when I hate winter. This is one of those times. Snow on April 25? Not cool. Still, it isn’t the first time in the nearly 72 years I’ve lived here in north Wisconsin that we’ve had new snow on the ground this late into April and it won’t be the last.

Actually, it’s not the April snowfalls that really make me hate winter in the spring. It’s the ones that come in May, at times totally disrupting the opening day of fishing season. That’s happened more than once.

Looking back, I remember one opening day in particular that was meant to be a happy, new beginning for a budding fisherman.

My son, Brooks, was 4 or 5 years old on that occasion and opening morning he was wide awake at 6 a.m., ready to hit the water at Pauto Lake for some brook trout action. It was to be his first serious opening day of fishing.

We went to bed the evening before with nothing but stars showing in the sky. It was cold, but the first Saturday of May that is not unexpected. Waking up to 6 inches of snow on the ground the next morning, none of it as I recall predicted by any weatherman, was not expected.

With a promise to Brooks that we’d get out later in the morning, I switched off the alarm clock and pulled an extra blanket over my head.

The rest of the story? We did get out on the water around 10 in the morning and we — I should say Brooks – caught trout. I never hooked a fish or even got a line in the water. Brooks caught a limit of trout while I rowed the boat, netted the fish and put them in the creel.

Later in the afternoon, it was my daughter’s turn, as at the age of 7 or 8 fishing was still more important to her than boys, although that wouldn’t last too much longer. From her seat in the stern of “Old Johnny,” my 10-foot Jon boat, she caught her limit while I still never got to touch a rod and we were done for the day.

It wasn’t but a year or two later that snow got us opening day again. That time it was even worse. About 10 inches came down of heavy, wet, white stuff overnight and during the day.

I never ventured outside all day, but in the evening, Jim Krieck and I, undaunted, slid his 12-foot rowboat into Plum Lake from the Plum Lake campground on a mission to catch ourselves some walleyes.

We may as well have stayed home in front of a fireplace while drinking beer. We threw minnow and jig rigs at them. We tried crawlers too. I pitched artificial lures for northerns.

Mostly I kept warm rowing the boat while trying to outwit and defeat a rousing north wind that would have driven lesser men to drink. Not a fish was caught, not even one bite was had, except for me maybe biting my tongue before saying that Jim and I were a couple of fools for even being out there.

As darkness settled in, we gave up, pulled the boat back up through the snow to a waiting truck and as I also recall, drowned at least a few of our troubles in some of Milwaukee’s finest canned “pop.”

Though it usually requires snow to make a winter day, there were a few other openers when February-like cold conditions made for a tough opening day.

Back when I was a kid, there were two opening days. Trout season opened the first of May, while walleye and most other game fish seasons didn’t open until May 15 or thereabouts. During those years, my usual opening day for trout was spent on Plum Creek.

My cousins and I would stay overnight at Uncle Neal’s cabin, then head out in early morning to find out who would have bragging rights at the end of the day. As I recall, that honor somehow never fell to me.

The opener I remember best occurred when I was somewhere around 10 or 11 years old. It was usually a mad rush to see who got out the cabin door first to claim the coveted roller dam pool in front of the cabin. It wasn’t me that morning.

When I looked at a thermometer that read something like 23 degrees, I opted to be the last one to leave the warmth of a pot-bellied stove holding a roaring fire in it. When I did get to the creek, I found Cousin Buckshot trying to de-ice the rod tip on his fly rod. It was a chore that needed repeating about every two or three casts at most.

He had no fish to show for his frozen fingers. My other cousins were in the same boat, leaving me feeling good about toasting my toes next to the stove for an extra 20 minutes.

I finally braved the water, which probably was in the upper 30s range and began to fish at the sand cut a short distance downstream from the cabin. Predictably, I caught no fish.

There have been other winter-like opening days of fishing for me and it bears repeating that if I hang around long enough, there will be more. On such a day you will find me wrapped up in a thick blanket in my recliner with the thermostat turned up to 75.