Too much fishing? Really?

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As I wrote this very early on a recent Sunday morning my older brother Steve slept in the guest bedroom, and I had mixed emotions about the full day of fishing to come. Steve and younger brother John come to Birch Lake for a couple of extended weekends each year. They live in southern Wisconsin, don’t have daily access to a lake, and so while here expect to fish nearly nonstop. I understand, because before we moved here I was the same way on trips to the Northwoods.

A decade or more ago, I lamented my deficit of time on the water. But now fishing in any season is as easy as walking down the stairs to the lake. And I have a few favorite lakes just a short drive away where I can go anytime my three-fourths-retired schedule allows.  I’ll tow the boat to one of them and fish for a few hours at the prime times of day – early morning, evening. So angling is a routine part of my existence; my thirst for it is well satisfied.

But on that recent Sunday I knew Steve would expect simply to fish. The previous day he arrived around noon. After lunch at a pub in nearby Lake Tomahawk we cast for northern pike on a lake a few of miles away from where I live. We had a pizza supper (excellent!) at the Birch Lake Bar, then soaked leeches for walleyes on my home water until near dark. The day was brutally hot with barely a whisper of breeze . On Sunday I expected we would visit one lake in the morning and another in the afternoon before again finishing the day on Birch. For Steve, such a day is bliss. For me, it’s an overdose.

I treasure quality time with my brothers, especially in a boat. I’d prefer, though, to share some of it hiking a wooded trail, taking for an exploratory drive around the lake country roads, or just catching a baseball game on the family room TV. But, being Steve was here, I indulged his wishes. We fished in the morning, but in the afternoon made allowance for the heat and took a long dip in Birch Lake.

In the evening we traveled to a nearby lake we knew next to nothing about. We hoped some locals would be fishing and thereby, unwittingly, show us some spots to try. Sure enough, as we slowly cruised along the shoreline, two boats converged on the same spot, above an expansive bed of cabbage weeds. We anchored at a respectful distance from them and had some pretty good walleye fishing until the sun went down.  As a bonus, Steve reeled in a chunky 26-inch northern pike.

So, Steve got, he said, his fishing itch scratched. Deep down, I was glad to aid and abet – it’s just something a brother does. Besides, there are worse things than fishing on which to overdose.